buy used cars online
How to Buy a Used Car Online - A Guide for Car Buyers
The Buyers Guide to Purchasing Used Cars Online
Why Buy a Used Car Online?
The ability to buy a used car from dealers online may seem like a recent luxury for many of us, but for a number of people, it has been an essential service for some time. Buying online has become a popular way to find used cars for a wide range of people up and down the country who want access to the right cars at the right price, with peace of mind that they have made the right choice.
Buying a used car online is a service commonly used by people with health issues such as mobility or health vulnerabilities, but since the arrival of COVID-19, it has become popular among a much wider audience across the UK.
Buying from a dealer offers a wide range of benefits over buying privately, and the ability to buy a used car online from reputable dealerships across the UK has opened a whole new chapter on how to buy used cars in the UK.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car Online
The Pros of Buying a Used Car Online
It’s Quick and Easy!
A lot of time and effort can be saved by buying a used car online. Use website filters to narrow down which cars are of interest and potentially view hundreds of cars in one sitting without leaving the sofa.
No showroom visits, no haggling, no time taken up with travelling to see the car which you may want to do more than once.
Shop for Used Cars 24/7
One of the best things about shopping for your next car online is you can do it any time you like. Whether an early bird or a night owl, the same cars are available to you 24/7 and you can enquire about them online and receive a response during open hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bank holiday, Christmas, or any other occasion where a showroom may be closed, online car shopping is truly open at all hours.
Most dealers selling used cars online offer a fixed price policy. You may see this as a pro or a con, as the price you pay is the price you pay, but these cars are market researched and priced competitively so there is no need to haggle. If you are part exchanging your current car and/or looking for used car finance you’ll find these offerings will be competitive too.
Buy with Confidence
For peace of mind, used cars bought online must come with a no-fee returns policy, and most dealers will sell all used cars with a quality assurance policy minimum MOT period, and warranty attached for peace of mind.
Ability to View Cars Outside of Your Local Area
Buying a used car online is a quick and easy way to view a large number of cars without arranging showroom visits up and down the country. The opens up your opportunity to find exactly the car you are looking for, not just the 20 or so you have found in the local area.
Delivery to Your Door
Found your dream car at DCC in Fareham but you live in London? No problem! Get customised videos and chat with your salesperson, then get your car delivered to your door. Some dealers such as DCC offer free delivery within a radius of the dealership, and delivery can be arranged for almost anywhere in the UK. Arrange your car delivery at a time to suit you, and in most cases, if you have a part exchange it can be taken away at the same time.
The Cons of Buying a Used Car Online
What If I Don’t Like the Car?
You may have found exactly the car you want and signed on the dotted line, but what if it arrives and the driving position just isn’t comfortable, or you don’t get on with the gearbox? No problem. Every used car bought online must come with a minimum return period. If you find the car just isn’t for you, you can return it during this period with no questions asked.
Alternatively, you are welcome to visit the showroom to test drive the car in person if that is an option for you. Buying a car online with DCC and some other dealerships can be tailored to suit you, using online and real-life dealer services to create your ideal buying experience. If you want to buy online but test drive our cars, that’s fine. If you want to come in to discuss finance arrangements, that’s fine too. Check the paperwork for every car you are looking to buy, but when buying a used car online from a reputable dealer you will have a return period as part of the deal.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
While it’s highly unlikely that something will fail soon after your purchase, it is not impossible. By buying from a reputable used car dealer offering quality checks before delivery, a minimum MOT period, and an aftersales warranty, you are covered for most eventualities should something go awry.
Trade-In Value of Your Part Exchange
Not so much a negative as something to be aware of; your part-exchange value is going to be hard for a dealer to determine if they have not seen it in person. Where possible it is a good idea to take your part exchange car to the dealership to get a final value for it.
This is not essential, and you can buy a used car online with part exchange without visiting the dealer but be aware they will need to ensure they are not offering more than it is worth, so maybe slightly conservative on their estimate in case they face any nasty surprises when it arrives.
How to Buy a Used Car Online
The first step in buying your next car is to think about what you need from it. This could be a range of needs and wants including economy, mileage, boot size, ISOFIX, and other safety features, gearbox, engine size, trim, and much more.
Write down your needs and wants in two separate columns. The needs are the ‘must haves’, and the wants are the extras that would be a bonus but are not essential. From here you can easily see what you can and cannot compromise on when searching for used cars.
Define Your Budget & Think About Finance
Think about how much you plan to spend and what finance options might be available to you. It’s important not to overspend, and if you take a finance deal with a reduced 0% interest rate for the first period, make sure you can comfortably afford the rates after that period has ended.
Use online used car finance calculators to get an idea of what you can afford, but remember they are only for guidance, and you may not be able to get a deal on the car you want at that rate.
Now you have defined your budget you know what you have to play with.
Do Your Research
Cast your net wide by only using minimal filters initially, covering only your budget and essential items. This will help you find cars you may not have considered before, and help you keep an open mind.
