The pandemic is turning our world upside down. Not being able to predict what will happen in the coming days is making planning for the future quite unsettling. Every market has been hit hard. What’s worse is there’s no telling if you’ll have a job a couple of months down the line.
Even so, this may be the perfect time to buy a secondhand car.
Say what? Yeah, you read that right. You can do that even when you’re in lockdown or social distancing.
First off, according to Business Insider, new car inventory is down because of manufacturer closures and other factors. Secondly, people are cutting expenses, and selling an extra car that’s been sitting in the garage for months is a simple solution.
Despite a dip in car buying activity in April, things are slowly getting back to a sense of normalcy. By taking the right precautions and following our tips, you may, in fact, be able to snag a good deal by the end of this summer.
Ready to get started?
- Decide what you want
Faced with the circumstances, I’d never thought that I would ever go for a virtual experience in this regard. But according to Forbes, a lot more people are opting for it. 64% of potential buyers prefer to complete the entire car-buying experience online rather than in a dealership, up from 39% before the pandemic. With everyone locked indoors, there doesn’t really seem to be another option than to buy car online.
But thank God we have access to the internet. This gives us the opportunity to complete a lot of research. Find out about the type of car that aligns with your daily needs. Before settling on a particular model or make, you can compare various aspects such as cost, petrol consumption, maintenance, reviews, etc.
- Act fast
Once you have an ideal car in mind, you need to search for one that’s in good condition as well as falls within your budget. At times, you may need to take a leap of faith. The used-vehicle market is in tight supply. The car may sell quickly, and a better offer may not come around.
- Keep a flexible budget
Times are unpredictable. You may find the perfect car within your means. However, you might have to spend a little more than you initially intended to. So define your upper limit. As a bit of personal advice, don’t buy a car that dips too much into your savings at the moment. You don’t know what the corona pandemic has in store a few months down the line. Having that much more cash later on may be quite helpful.
- Request for a test drive
Businesses are adapting to the new normal. Consumers are demanding contactless transactions and home deliveries for practically everything. The auto industry is no different.
We’ve heard of pickup and drop-off services for car purchases before the pandemic, but not so much for test drives. But since customers will rarely buy a car without test driving it, people can now do this even from home. Surprising right? More importantly, car dealers will help you find the perfect vehicle for you. That’s their job. So don’t be embarrassed to ask to test drive a couple of cars before settling on a purchase.
- Practice safety and hygiene
Needless to say, you should wear a mask and gloves during your test drive. Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. But don’t let any of these things stop you from buying a vehicle. Common household disinfectants, such as Lysol, can kill coronaviruses and be easy on your car as well.
Car cleaning has advanced during the pandemic. Any car you purchase needs to be disinfected. Obvious places include the doors, handles, steering wheel, armrests, shifter, nav screen, rearview mirror, etc. Getting the vehicle deep cleaned and sanitized after signing the papers is a good idea.
- Be aware of return and exchange policies
The pandemic is incorporating new ways of buying and selling automobiles. Dealers understand that people are apprehensive, not only because of the coronavirus but also because it’s a new way of transacting. In order to appease customer qualms, many dealers are offering more flexible money-back guarantees and exchange policies. Make sure to inquire about them before finalizing the deal.
- Ask for discounts
Lower interest rates have brought down the cost of automobiles, and buyers can make the most of this opportunity. Moreover, several automakers realize that jobs have been affected due to COVID-19. They have announced initial payment flexibility plans for new cars.
But because of the uncertain employment market, many people are simply not interested in buying a car. So dealers are now facing a substantial backlog of unsold vehicles. In attempts to get the lot cleared, some dealerships are offering financing incentives and discounts on suggested retail prices. They’re doing whatever it takes to entice buyers, so don’t be shy to investigate about them.
- Ride the summer out
If you feel that you aren’t interested in investing in a pre-owned car, you can opt to wait for newer models. Factories and assembly plants are reopening soon, and production will catch up by late summer or early fall. In fact, you may want to hold off till then, if possible. Auto brands will increase rebates by late summer to help clear out the older models.
The traditional car-buying model may be diminishing, but it won’t go away entirely any time soon. And for once, we can all agree that some good has come out of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Buying a car has become more streamlined and less time-consuming. The entire process is more efficient, from online research to test driving to finalizing the paperwork. Moreover, it is easier for everybody involved.
As other aspects of the auto industry adapt to the current situation, we will see dramatic shifts in greater online options over the coming years. Automotive companies will strive to offer additional services such as remote repairs and maintenance, alternative auto finance, car-sharing services, and much more. The pandemic is forcing us to prepare ourselves and industries for the future.