How to buy a car online – what to look out for

Car shopping is one of the most enjoyable types of shopping you can do. A car holds so much possibility, and of course – imagine the places you’ll go with your new set of wheels.

Something to keep in mind, though, is that while buying a car is most often an enjoyable experience, there are some car sellers who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride and you get the car you want – at the price that suits you.


It can’t be stressed enough that you have to put the research in for any make and model of car. It doesn’t matter if you are buying from a used car showroom or from a private seller; you still need to know as much as possible about the car you want to buy.

Through good research, you will be able to narrow down the type of car you need, what you want and if your finances match your expectations.

While buying a brand new car right out of the showroom sounds good, the costs associated with that can run into the thousands pretty quickly.

During the research phase and doing reg car checks, you can make a list of the things you have to have in the car. Consider things like BlueTooth, side airbags, and how big the boot needs to be.

As part of your research, look for reviews and comments about the company you plan to buy from.

Vehicle History

It is vital that you understand the car’s history as thoroughly as possible. You can ask for a vehicle history report, and you will get a report of how many owners the car has had and if it has ever been in an accident.

In the UK, you can check the MOT history of the car you are considering by heading to Check the MOT history of a vehicle – GOV.UK. This will give you a lot of information about if the car has been taken care of and if there are any recurring issues.

You will also see the mileage and if there are any minors that you will need to be aware of.


While you probably have a few cars in mind, it is important to understand what your financing options are. Even with bad credit, there are options that can allow you to get the car that you want.

You might be able to negotiate a part exchange if you have a car that is in good working order. There are several ways that people purchase a car; some are outright, others are through a personal loan, and some with hire purchase or financing options through the dealership.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that the repayments are something that fits into your budget.

Always keep in mind what you can afford in terms of insurance, too: Cheap car insurance and the questions you need to ask yourself.

Returns Policy

Just like with everything that you buy online, it is important that you understand the returns policy. If you don’t like the car, or you find that there is a fault that wasn’t disclosed, then a returns policy can give you a safety net.

Typically you will have a cooling-off period of about 14 days, but you should be sure to read the fine print. Within the cooling-off period, you may be able to return the car without incurring any fees.

Keep in mind that you will still be liable if there is any damage to the car. Any added mileage may also be taken into consideration.


Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of your car purchase is the delivery options, often the delivery.

Once you have done plenty of research about the dealership you are buying the car from, and the car itself, as well as the finance options, it’s delivery booking time.

There are typically two options available to you when buying a car online. The first is to have the care delivered to your home, and the second is to pick the car up.

When you choose to pick the car up, you have the added bonus of being able to fit in a test drive before you leave with the keys.

However, if getting to the dealership is a problem, then delivery is ideal.

Ask questions

Buying a car is a big decision, and one of the most important things is that you ask as many questions as you can, from the fabric that the seats are made out of to how many cup holders the car has. Everything counts.

The car showroom or dealership will be happy to answer all of your questions because they know that buying a car isn’t something you do lightly. To get the most from the purchase journey, plenty of questions.

And finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t rush the decision.

Looking to get the maximum value from your car purchase? Check out these tips: Buying a good value car with a clean and clear history check.

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