6 Steps to Buying a Car Safely During the Covid-19 Crisis


If you’ve been planning to buy a new car, you may have put the idea on ice while the Covid-19 crisis was building. But if your need for a new vehicle is urgent, you might not be able to put off your purchase for much longer.

How can you go ahead in safety, even while much of daily life is still in social distancing mode? Here are the six steps to follow.

1) Thorough Online Research

The old days of browsing dealerships in person are over, at least for the time being. You don’t have the luxury of checking out cars in person and seeing which ones catch your eye.

Instead, use the internet to gather as much information as you can about the vehicles you could potentially buy. Use independent reviews and comparisons to zero in on the makes and models of cars which suit your situation, and make a note of dealerships in your area where they may be available.

2) Browse Inventories

Once you’ve got a shortlist of cars, use your local dealerships’ websites to check the details of the various trims and options available, along with firm prices including taxes and delivery. Make a note of the car models and trims which most closely match your requirements, and discard those which don’t fill you with enthusiasm.

By the end of this stage, you should hopefully have narrowed your choices down to one or two versions of a few particular cars.

3) Make Contact

Finally, it’s time to contact the dealership to set the buying process in motion. By email or telephone, tell them which of their cars you’re interested in, but stress that you want to carry out your potential purchase digitally wherever possible. Also make it clear that when you do need to meet in person, you want social distancing to be fully observed.

If the dealership staff show any lack of understanding, or try to convince you to pay a visit to discuss things further, politely inform them you’ll take your business to another dealership.

4) Test Drive in Safety

If everything is going to plan, now’s the time to arrange a test drive. In these difficult times, serious dealerships should be happy to allow an unsupervised test drive so you don’t need to share the car with a salesperson. Ideally, the test car should be delivered to your home and then sanitized before you take your drive.

To allow this type of test drive, you may need to provide some security, such as a credit card authorization or cash deposit. But whatever the details, don’t be persuaded into an old-fashioned test drive with all the potential infection dangers that involves.

5) Sealing the Deal with Social Distancing

If you decide to go ahead with your purchase, ask that as much of the paperwork as possible is done online or with documents delivered by courier. There’s no need to enter a cramped sales office to complete the formalities, and there’s certainly no need to shake on the deal.

But if for some reason you need to take the final steps in person, insist that any meeting takes place in an open space and under full social distancing rules.

6) Contactless Delivery

Lastly, when it’s time to actually receive your new car, ask that it be delivered direct to your home rather than you needing to pick it up from the dealership. Also ask that all touch surfaces are sanitized before the handover.

Some of these measures may seem a little unusual, but don’t be embarrassed about asking for them and standing your ground if the dealership seems reluctant. If they can’t accommodate your concerns over a potentially deadly virus, then take your valuable business to one who does.

Buying a new car under social distancing is definitely more complicated than in simpler times. But follow these six steps and you’ll get behind the wheel safely, even if it takes a little longer than it once did.