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Update: from Friday, 23 October 2020, Wales will enter a ‘firebreak’ lockdown — currently set to last for 17 days. During this time, car dealerships will be closed and so the following advice will not apply.

If you’re still looking to buy a car at this time, you should still be able to contact the dealership (contact details in their Auto Trader adverts) if they are working from home, and you’ll also be able to continue researching online ahead of your purchase.



Car showrooms across other parts of the UK remain open and are operating with social distancing and COVID-secure measures in place.

To assist you in your car buying journey, we have a number of features on Auto Trader that highlight measures that some dealers have taken, including:

Home delivery options, where available
• The specific COVID-19 secure measures dealerships are taking, such as contactless collection, appointment only and social distancing measures
• Live video viewings of vehicles

Under ‘local safety restrictions’, car dealerships can remain open. As car dealerships are classed as retail, you will be legally required to wear a mask – as will those working there.

Most dealerships are operating by appointment-only to maintain social distancing, so please contact them in advance to arrange this.

Official guidance is changing frequently, so we'll constantly be updating articles to reflect the latest advice. With all that in mind, please take this article as general advice and check the NHS and UK Gov websites for the latest official updates.

Jump to frequently asked questions:
Are car dealerships open near me?
Can I buy a car right now?
Can I still sell my car online?
Will new car deals be affected?
Is home delivery available on cars?
Social distancing when buying a car
Regional lockdown rules
What you have to do at this time
As per Government advice, you must stay alert at all times and follow the guidance for whichever tier your locality has been classified as. Everyone should try to:

• Stay at home as much as possible
• Work from home if you can
• Limit your contact with other people
• Stay at least two metres (six feet) away from others if you do go out
• Continue to wash your hands regularly
• Wear a mask or suitable face covering

If you, or any of your household, are displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus, then you all have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Limiting your exposure to coronavirus
Auto Trader has three features to help make it clear to car buyers if a car dealer offers live video viewing, home delivery options and COVID-19 safety measures.

You may also be able to arrange home delivery or collection services with dealerships, so contact the dealership for more details. Auto Trader will flag these features on all of our ads so you can see, at a glance, if it’s available for you.

It’s worth being aware that, in addition to your usual rights as a consumer when buying a vehicle, if you purchase a car (i.e. agree the contract of sale) online without visiting a dealership, you have the right to cancel your order for up to 14 days after your car is delivered. For more detail on consumer rights, visit Citizen’s Advice or the Money Advice Service.

If you’re concerned about using public transport at this time and considering a new car, you can use this time to research which one may be right for you.

Do not make any visits, or arrange to collect or sell your car, if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are in daily contact with anyone in a high-risk group.

If you’re not displaying any symptoms and have to leave the house, then you’ll need to limit your exposure to the virus by socially distancing.

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had so far. If you’ve got a question or concern, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Are car dealerships open near me?

The majority of car dealerships across the UK are allowed to be open provided they have the right measures in place and are COVID-secure.

The situation is constantly changing though, and some regions in the UK have implemented local alert levels. While this does not currently most affect car dealerships, we encourage you to follow local advice, contact your dealership for more information and assess the car buying options available to you.

From Friday 23rd October, Wales will enter a ‘firebreak’ lockdown — currently set to last for 17 days. During this time, car dealerships will be closed. If you’re still looking to buy a car in Wales at this time, you should still be able to contact the dealership (contact details in their Auto Trader adverts) if they are working from home, and you’ll also be able to continue researching online ahead of your purchase.

For the rest of the UK, where dealerships can open, social distancing measures will be in place so please book an appointment in advance. Under the latest advice, you will have to wear a mask while at a dealership.

If you feel uncomfortable about visiting a dealership, enquire about other car buying options, such as car collection orders or home delivery. Please check and follow Government guidance for your area and ask your preferred dealership if these are available.

Other online features may include live video viewings and virtual e-signatures to complete deals. To help you learn more about these, Auto Trader now includes ‘COVID-19 safety measures’ on all adverts listed on our site, so you can see what measure dealers are taking, and what features they’ve introduced.

Can I buy a car right now?

