After decades of doing things the same way, car buying is changing right before our eyes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. People want to avoid dealerships out of an abundance of caution. But they still need to buy cars because their last one broke down, and want to take advantage of low-interest rates. Or simply because they find something they like. Some might even argue that this is the best time in ages to shop for something new. Fortunately, there are ways to do that safely.
That starts by buying a car online instead of in person. Car shopping online has been possible for years, but only recently has it become accessible – and not a moment too soon. In this article, we will show you tips for buying new cars online and getting them to your location without risking yourself.
Do Your Homework
There are many makes and models to choose from, new and used options to consider, and endless features and accessories to mull over. The dealership makes it easy to pick and choose since you have everything right in front of you. Car shopping online might seem to make things more complex, but it does the opposite, thanks to the abundant online resources.
With a few clicks, you can find endless information reviewing, rating, comparing, and recommending various vehicles. Not only is this information more in-depth than you will get from many dealerships, but it’s also not accompanied by manipulative sales tactics. Online during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can fully explore the options that fit your criteria – price, size, efficiency, features etc. – and select something that checks all the boxes. Take your time. Car shopping online can feel overwhelming initially since you have so many options at your disposal – but that only means the perfect one is waiting for you to find it.
Take a Virtual Tour
When you buy a car online, you can’t take a test drive (at least not initially), but that doesn’t mean you have to buy something sight unseen. Many dealerships have started offering virtual tours where a salesperson walks you through the vehicle while video conferencing. That is an excellent opportunity to ask questions, investigate how things work, and get a feel for what you do and don’t like about a model – just like you would at the dealership. Don’t feel like shopping for new cars online obligates you to buy something you’re not entirely confident about buying.
Search for Deals
Car sales have declined significantly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic for many different reasons. In response, automakers and dealerships have started offering desirable pricing and compelling incentive offers – like free maintenance or roadside assistance.
You may be able to pay far less now than you would have paid for the exact vehicle just six months ago, but it can take some careful searching to find the best deals out there. See what’s available from your local dealerships, but remember that you’re not limited by geography since anything you decide to drive will be shipped to your location. Don’t be afraid to contact a dealership to explore in-depth.
Don’t be discouraged from haggling, either. Dealerships hurting for sales want to work with interested buyers, and those dealerships are happy to negotiate over the phone, email, or messenger app.
Consider CPO – Certified Pre-Owned
Buying a used vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe, distanced way can be a lot harder than shopping for one in person. With used cars, you have more diverse options to choose from, requiring careful consideration of each. More importantly, you’re focused on finding a reliable make/model that you can trust despite having miles already on the odometer.
Many people take a used vehicle to an independent mechanic for a second opinion before buying, but that may be risky or impossible right now. One way to get the benefits of buying used – lower price, more variety, etc. – is to select a certified pre-owned option. These models undergo a thorough inspection to verify they’re in excellent working order. They also come backed with extended warranties in case hidden problems arise.
There are always unknowns when buying something used, but there are the fewest possible unknowns with a CPO vehicle. Plus, dealerships are just as eager to move these cars and trucks as newer models, meaning there may be generous deals and offers available.
Arrange Car Shipping During COVID-19
Arranging car shipping is the hardest part about car shopping online. Dealerships have done an admirable job of adapting the auto buying experience to meet the public health requirements of the moment. However, the most challenging part of car shopping remotely – before, during, and after the pandemic – is getting a vehicle from point A to point B. That applies to whatever you buy and potentially to your trade-in as well.
Some dealerships and online outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic include shipping as part of the sales experience. In other cases, however, buyers have to arrange to ship on their own – especially if you buy from a private seller. If you need help shipping a car or truck from any part of the country to your location (or vice versa), rely on Direct Express Auto Transport to make the arrangements easy. Auto-shipping shouldn’t stop you from trying to buy a car online.
Prepare for Contact-less Delivery
The riskiest part of this whole process is when you take delivery of your vehicle. There will be paperwork to sign, features to go over, and possibly terms still to negotiate. Every source for buying new cars online has its process for completing the sale and transferring ownership of the vehicle. Prepare to wear a mask throughout. Consider bringing your pen and some wipes on surfaces like the steering wheel. Most importantly, ask the seller exactly what the contact-less delivery process will involve so you know in advance how to safely prepare.
Be Choosy during the COVID-19 pandemic
You may be able to return a vehicle you don’t like depending on the sales agreement terms. Make sure to know what you’re entitled to before receiving the vehicle, and don’t hesitate to exercise those rights if you’re unhappy with your new car in any way. Despite everyone’s best efforts to make remote vehicle sales run smoothly, there are still some kinks to work out. Not to mention that you can’t decide whether you like a vehicle until you spend some time behind the wheel. Remember that some sales will be final and that going through the pickup/drop-off process again raises the risk of exposure. Keep in mind, also, that you shouldn’t drive anything you don’t love.
Direct Express Auto Transport – Keeping Vehicle Transport Safe
There’s no reason to avoid buying a vehicle during a pandemic. As long as you and the people you work with take risks seriously, limiting exposure is possible. And on a more positive note, many people discovered they prefer car shopping online compared to the dealership experience.
They also discover the world of cars available online, from rare models to incredible deals. The internet connects you with sellers across the country, but you still need to get whatever you find and buy into your own driveway. That’s where Direct Express Auto Transport comes in.
The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator
Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. We recommend the expedited car shipping rate and have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and many customers are glad they went with that method.