Dealer giving keys to customer in showroom - Buying a car online

You may have been planning to buy a car this past year and put off the idea due to the pandemic. With lockdowns and social distancing, the idea of buying that new car may have slipped down your order or priorities. But out of the global pandemic has come a thriving industry in online care purchases.

Enthusiasts have realised just how easy it is to buy a car online, with the chance to consult, inspect, buy, and even ship your car without any contact whatsoever. So if you really want to cheer yourself up with that model you’ve been coveting, you can go right ahead, confident that it will arrive just as you imagined. Here are some top tips for buying a car online.

Establish Your Budget

Some things are no different whether you’re buying a car online or in person, and that includes setting a budget. If you’re trying to reign in your spending, you’ll probably want to consider a used car or a lease with affordable monthly payments. Or you might want to consider less popular brand names that still offer top quality.

When you are considering the budget for your new car, you should think about more than just your monthly payment. Instead, you should take into account the entire cost of the car, as well as the interest you’ll have to pay along the way if you take out a loan or need financing. Then there are the extras that should factor into your budget as well, like fuel, maintenance, insurance costs and parking.

Decide What’s Non-Negotiable

Before you even begin looking at where to buy a car online, you should think about what your needs are, like the size of your family, if you need a car with few miles, and what you’ll be using it for, i.e. hauling loads or zipping around town.

Use Trusted Sites

It will be more difficult to find popular and trusted sites if you are intent on purchasing your vehicle from a private or individual online seller, but if not, you should rely on sites that receive plenty of good reviews. When it comes to where to buy a car online, you want to be confident that your transaction will be transparent and fair for all parties involved. Don’t worry, we’ve been rounding up great sites you can trust – just check out our other blogs.

Take a Test Drive

If you can avoid purchasing a vehicle without taking it for a test drive first, then you should. That doesn’t just mean taking the same model of car for a test drive; it means taking the exact car for a test drive. Especially now, with remote buying becoming more popular, dealerships often have programs where a salesperson can bring the car to your home, contactless of course, and you can take it for a drive, testing it on the roads you frequent.


When you know what kind of vehicle you want to purchase, you can contact the online seller of that vehicle. Ask what the quoted price includes, and if there are any other fees that you’ll have to pay. It’s not a bad idea to look around the web to find out what standard prices are for the car or truck you want to purchase.

Remember, even if it goes against your values, you should negotiate the price of your vehicle with the dealer, and if you can’t muster up the courage to do it yourself, there are online sites like TrueCar or Ryde Shopper that can help with that.

You may also have the option of negotiating over email, which for many is much better than negotiating in person, as it takes the emotions usually involved out of the equation.

Get an Inspection

If you’re buying a used car, especially if you are buying from a private seller and not a commercial dealer, you need to make sure to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy it. To do this, search for a local mechanic online (local to the seller, not necessarily to you) and arrange with them a time for the inspection. If your seller doesn’t agree to have your vehicle inspected by a third party, then that should be a red flag.

Trade-in Your Current Vehicle

Even if you purchase your car from an online dealer, if you want to trade in your existing car, you might have to visit the dealership. The dealership will inspect your car, appraise it and make an offer. It would be best if you went to the dealership prepared with an approximate amount in mind and there are plenty of online tools and sites like Auto Trader that you can use to get a free and accurate estimate for your vehicle.

Organise Shipping

Now it’s time to collect your new (or used) car! When you buy a car online, your dealership will get in touch with you and let you know what the next steps are. In some cases, you may need to pick your car up in person, but if you’d rather not, they may also arrange to drop your car off right at your doorstep.

Have you bought a car from abroad and need to get it shipped? Then you can easily get a quote and ship your car affordably. Autoshippers can work with you or the dealer to make sure your car gets from point A to point B in perfect condition, taking care of securing you the best deal and shipping insurance.

So if you really want to get that car you’ve been dreaming about, don’t let a pandemic stand in your way. There are so many secure and convenient ways to buy a car online now that you can have one rolling up to your front door in no time.