5 Tips for Buying a Car After the Coronavirus Quarantine

While some states are still abiding by the Covid-19 orders to stay at home, other states are moving towards “safer-at-home” phases, which means that car dealerships should be opening back up. If you need to buy a car, new or used, we still recommend following the social distancing guidelines and to do most of your research and car shopping at home.

As you might know, most dealerships are following suit when it comes to offering at-home test drives and even completing the paperwork remotely. However, not all dealerships might be doing so after the “stay-at-home” orders are lifted. So in case you need to shop for a car after the quarantine time is up, here are five tips that can help.

Do the test drive remotely

As we stated before, remember to ask the dealership that you’re working with if they can take the car that you’re interested in over to your house so you can test drive it. While not all dealerships will do this, especially if it’s a private dealer, it’s worth yours and your family’s safety to ask.

If anything, some dealers might still have you come in for the test drive, however, they will most likely have a safety protocol in place that requires them to disinfect the car beforehand and let you drive alone. This is the second-best option, and we found out recently that it’s a good way to test drive a car.

Test driving a car
A Saudi woman adjusts her headgear before she test-drives a car | Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Buy an in-stock car

Buying a car that is already on the lot has always been a good tip when it comes to buying a new car. Dealers typically have a lot of cars that have been sitting on the lot and they’re paying a lot of money to have them sit there. Considering more dealers have been closed for the past couple of months, you can bet there’s a lot of inventory taking up real estate that they need to sell.

Now, more than ever is the best chance for you to get a really good deal on a car that they have in stock, as opposed to having them locate one from another dealer. We recommend to “strike while the iron is hot” and pick a car that’s in stock. It could save you hundreds, if not another $1,000, off the price.

Stay loyal to the brand that you already have

Another good idea is to stay loyal to the brand that you already. For example, if you currently have a Hyundai Elantra and want to get into something bigger, take a good look at the Sonata. By sticking to the same brand, some manufacturers offer a loyalty rebate, which would save you money.

Additionally, the dealer might actually be willing to knock some money off the front end too if you’re a brand-loyal customer.

Negotiate the deal at home

Negotiating the car deal online, as much as possible, is always a good way to go. It will save you the hassle, and potential health risk, of having to chat about the car’s pricing in person and you’ll also be able to get it all out of the way before signing the contract. The key is to make your life as easy as possible when you actually have to go to the dealership.

A person doing car buying research on their laptop.
Car research | Joseph Branston/Future via Getty Images

How Long Should You Keep a Car?

Buy a pre-owned car, if possible

Just like we stated about new cars taking up space on dealer lots, used cars are taking up even more room. Not only that, but the used car market and auctions have also been flooded with cars over the past couple of months due to people defaulting on loans, turning in cars, etc.

This means that there is an overwhelming supply and not enough demanding to keep the cars moving. This could be very advantageous to car buyers open to used cars, which means that you might be able to score a really good discount.

Be safe and take your time

While the state orders where you currently live might have become more relaxed or even lifted, we recommend to be safe and take your time with your car shopping process. Many dealers have been out of work for the past couple of months, and while they may be eager to sell you a car, don’t expect them to “give away the farm” when you first contact them.

For a more comprehensive list of tips, you can check out this YouTube video as there are plenty of ways to get a great deal on a car during this time.