Like it or not, many of us are stuck inside because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. If you’re looking to buy a car and can’t wait for social distancing, self-quarantine and the like to no longer be necessary — or if you’re just beginning your car-shopping process — there’s still lots you can do from the confines of your home.
First: What kind of car do you want to buy? What kinds of features do you want it to have? Perhaps most importantly, what’s your budget? Not only can you use Cars.com’s research pages to explore various vehicles and find The One (or a couple of options worth considering), you can also use our videos and reviews to check out the latest car recommendations from our experts — in both written and visual formats — as well as the latest car news that might inform your buying process. There’s also a tool to check to see if the car or cars you’re interested in are currently part of any recalls.
We also have tons of buying advice for you — everything from trade-in tips and negotiating advice to whether new or used is a better idea for your particular situation. (You can find more advice in the related link above.)
Find Your Actual Car
OK, so you’ve figured out what you’re looking for. Now what? Well, for starters, you can search our vehicle listings to see what’s available to you. You can search for cars within 10 miles of your ZIP code if you want to stay close to home, or push the search area out farther — across the entire U.S., if you want. You can also filter out vehicles by everything from exterior color to specific features — gotta have a heated steering wheel for winter, right? — and narrow your results even further.
You should also be sure to check out dealership reviews (if you’re looking at more than just vehicles being privately sold) and even salesperson reviews to help you have the best car-buying experience possible.
Now That You’ve Found the Car …
Well, we can’t in good conscience recommend buying a car without a test drive. But before you get to that, be sure to contact the selling dealer using the various methods on our listings: You can do so via email or phone; some dealerships even offer online chat assistance. Dealers may also use Facebook as a means of listing vehicles or contacting customers if that’s your preferred method of communicating. You should also be able to secure outside financing remotely, further limiting the amount of actual human contact you’ll experience during this process.
Given the current state of things, it’s important to check with any dealership to be sure they’re currently following updated protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding health precautions for your safety and the safety of their employees before you make an appointment for a test drive or to have your current vehicle appraised for trade-in. When you go for a test drive or to negotiate a purchase, your prior work doing everything above should reduce the amount of time you spend in public, which is good for everyone’s health.
Some dealerships may even be able to offer home delivery for both test-drive purposes and upon purchase, meaning you never have to leave your home except to try out your potential new car. It’s entirely possible today to complete every step of purchasing a car without leaving your home.
No-Touch Buying at GM Dealers
While we still recommend a test drive, many shoppers know what they want and might have already driven the car. If that choice is a GM vehicle, the General has a Click Shop Drive online buying program at participating dealers that offers completion of a whole deal, including financing — all of which can be done while wearing pajamas. You just have to take delivery, and you can ask for that at your home.
While most luxury brands, including Cadillac, offer some form of concierge service that limits dealer visits, this online program applies to all GM brands and is available through about about half of all GM dealers. You can locate those near you at the Click Shop Drive site and identify dealers listing on Cars.com that offer the service for social distancers.
More From Cars.com:
- Coronavirus and Car Buying: What You Should Know
- Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Uncertainty, Automakers Offer Peace of Mind Via Payment Relief
- What Are the Best New Car Deals for March 2020?
- More Expert Advice
- Find Your Next Car, Now
You’ve Bought a Car. Now What?
First: Congratulations! Second: Enjoy! Third: Continue to be safe out there, be it out on the road or self-quarantined at home.
Editor’s note: This story was updated March 17, 2020, with information on GM’s online buying program.
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.