The A to Z of Buying a Car During This Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has stopped the life as we know it. Getting out of the house becomes high-risk and countries across the world are in lockdown with a great number of people living in isolation to prevent the spread of the virus. The idea of buying a car at this time sounds absurd, ain’t it?

Not quite. In fact, this could be a good time to purchase a new car or want to trade your used vehicle for a brand new model.

How to Buy a Car in a Lockdown?

The truth is, the lockdown can stretch from days to months. So, you need to learn to adapt your lifestyle with the situation. A car could be an excellent way to avoid public transportation (which is currently a virus-spreading cluster) or driving anywhere during odd hours.

Besides, several automakers offer lenient deals so that people with a shaky financial status don’t feel left out. Brands such as Nissan, Ford, and a few others let the customers defer their payments. For example, you can delay the first installment for 90 days after buying a new Ford car. GM extends its 0% financing program from five to seven years, and people with a stellar credit score can defer payments for 4 months.

car buying
Many automakers are offering deals. Source: Carl Court / Getty Images

Already stuck with a car loan? Well, some brands are considering a payment rescheduling, assuming that this coronavirus situation has affected your financial condition.

By following these steps, you can safely buy a car during this critical time:

Do Online Research

Hours of online research are useful, but we used to skip that for saving time. Now in isolation, you have all the time in the world (of course, only if you’re not working from home).

There are numerous websites filled with legit reviews of new and used car models. These reviews are filled with such pieces of information that many showroom personnel wouldn’t want to tell you. If you have chosen a model, a few hours of research will give you a clear idea of whether or not you should invest in it. Then, visit the automaker or your local car dealer’s websites to see if they have the chosen model in their inventory.


Negotiate the Price

This is a good time for negotiation because business is slow and the dealers will be eager to strike a deal given the uncertain future. It’s possible to knock off one or two grand from the retail price. Send an email or ask them directly over the phone. Also, don’t forget to use a loan calculator to see whether or not you can afford the monthly quoted installment.

Test Drive

New or used vehicle, you should not buy it without a test drive. Here are a few ways to do this without compromising your safety.

1# Take a virtual tour.

A virtual tour is better than looking at the pictures of the car. Many dealerships offer this facility, although arranging for bespoke video sessions may not be possible right now.

A video tour is still not enough to get hold of many details such as the comfort features and handling. The following steps can help in that case.

2# Arrange for a safe test drive.

Many dealers are offering to bring the car to your house for a test drive for no cost. Fix the testing period (from ten to thirty minutes) by talking to the dealer. The salesperson driving the car will disinfect the car thoroughly before leaving it for you to drive. Even better, they will keep 3 to 6 feet of distance from you.

If you are still in doubt, wear a face mask and hand gloves before taking the test drive. After the testing is done, leave the car outside your home or in the driveway for the salesperson to drive it back to the store. Or, you can just sign the paperwork and be done with the purchase right away.

This is a safer way to test drive the car. To check out whether the car is perfect for your needs, you don’t need to come in contact with anyone.

Will the Dealers Do a Home Delivery?

It’s a million-dollar question when maintaining social distancing has literally become the thin line between life and death.

Most car dealerships are providing only essential servicing work this time. But they will go the extra mile to make sure that the customers still get a great buying experience.

They will happily deliver the car to your doorstep if you are willing to receive it during this time. Even better, many of them are offering the advantage of signing paperwork electronically.

car buying in lockdown
Ask about the dealer’s germ mitigation policy to ensure a safe purchase. Source: Motoring Research

A touchless delivery system adopted by a few companies, including Carvana, an Arizona-based online used car retailer, is quite impressive in helping the customers to maintain the social distancing rules. Their delivery person will bring the car to your driveway and sanitize the most-touched areas such as the keys, door handles, and the steering wheel. S/he will leave the paperwork on the car seat for you to revise and sign. Some dealers even promise to disinfect the whole car before handing over the keys.

If you are in any doubt, ask the dealer about its policy about vehicle sanitization before delivering it to customers.

The Final Words

There’s nothing to worry about much as coronavirus doesn’t survive long on hard surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is a rare chance of getting contracted if the dealer has a germ mitigation policy in place and you are careful about personal hygiene. If you are still in doubt, leave the car in the driveway for a week and don’t go near it during this time. This suffices for killing the rest of the viruses (assuming there were viruses). Or, you can sanitize it again by wearing protective gear.