Buying a used car during the coronavirus outbreak: How to stay safe

What to do if you are buying a used car during covid-19

With more and more people stocking up, staying indoors and just generally keeping their distance from one another, you may be wondering if it’s safe to go out and look for a used car at this time. Like many other things, going used car buying can put you at risk of coming into contact with Covid 19

 
But in the wake of the Coronavirus, do you really need to put the breaks on the car buying process? Not necessarily. It might actually be a good time to get yourself a bargain. Here are five things you can do to stay safe when buying a used car during the Coronavirus outbreak.
 
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What steps can I take to stay safe when shopping for a used car during Coronavirus outbreak?

Buying a used car does involve some physical interaction, whether that be meeting salespeople at a dealership or test-driving a car. Here’s how you can do all of this while protecting yourself from Coronavirus.

Stick to online research 

The good news about it being 2020 is that there’s a lot that you can do online, and that includes used car buying. In fact, you can perform most of the process from start to finish online. So grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and start browsing from the comfort of your home!

From comparison sites to online finance applications you can sign and transfer electronically, there’s no need for you to go physically anywhere when buying a second-hand car initially. You can also conduct used car checks online.

If you’re apprehensive about visiting a dealership to finalise the sale during the Coronavirus outbreak, know that you can do most, if not all, of this online too. You can view stock via a dealer’s website, even negotiate the price of the vehicle by email or over the phone without setting foot inside a dealership.  

Ask your dealer what they’re doing 

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That’s especially true given the unusual circumstances we’re currently living through at this moment in time with Covid 19. That makes asking a dealership what they’re doing to protect customers a wholly acceptable and fair thing to do. If you’re worried about looking a little odd by asking your dealer questions, don’t be. For one, you’ll be looking out for your own personal health and safety. You may also be raising the dealership’s awareness of what they could be doing better to prevent the spread of the virus among they’re customers and employees. If their answers to your questions aren’t satisfactory, you can take your business to a dealer you’re more comfortable with.

Disinfect first, then test drive

While you can perform most of the used car buying process online, it’s still critical that you conduct a thorough test drive. That will sometimes require you to visit a dealer or seller in person but please note that a lot of dealers are offering to bring the car to your home

You’ll be driving a vehicle that’s been handled by many people. Door handles, steering wheels, indicators, gear sticks, mirrors, and dashboards will all need to be disinfected.

If you are test driving with a dealer, ask them and they will do this for you. Also ask them to ensure you are covered under their insurance for an unaccompanied test drive. 

If allowed, it’s worth bringing a bottle of disinfectant and doing all this yourself before stepping into the car. Just make sure to test a small surface area first with any disinfectant to check that it won’t damage any material. Be careful when exchanging any key fobs or keys with the dealer or seller as well.

Wearing disposable rubber gloves that you dispose immediately after the test drive is another option. 

When sealing the deal, don’t shake hands

During a pandemic, safety comes before etiquette. Though it may feel a little un-traditional, even impolite, to forgo shaking hands after making the deal, your health and safety come first. Is shaking hands a force of habit? Then make sure you wash your hands after doing so. 

In addition to this, give anyone at the dealership who looks visibly unwell a wide berth. Bringing a bottle of hand sanitizer with you as well as your own pen to sign any documents is also a good idea. 

And, finally, remember the golden rule during the Coronavirus outbreak…

Wash Your Hands and Avoid Touching Your Face

If you follow the guidelines outlined by the NHS and government, you’ll be keeping yourself safe when visiting a dealer or performing any test drives. Most importantly:

  • Wash or disinfect your hands, 
  • Keep your hands away from your face
  • Maintain a healthy distance away from other people in public
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes (with your elbow, preferably)

During the Coronavirus pandemic, don’t risk going out to a dealer or private seller to gather the information you need about a car when you can get it all online.  

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