Advice for Buying a Car Online

By  //  January 13, 2022

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Over the last 20 or so years, the retail industry has been turned on its head by the incessant rise of e-commerce and online shopping. However, until very recently, buying online was largely limited to relatively small-value purchases. 

Given the increasing popularity of e-com and a general shift in shopping habits, it was perhaps just a question of time until the focus of online purchasing would shift to higher-value goods such as cars, homes, and so on – to the point that, these days, there is a huge amount of options available to prospective car buyers, including buying direct from web-based merchants such as Hilton Garage.

The Coronavirus effect

Another contributing factor to the rise in web-based car sales has been the recent emergence of Coronavirus. Due to the resulting lockdowns and distancing measures, buyers had no option but to move online to make purchases and this included buying and selling vehicles.

The internet car purchase checklist

Despite the fact an end to the virus seems temptingly close due to the rollout of vaccinations, most industry experts suggest our shift to the e-commerce model is very much here to stay.

If you’re looking to buy a car online, below are some key considerations you should bear in mind:

Have a clear idea of your budget: Like most things in life, your budget will determine the available options so having a set idea of how much you want to spend is almost a pre-requisite in the car buying process. 

Remember your requirements: While window-shopping on the internet is great, it can also prove hugely distracting given the number of options available. Instead of browsing all makes and models, you should aim to have a clear idea in your head of how you’re going to use the car as well as who’s going to use it. True – that sports model might be tempting but if you try envisaging the practicalities of using that same car for the school run, you might see things differently. The make and model of your new car should be fit for purpose for everyone, not just you. 

Remember, mileage is important: Opinions vary but as a general rule most motoring experts suggest a car should do around 20,000 miles per year. If a car has done less, it can be a sign that it’s been used for mostly short runs, which can take a heavy toll on the engine, brakes and so on. On the other hand, if a car has done more, it may have suffered excessive wear and tear. Try to stick to cars that have done the average 20k miles per year. 

Check around for deals and scour multiple dealership inventories: Remember, just because one dealer seemingly has the ideal model at the best price, it’s highly likely that a quick Google search will turn up multiple other options. You should note the make and model of the car you’re interested in then try searching for other dealers. You hold all the cards when buying online so don’t just plump for the first option you find – a search may well turn up far better deals.