With a pandemic locking you inside the house, you’ve probably considered buying a car online. This solution allows you to avoid the high-pressure of sellers’ sales strategies, but it also has some drawbacks.
If you’ve shopped for a vehicle in the past, you probably know how daunting it’s to drive from dealership to dealership and view hundreds of cars before finding one to suit your needs. Some dealers and car manufacturers make it easy to avoid crowded stores by offering you the possibility to search for a car online. In the present context, when buyers prefer to order everything from the comfort and safety of their own house, it’s no surprise the dealers and automakers have decided to focus their sales efforts online.
While some conglomerate websites have sold cars online for a long time, local dealers had recently adopted this strategy when their clients asked them to provide them with a solution for the current situation. Using the internet to show and sell their cars is a new strategy, different from the traditional tactics they used to reach and attract clients.
But how do you feel, as a buyer, to pay for a car that you didn’t see or test? It’s risky, but if you’re careful, you can get a reliable and functional vehicle.
Research is essential
Research is where you start your search for a new or used vehicle (and it’s no different even if you want to purchase the car from a local dealership). Before you start picturing yourself behind the wheel of a new shiny car, it’s best to determine the type of car you need and afford because your budget is a ground-breaking factor.
Once you decide your requirements and how much you can spend on a new car, start browsing the internet for dealerships that sell cars that match your description. Research helps you understand if your expectations meet reality or you need to alter them. Filter results according to your needs to narrow down the list of cars you can choose from. Automakers and dealers want you to fall in love with the models they sell, but it doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for you.
Do you want to work with a dealer?
You’re drawn to buying a vehicle online because it allows you to get one without personally interacting with a salesperson. Online directories offer lists of cars you can choose from, filtering them according to their automaker and listing price. But if this is the first time you purchase a vehicle, you may want to search on Google Ford dealership near me to get in touch with an experienced dealer who can support you during the process, even if they do it online or via phone. After you do research and narrow down the list of options to a couple of cars, it’s easier and cheaper to work with a local dealership. Use Google to track down their contact information or ask a friend who recently purchased a car to recommend you the dealer they worked with.
You can have a test drive
If you want to buy the car online because you don’t want to work with obnoxious salespersons, remember that you won’t be able to get a test drive. So, it’s best to work with a local dealership willing to bring the car to your place once you decide what vehicle you want to purchase. Most dealers schedule test drives according to your schedule and get the car to a designated location without engaging with you. You’re not exposed to catching the virus because you don’t meet with the dealer in person. As long as you disinfect all the surfaces you touch before taking the car to a test drive, you’re safe.
Supposing you choose to buy the vehicle from an online store, bear in mind that not all companies accommodate test drives. Get in touch with a representative and ask them if you can drive the car before purchasing it.
Check the vehicle history report
A reliable online seller would always provide access to the vehicle history report that lists how many owners the car had and if it had been in an accident. Local dealerships always offer reports for used cars to demonstrate their transparency. However, even if the history report is clear of issues or accidents, it doesn’t mean the car doesn’t feature problems. Therefore, you should have the vehicle independently inspected before buying it. If you don’t have the mechanical knowledge to check the car yourself, it’s worth paying an expert to inspect it and identify any existing problems. If the seller refuses to take the vehicle to a mechanical shop, look for a professional willing to visit the dealership for an inspection.
No matter if you buy a car online or visit a dealership, you should always research and have it inspected before paying for it.