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Tips of buying a used motor throughout the pandemic

3rd November 2020 Print

Even amid all of the remarkable changes that the COVID-19 crisis has brought to our lives in 2020, some things don’t change – and one of those is the need many of us have for a car. 

You may not presently own a car, but desire one – perhaps in part because of the extra safety the private space of a car offers at this time compared to public transport. Or maybe you’re simply looking to upgrade your existing vehicle, such as by part-exchanging? 

Regardless – below is advice that will help you to not only buy a used car safely during the pandemic, but also ensure you buy the right car for your preferences and requirements. 

How is the outbreak changing how we purchase our cars? 

First of all, a caveat; the coronavirus situation is an extremely fast-moving one. As a result, the exact rules and measures in place for managing it in your local area may be quite different at the time you read this, to what they were when this article was being written. 

At the time of typing, for example, a new nationwide lockdown was set to come into force in England, from Thursday 5th November. You can read more details about those latest restrictions on the GOV.UK website – but what do they mean if you would like to buy a used car right now? 

Well, first of all, it’s important to appreciate that England is not the same as the UK, and that different rules and guidance apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So, wherever you are, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your local government’s advice. 

Now, let’s look at the buying process itself. It’s fair to say that buying a used car from a private seller just became a bit trickier, and whatever you do, you will obviously need to comply with social distancing requirements. 

But you might also ask yourself whether now’s the right time to buy privately, given that you can’t guarantee any given seller will have thoroughly washed the car prior to sale, especially if it’s their daily runabout. 

By contrast, dealers and other larger businesses selling used cars tend to have the staff and resources to wash a car from top to bottom, so you may be more inclined to use their services right now. Firms like Cars Under £3,000, for instance – which enables its customers to buy a used car in Essex from under £3,000 – are continuing to operate seven days a week throughout the lockdown.

But aren’t dealerships closed at the moment? 

It’s true that according to the new England lockdown rules – which run from 5th November until 2nd December at the earliest – vehicle showrooms are required to close, as they are considered to be non-essential retail businesses. 

However, this refers to such businesses physically having their doors closed to random visitors – they’re still able to offer home delivery and click-and-collect services. So, it’s definitely more than possible for you to buy a used motor right now. 

Here, then, are a few further tips for getting the best out of your used car-buying experience at this strange time: 

- Do as much research online as possible before committing to a particular dealer and vehicle. Remember that it’s easy to compare local dealerships on the web, as well as to peruse their current stock and read reviews of their service. 

- Follow all of the common-sense (and not-so-common-sense) COVID-19 safety measures – including responsible social distancing and the wearing of face coverings – whether you are buying privately or from a dealer. 

- Remember that if you buy a car online – that is, agree the contract of sale on the web without visiting a brick-and-mortar dealership – you are entitled to cancel your order up to 14 days after the delivery of your car. 

- If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms or are in daily contact with someone from a high-risk group, avoid making any visits or turning up to collect a car in person, whether from a dealership or a private seller. 

Looking after each other’s health and safety has to be the number one priority for all of us right now – and by complying with the above advice, you can help to ensure exactly that when you buy a used car during the pandemic.