With car showrooms now open again following the lockdown closure, many firms are welcoming customers back and there’s a sense of normality returning to the sales process.
Home vehicle deliveries have been allowed throughout the lockdown, and buyers have been able to collect their vehicles from dealerships since 15 May. But if you want to see or test drive a car, now is your first chance to do so in several months.
But how can you do this safely? Dealers are taking relevant precautions to make areas as safe as possible – and there are steps you can take too.
Here’s a look at how you can buy a car safely.
While many of us often like to visit dealerships just to get an idea about the car we’re looking to buy, during the current situation it’s best to do as much research as you can before viewing.
Whether it’s reading reviews, looking at buyer’s guides of particular models or just generally browsing the classifieds, it’s best to try and learn as much information about a car as you can from home.
Pick up the phone too, so if you’ve seen a car you like, give them a call and ask as many questions as you like before going to a showroom.
Consider buying using ‘click and collect’
If you’re not fussed about buying a car without seeing it, you could ‘click and collect’ it. This means that if you’ve seen a car advertised online that you like, you can speak to the dealer on phone or email, and either reserve it or buy it. You can then go and pick it up in person from a showroom, and still get the full dealership handover experience.
By doing this, you can avoid making multiple trips to a dealer, and instead just go when you’ve bought it. You could also get someone to inspect the car beforehand, to provide extra peace and mind.
When you do collect, social distancing, of course, needs to be maintained and it’s something dealers are taking very seriously. Make sure you give them plenty of notice so they can fully clean and sanitise the car before you get to it.
Ask a dealer to explain a car’s features remotely
It’s usually part and parcel of the car-buying experience: the dealer will sit next to you and talk you through its features – especially on more modern cars.
But that’s not possible at the moment, so dealers are looking to technology to help out instead. If they don’t already have a solution in place, ask if they can do a video call to explain a car’s features if you’re unsure of anything. This could also be exceptionally useful when you’re looking to view a car as well.
If you want to go and collect or browse a car in person, it’s worth taking your own PPE with you. Some dealers might offer this to you, but it’s best to be prepared as well.
Think about wearing disposable gloves. Face coverings (over your nose and mouth) can also help to minimise risk and maximise safety.You should also take your own hand sanitiser with you as well.
Read the NHS’s advice on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Don’t be afraid to ask what a dealer’s doing to ensure your safety
Many dealers are taking sensible steps and precautions to minimise the spread of the virus, but don’t be afraid to ask what processes they’re putting in place to ensure the safety of their customers.
As a minimum, they should be taking social distancing measures, and thoroughly cleaning the cars. If you’re worried about safety, make sure you ask first.
Consider home delivery options
Before dealers were allowed to reopen, many firms were promoting home delivery options as the only way of getting a new car to you.
If you’ve done your research and you’re happy buying a car without viewing it first on the dealership forecourt, you might be able to get it delivered to you instead. Check whether they’re also offering online paperwork, as that also limits close contact and maintains social distancing.