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How to buy a car online on Auto Trader

Spotted a car deal too good to miss out? You can now secure your dream car online in minutes. Start your online car-buying journey by reserving a car for £99 on Auto Trader.

Nimisha Jain

Words by: Nimisha Jain

Published on 9 May 2024 | 0 min read

Buying a car can sometimes feel like a drawn-out process. First, you search through countless listings to find the perfect car. Then, you rush to the dealership to buy the car before someone else does.
But what if we told you we can save you some time when you buy a car online on Auto Trader… You can now reserve the car you want on Auto Trader. With car reservations, you can make the car yours in a matter of minutes with just a click of a button. This means no more running around dealerships. Once your car is reserved, you can visit the dealership on the agreed date and time, pay directly to the dealer, and drive your car back home. Sounds good? Here’s how it will work:

Step 1: Head to ‘Buy a car online’ on Auto Trader

To start your online car buying journey, head to ‘Buy a car online’ where you can get all the details you need about reserving a car and buying online on Auto Trader.
Buying a car online on Auto Trader
Head to ‘Buy a car online’ on Auto Trader
If you’ve already started your search for a car, and you want to filter your search to only see cars that can be reserved online, then you can also tick on the ‘Reserve with Auto Trader’ button on the left to filter your search results.

Step 2: Search from our selection of cars

Whether you’ve got a model in mind or you’re looking for your starting point, you’ll get your eye caught by at least one of the thousands of cars available to buy on Auto Trader. Pop the kettle on and start your search - you can add as many filters as you need to find the car that’s right for you.

Step 3: Start the process to reserve the car

Has your heart just jumped? You might have found the right car for you.
If you don’t want to miss the deal, you can click on ‘Reserve for £99’ to secure the car. This will start the process of reserving your car.
 ‘reserve for £99’ button on the advertisement
‘reserve for £99’

Step 4: Submit a part-exchange (optional)

You can part-exchange your old car and use the cash to pay for your new car, without having to worry about selling or disposing off your old car.
The car valuation price isn’t guaranteed but you can use our tool to understand how much is your car worth. Just answer three simple questions about your car’s market value. We value your car by looking at millions of vehicles and using independent, unbiased market data to find out how much your car’s really worth. Once you’ve received your car’s valuation and you’d like to proceed with it, you can use the guide valuation to start a conversation with the dealer and find out how much money you could get towards your old car.

Step 5: Decide how to pay for the car

Pay for your car in the way that works for you, whether that’s in cash, via a loan, or a finance plan. Just make sure you can make every payment, and that you’ve read and fully understood the terms and conditions – don’t be afraid to ask whenever you have a question or want to better understand what something means.
If you’re going to finance your car, you can apply on Auto Trader using our free online car finance application service. You can choose your preferred finance term and get some estimated monthly costs of the car in one place. Note: Auto Trader is a credit broker, not a lender. You can finance your car through the dealerships advertising their finance products on Auto Trader. Just enter your details to get personalised finance quotes, then choose the one that best suits, and apply for your car finance. We will let you know if your finance application is successful or not and then you can complete your car purchase accordingly. If you’re nervous about applying for finance because of a low credit score, read our guide on how you can improve your credit score and apply for finance.

Step 6: Collect your car or have it delivered

When you’re reserving your car, you’ll be able to see what are the delivery options that the seller provides. Based on the options, you can choose how you want to receive your car. Once you’ve reserved your car, the seller will get in touch with you to discuss any further details if needed such as delivery date and costs for or home delivery.

Step 7: Reserve your car for £99 to secure it

The last step to complete your reservation is paying the £99 reservation fee. Once we receive your payment, we will ask the seller to reserve the car and set it aside for you.
We will send you an email to confirm the reservation after we’ve received the confirmation from the seller. The seller will then get in touch with you to discuss further details.

Step 8: Once you’ve received your car, get your £99 back

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about your £99 reservation fee.
Once your car has been reserved, you will receive an email with instructions for how to get your £99 fee back. It usually takes about two hours for us to process the email so don’t worry if you can't find it in your inbox just yet. You can also head to your Auto Trader account and select ‘get your £99’ option under ‘your orders’ if you don’t want to wait for the email. Or you can also contact the dealership so that they can complete the reservation, and then we can refund your reservation fees. If you decide to cancel your payment, our trusted payments provider Stripe will aim to process your £99 refund within three to five days. In the meantime, you can go back to looking for your dream car by heading back to search. All it takes is £99 to reserve the car of your dreams, so get comfy on your sofa and begin your car buying journey online with Auto Trader. Tell us how you’re getting on with the purchase by reaching out to us on our social media and let us know – X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Instagram.

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