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How can I buy a car right now?

Here are our tips on buying and selling a car during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Auto Trader

Words by: Auto Trader

Andrew Woodhouse

Additional words by: Andrew Woodhouse

Last updated on 29 December 2021 | 0 min read

UK car dealerships can remain open. Under the latest Government guidelines, issued in November 2021, masks are required in retail settings. Further measures have been introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Please confirm the rules and any exemptions to mask wearing with your local authority before visiting a dealership. To make an appointment, simply contact the dealership via the Auto Trader advert. We’re here to support you however you choose to buy your next car. You can use Auto Trader’s app, expert reviews, and YouTube channel to research your next purchase, and use our new advert features to arrange a live video viewing from home and speak to a car dealer. If you’d prefer to buy a car online, you can! Take a look at your options on Auto Trader, which include home delivery.
What you have to do at this time
As per Government advice, you must stay alert at all times and follow the guidance local to you.
If you, or any of your household, are displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus, then you all have to self-isolate for the recommended length of time.
Limiting your exposure to coronavirus
Auto Trader adverts have helpful features that clarify to car buyers whether a car dealer offers live video viewing, home delivery options and COVID-19 safety measures in place.
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.


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?

Currently, dealerships can re-open. They may or not have social distancing measures in place, or ask that customers or employees wear a mask. This will be at the dealership’s discretion.
We encourage you to contact dealerships remotely (dealership email and phone contact details are available in Auto Trader adverts) and arrange an appointment to confirm any measures in place. Different rules apply in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so check the relevant government websites for the situation where you are.

Can I buy a car right now?

Yes, you have several options when it comes to buying a car.
Dealerships are open and operating, so please book an appointment if you want to visit your local dealership and learn more about the measures they have in place for car buyers. On Auto Trader, we’ve introduced new features to support responsible buying and selling, which include live video viewings and home delivery services where available. These are here to help get the most out of your research and navigate safely online before you head to the forecourt. You can also buy a car online and arrange collection or home delivery to suit you. It’s easy, convenient, and you can complete your purchase entirely online or pop on and off as you go – it’s up to you.

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. You can also get an instant cash offer from Auto Trader. Just tell us about your car, and we’ll give you an accurate value in minutes. If you’re happy to sell, we can arrange to pick up your car within 48 hours. It’s an easy way to get guaranteed cash and get your old car off the drive.

Will new car deals be affected?

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 means you may find plenty of cheap deals on new cars.
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?

Over 400,000 cars on Auto Trader are now available for Home Delivery.
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. You don't have to tie yourself to local dealerships - ship further afield for the best deals and arrange for the car to be dropped off at your door!

Social distancing when buying a car

Dealerships may have social distancing measures in place, we encourage you to contact them to find out what may be expected of you in advance - for example wearing a mask, bringing your own pen or using a dedicated entrance.

Regional lockdown rules

The guidance issued in England, 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:
Car dealerships re-opened on 12th April 2021. Home Delivery and Click and Collect are also available to car buyers.
For full guidance on what you can and cannot do during as lockdown lifts, please visit the Government website.
Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, car dealerships re-opened on 12th April 2021. Home Delivery and Click and Collect are also available to car buyers.
In Scotland, indoor showrooms were permitted to re-open from 5th April 2021. Car buyers can also complete their purchase with a scheduled Click and Collect handover inside a dealership's showroom.
You can learn more about the Scottish Government’s advice and guidance to retailers for customer safety measures on their retail sector guidance page.
Car dealerships, and other non-essential retailers, re-opened on 12th April 2021.
You can learn more about what measures the Welsh Government are advising to retailers on their retail advice page.

Findingyour next car

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.
More information
For the latest Government advice in England, please visit
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.