Advice Car Dealer Club News

Can I still buy a used car during the coronavirus lockdown?

Time 7:00 pm, April 7, 2020

  • Need some wheels but don’t want to go down the brand-new avenue? Here’s how you can still purchase a used car – if you need to during the coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus is affecting each and every part of daily life. Travel is discouraged – current rules mean that the UK population is being asked to stay indoors whenever possible, only venturing out of the front door to buy food or medicine, exercise once per day, to receive medical help, or to help someone who is vulnerable.

Only key businesses are allowed to stay open too, while employees who do not work in key areas are being asked to work from home.

However, if you are a key worker, or you still need a way of getting around should you absolutely need to, is it still possible to buy a used car?

We look at the ways that you’re still able to, in a post designed to inform the public and for members of the motor trade to share with their customers.

Browsing for used cars is still okay, isn’t it?

This is one of the best bets of the whole part of the buying process – and it can all be done from the safety of the home. Sit back, relax and delve into the classifieds. With thousands of used cars available online, there are loads to choose from. Check out dealer websites as many are introducing new ways to sell their cars online and show them off.

CanI buy a used car from a private seller during the coronavirus crisis?

Not really. With current restrictions in place that mean people are only really allowed to drive for key reasons – such as going food shopping – collecting a used car from a private seller can’t really be deemed as a crucial journey.

You also can’t guarantee safety either. With social distancing measures in place, it would be hard to take a test drive, chat to a seller or even handover keys without contamination. It’s why, to be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid buying a car privately – for now, at least. 

How can I buy a used car during the coronavirus crisis then?

Though dealerships across the country are closing their doors, that doesn’t mean that they’re closed completely. A number are continuing to man the phones behind the scenes, meaning that if you’re interested in a car there are still plenty of people to talk to.

The crucial thing you’re looking for here is contactless delivery – it’s how you’ll be able to get hold of a car in these challenging times. Not all are offering it, though, with some banking deals or sales until restrictions are lifted.

We’d suggest explaining to the dealer that you’re a key worker and need a car to get around and chances are dealers will work out a way to assist you.

What is contactless delivery of a car – is that like a car payment?

Yes, pretty much. Contactless delivery means you can look at a car, sign key paperwork, organise finance and then get a car dropped to your front door all without having to leave the house. Though some dealers aren’t able to offer this service, it’s worth asking the question. It’s a case of checking and talking to dealers first.

Can I go and see the car before I buy it?

Given the current social distancing and business measures in place, it’s not possible to go and see a car before you buy it. However, dealers are now well-versed in providing around-vehicle videos of a vehicle, so it’s worth asking them if this is an option. 

Will I get a bargain on a used car because of the coronavirus crisis?

Unlikely. Dealers are in a difficult place with businesses that have been decimated by the crisis. offering them deals ‘for cash’ or thinking you’ll get thousands off a car that owes them more than you’re offering is wishful thinking. Remember these dealers are running businesses and are struggling like you are – so being cheeky now won’t go down well. Have a sensible conversation and they’ll do all they can to help you.

Is a used car going to be a contamination hazard?

Not quite. All dealers are upping their game when it comes to in-car cleanliness, ensuring that vehicles are thoroughly cleaned prior to any delivery. And they’ll only do it if they can safely. We’d warn it won’t be easy to buy a used car right now and to expect delays or to be asked to wait until restrictions are lifted.

I’m a key worker – can I get a used car right away?

As a key worker, it’s essential that you keep moving. Because of that, it’s worth phoning your local dealer if you do need a car. It’s almost certain that they’ll be able to help you out with finding a used car, and they’ll be able to sort some way of delivering it too, ensuring safety is paramount. 

What about part-exes? Can I still trade in my old car?

Again, this is down to the dealer – it’s always best to pick up the phone and get in touch with the seller in order to explain your own circumstances. However, dealers will find it very hard to price your car as no one knows what is happening to the market. They might be able to give you a price, though given the current circumstances picking the vehicle up might have to wait until later. We’d suggest this could be the hardest part of the deal as not only can they not check your car over, but getting an accurate price for it will be impossible. This means you could lose out – and so too could the dealer. Be reasonable and realistic with your expectations here.

Is it possible to organise finance if I need it?

Yes. Again, certain dealers are able to offer finance deals which don’t require you to venture out of the front door. Many can be sorted on their websites.

It’s also a great time to organise finance should you need it. With interest rates incredibly low at the moment, there are some deals out there – again, pick up the phone and get in touch if you need to know more. 

Remember, this is only if you absolutely need to drive – if you don’t need a car, then stay at home.

Can I buy a used car and collect it at a later date?

If you don’t need a car at the moment, but would like to purchase one for later in the year, then that’s an option too. In fact, many dealers are taking deposits to secure cars now and will then deliver the vehicles once restrictions have eased. It’s likely used car prices will go up after this – hard to believe now, but remember the new car supply will be very restricted and will take a long time to recover. This will push the price of used cars up. 

Remember, above all else, right now we all need to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. Only think about buying a used car if you are a key worker and have no other option.

More: Can I buy a new car during coronavirus crisis?

More: All our help & advice guides can be found here 

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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