How Long Does it Take to Buy a Car?

Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, you’re often in a rush to get the process finished. Perhaps you need the vehicle for work or your daily life. Maybe you’ve had your eye on a particular make and model for a while, and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Or this could simply be your first vehicle, and you’re anxious to get started racking up the miles! No matter the reason, you’ll probably want to know roughly how long the buying process takes.

The reality is that purchasing a vehicle is rarely a quick process. According to research by Cox Automotive Research & Market Intelligence, the average length of time people consider themselves to be on the market for a vehicle is 89 days. Close to three months sounds like far too long an estimate for buying a car, but when you break the steps down, there are a lot of things to consider. We’ve outlined the three major steps when it comes to purchasing a vehicle below.

1. Conducting Research

This is often the most time consuming part of the car buying process. If you’re not sure where to start, there are so many choices available that researching can be rather stressful! It’s therefore a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I using the vehicle for?
  • How big does it need to be?
  • What are my priorities? E.g. safety, speed, the latest technology
  • What is my budget?
  • Am I buying on finance, and if so, would this be a personal contract purchase or hire purchase agreement?

Once you’ve addressed these questions, you can much more easily filter your results. And when you have narrowed down your options, this will put you in a much stronger position in terms of negotiating with dealers. If they try to upsell expensive features and add-ons, you’ll know whether they’re worth the price or not.

Of course you may already have an idea of the type of vehicle you’re looking for, in which case you can simply move on to the next step!

how long buy car

2. Comparing Cars

After you’ve thought about the type of car you’re looking for, even if you’ve not committed to a make and model yet, you can start comparing vehicles. You can do this first online, and then in person – don’t forget to schedule in some time to take a few cars for a test drive.

It’s likely that buying a new car will be a quicker process than purchasing a second hand vehicle. With a brand new vehicle, you can be confident that there will be no issues, whereas with used cars, you’ll need to check for anything that might need to be fixed or replaced over the next few years, as well as compare prices. And if you’re trading in your old vehicle, the process could take even longer.

If you are opting for vehicle finance rather than paying in cash, it’s also worth bearing in mind that speaking to dealers face-to-face can be beneficial. You can discuss financing options with them and negotiate a good price on a vehicle – essentially, find the best deal that works for you.

3. Completing Paperwork

While everyone knows that there is a fair bit of paperwork involved after purchasing a car, such as sorting out road tax and insurance, people often forget about the paperwork that comes with actually buying a vehicle. If you’re paying in cash, this is as simple as getting the car put in your name, but with a car loan, you’ll need to sign the finance agreement.

To help speed this process up, you can ensure that you have all the relevant documentation with you when you meet up with the dealer. This includes:

  • Your driving licence
  • Your financial information
  • Your provisional agreement

Any credit and other checks should have already been carried out, but it’s always good to come prepared with your paperwork! That way you won’t need to get into debates with the dealer about any specifics – they’ll all be outlined in your documentation.

buying a new car

Want to Speed Up the Process?

If you’re looking to cut down the amount of time it takes to buy a vehicle, one of the best things you can do is speak to a professional. Here at Vehicle Finance Today, we want to make the process as quick and straightforward as possible. Our online application should only take a few minutes to complete, and we can also save you time in terms of comparing lenders. We’ll do our best to match you with a suitable vehicle finance provider.

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