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Can I still buy a car in lockdown?


With a new nationwide lockdown coming into force, new restrictions are being introduced to our lives as we’re told to ‘stay at home’.

Car dealerships are included in those ordered to close – they’re classed as ‘non-essential retail’ – limiting your options if you’re looking to buy a car. So if you need one, what can you do? Let’s take a look.

Can I browse cars at a showroom before buying?

No. Car showrooms are now closed, so you can’t visit them as you would normally to browse different models – even if this is done outside. All your research and purchasing needs to be done beforehand.

So how do I buy a car?

The government has listed ‘vehicle showrooms’ as those that can continue to operate on a ‘click and collect’ basis, as well as offering contactless deliveries for those that would rather have their cars delivered to their home.

But you’ll need to buy your car either online or over the phone, as it’s not permitted to ‘buy’ it when you’re picking it up. To do this, you should speak to the dealer to see what provisions they have in place.

What about a test drive?

Sadly these are also off the cards – you won’t be able to drive your car before buying. Some dealers might offer additional leniency in case you don’t like the way your car drives, though this will be at the discretion of the garage, and shouldn’t be presumed.

How do I know my car is safe to drive?

If you’re worried about whether your car is safe – particularly if it’s a used model that’s had previous owners – you should rest assured that car dealers have been prioritising safety throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Many are advertising their Covid-19 procedures, which includes sanitising vehicles fully ahead of collection and delivery.

If you have any qualms about this, you should speak to the dealership in question.

What about vehicle servicing and MOTs?

If your vehicle needs a service, essential maintenance or has an MOT that’s about to expire, don’t worry – these types of garages largely remain open. Even at garages that usually sell cars, the servicing side of the business will likely remain operational for repairs to ensure your car is roadworthy.

What about Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

While the latest coronavirus restrictions only apply to England, similar restrictions are in place across the devolved nations, with showrooms also closed in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.