Yes, you have several options when it comes to buying a car.

Contact the dealership to make an appointment and check they’re open and operating.

Some retailers may also provide an option to buy a car without visiting the dealer forecourt. If this is of interest, then look out for home delivery flags on Auto Trader adverts.

On Auto Trader, we’ve also introduced new features to support responsible buying and selling. These include live video viewings and highlighting home delivery services where applicable. If you’re interested in buying a car right now, you’ll need to get in touch with the individual retailer via phone or email, to find out if they are offering online purchases or click and collect services.

Start off by researching online. You can use our best-ofs to find recommendations based on your lifestyle and read our expert reviews if you’re still torn between a couple of makes and models.

If you’ve been contemplating a switch to hybrid or electric cars, now’s a great time to read more into that and see if it’s right for you.

If you’re buying a brand-new car, you can even configure it yourself. Just note that, due to temporary factory closures, deliveries are expected to be delayed.

We've found a lot of people are browsing the Auto Trader app and shortlisting their favourites by saving them. This is a great way to see what’s on the market near you, and make an informed decision on your next car.

Can I still sell my car online?

You can still list your old car on Auto Trader, and create and upload your ad in three steps. Our audience is the strongest it’s ever been, and we still host millions of prospective car buyers every week. If you’re looking for a new car, then you can also consider part-exchange and get a free, up-to-date valuation of your vehicle.

If you are listing your current vehicle, please make sure you clean and disinfect it. Whilst there are no guarantees that this will remove all risks, it’s a sensible step to take and shows you are taking a responsible attitude to the outbreak.

Looking after each other at this time is essential, so if you can’t properly disinfect your car – consider delaying the sale until a time that you can.

Will new car deals be affected?

You may find that dealerships are offering cheaper deals on new cars. This is because the interest rate for most HP and PCP finance deals is affected by the Bank of England Base Rate, which is currently very low.

This does not mean the base rate will stay low, however, and a change will affect variable rate deals. It is essential you stress-test your finances and do not commit to a deal you may struggle to maintain payments on – especially in this time of economic and employment uncertainty.

You can get free, impartial advice on finances from the Money Advice Service and Citizen’s Advice.

Is home delivery available on cars?

Plenty of dealerships are offering home delivery services. Auto Trader adverts now flag where home delivery is available, and other features such as live video viewings, so you can do more of your research from home.

If you have any concerns before sending a payment for a vehicle you haven’t seen in person, please contact our dedicated Customer Security Team for advice.

If you are self-isolating, please do not use these services and risk spreading coronavirus until the self-isolation for the whole household has passed and no-one is showing signs of infection.

Social distancing when buying a car

If you leave the house, please familiarise yourself with the NHS guidelines on social distancing.

Regional lockdown rules

The guidance issued in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales varies so please follow the Government advice relevant to where you live. The following options are currently available to you:
England
Dealerships and showrooms with social distancing measures in place were given the go ahead to re-open from 1st June 2020. This remains the case under new safety measures introduced by the UK Government in September 2020.
Many dealerships are operating by appointment only, and some are also offering customer collection and home delivery services.
Northern Ireland
Dealerships in Northern Ireland were also permitted to re-open from 8th June 2020, once they have social distancing and sanitisation measures in place. As with England, dealerships may also offer home delivery or collection services.
Scotland
Non-essential retail businesses, including car dealerships, have been permitted to re-open from Monday 29th June provided they have outdoor entrances and exits. Dealerships must also ensure safety guidance is implemented.

Dealerships in Scotland can also offer customer collection (click and collect) services.
Wales
Car dealerships in Wales will close from Friday 23 October 2020 for the 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown. During this time, all non-essential businesses will be closed.

You can learn more about what is and isn’t permitted during this lockdown on the Welsh Government’s FAQ page.
More information
For the latest Government advice in England, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For NHS updates, please visit their dedicated coronavirus page.

For our advice to drivers, please visit this page.
This article represents Auto Trader’s opinions and interpretation of the current situation and does not necessarily reflect the latest government guidance and advice. Please always consult the latest government guidance and advice before taking any decision based on this article.