If your search returns a large number of results you can start to narrow down your selection to include your ‘wants’. If your search returns just a handful of results you may wish to search using a new set of filters or adjust your search accordingly to return a wider range of vehicles.
Book a Viewing or Test Drive
Once you have narrowed down your search and created a short list of potential buys, think about whether you would like to - or are able to - visit the showroom for a test drive. If this is an option for you it is good to ‘drive-before-you-buy’, but it is not essential thanks to online video walkarounds and live chat with the salesperson who can answer any questions you have and show you any part of the car in real-time.
Know Your Rights
Make sure you read all the dealership policies and paperwork for the car before signing. If you are taking finance and/or part exchanging your current car it is important to understand all terms and conditions relating to this service too.
If you have any questions at all, speak to your salesperson or finance manager and only sign when you are confident you know everything you need to.
That’s it, you’ve bought your next used car! The only thing left to arrange is collecting it from the dealership or arranging delivery to your home. Upon collection or delivery, a trained representative will run your through the controls and fundamental operations of your new car, as well as hand over the service book, paperwork, and locking wheel nut key if you have one.
Key Differences Between Buying a Used Car Online and In-Person
The key differences between buying from a dealer online and in-person are really down to time and distance. You will still have a dedicated salesperson and finance manager, and still, be able to contact them and look at features of the car upon request. You can still book a test drive, still pop in for a chat, and you will enjoy all the same finance and part exchange offers as someone walking into the showroom.
Tips for Buying a Used Car Online
Research the Dealer
If you find a used car online that you are interested in but do not know much about the dealer, research them and look for reviews to see what they are like to deal with.
Research the Car
If you find a car you like online that seems to fit your needs list, research it online to see what other owners make of it. Researching online will help identify any quirks or common problems, which you can check with the dealer to ensure have been checked before you buy.
Don’t be hesitant about asking questions about the car you are interested in. Your salesperson will have everything you need to know about the car at their disposal and will be happy to advise you on any aspect of the vehicle.
Be Aware of Market Changes
The used car market changes daily, and you may see price increases and decreases in used cars over weeks and months. This is normal and prices will fluctuate.
Make Sure the Car Will Fit in Your Drive or Garage If Not Test Driving It
One last tip to save you some time! If you are not testing the car prior to buying it online, measure your garage or driveway to make sure it will fit before you make the purchase.
Can I buy a Used Car with Finance Online?
Yes you can! Most, if not all dealerships will offer a range of finance packages on every used car they sell.
Understand Finance Packages Available
When considering used car finance make sure you have a thorough understanding of what is on offer and the costs involved.
Define Your Deposit
Know how much you can comfortably afford for a deposit and have it readily available to you when you wish to buy your next car. Until you pay your deposit the car will remain on sale to anyone who wishes to buy it.
Tailored Finance Packages
Speak to your finance advisor about flexible finance options to suit you. Deposits and monthly payments can be adjusted within a certain bracket to accommodate your needs.
Buying Used Cars Online Safely and Securely
Check Company Validity
It is usually best to buy your car from a trusted car dealership. If you come across a car you are interested in but were not previously aware of the company, research them to ensure they are the real deal before moving forward with your purchase.
No Cash Payments
No one should be asking you for cash, this is a red flag for any used car purchase as you are likely to be left without protection against any cash loss. Where possible use protected payment methods such as credit and some debit cards to pay your deposit and always get a receipt.
Only Use Recognised Payment Channels
If you are asked to pay via an unusual or non-UK recognised payment platform do not do so unless you are 100% sure it is genuine and that you have protection. It is not advisable to use payment platforms that you do not recognise.
Can I Test Drive a Car I Buy Online?
Yes, you can with DCC. Most dealerships selling cars online offer in-person test drives, however, you will need to factor in the distance to the dealership in order to decide whether or not to book your test drive. If the car is a great distance away and you cannot realistically arrange a test drive, ensure you have a returns policy in place which means the car can be returned if it is not suitable for you to drive.
What About my Part Exchange Car?
If you are collecting your new used car from the dealership you can drop your part exchange (PX) off at the same time, complete with all the paperwork needed for the dealership to process it. IF your new purchase is being delivered your PX will usually be collected at the same time.
How Do I Know the Car is in Good Condition?
Buying a used car online should come with peace of mind as standard. Every dealership has a different quality assurance process, but at DCC you can rest assured your next used car with come with the following as standard:
- Walkaround video, photos, and the salesperson on hand to answer your questions
- 128 point AA approved inspection check
- Minimum 6 month MOT
- Minimum 6 month/6,000 miles before next service
- 12 month AA breakdown cover
- 6-month warranty with lifetime warranty available
- All tyres under 3mm replaced before sale
- All brakes over 70% worn replaced before the sale
Buy Online Quickly and Easily Without Leaving Your House
View the full range of cars available at DCC’s three Hampshire used car sites. View finance examples for every car we sell and arrange a walkaround on any vehicle which takes your interest. Ou sales team is available to answer any questions you have about buying a used car online, contact our used car sales team today.