Car home delivery – all you need to know

What could be better than buying a car from the comfort of your sofa?
With everything from our weekly food shop and Friday night takeaway to wardrobe essentials and flatpack furniture available to buy online and have delivered straight to your door, car delivery is another convenient service that can help us save time and effort.
Still, it’s a relatively new phenomenon in the motor industry. Car home delivery only really grew in popularity during the pandemic when lockdown forced dealerships to close and online retailers accelerated their offering in response. Now, it’s a service offered by many dealerships – both independent and franchise as well as online retailers.

Got a specific question? Why not jump to:

Who offers home delivery?

If you’re looking to get your next car delivered to your driveway, you might be surprised by the number of dealerships that offer this service.
It’s not just online car retailers; independent and franchised dealerships can both offer home delivery, some nationwide and others in their local area.
When browsing car marketplaces or dealership websites, look out for options that say they serve remote buyers. This information should also be available on the dealer’s website or by giving them a call.
If you’re buying from a private seller, home delivery will be provided at their discretion and it’s something you can discuss during your purchase process. Keep in mind that private sales aren’t safeguarded by distance selling rules - legislation that protects you when buying a product online by providing a 14-day window to return the item and get your money back - so there might be some added risk if you choose to buy sight unseen.

How much does it cost?

The benefits of home delivery of any product often come with added costs. Depending on the dealership you buy from, you might have to pay a premium for the convenience of having your car home delivered.
It all depends on the seller; some will have a flat fee, some will charge by the mile, and others will offer free delivery either nationwide or within a certain distance.
The best way to find out how much you’ll have to pay – or won’t as the case may be – is to ask the seller directly.

Is it available nationwide?

The car home delivery radius offered by your dealership will depend on their policy. An online car retailer or franchised dealership that is part of a larger group with sites in several different places may be more likely to offer nationwide delivery.
Don’t be surprised if smaller independent sellers can only deliver within a few miles of their location due to logistical limitations and cost.

How long will it typically take?

Unfortunately, it’s rarely as simple as finding your dream car and then having it delivered the same day. Most sellers will need some time to prepare it for delivery, clean it inside and out, and perhaps even carry out a service before it can make its way to you.
Be sure to check the estimated wait with the dealership before committing to the purchase, especially if you need the car by a certain date.
If you’re buying a brand-new car straight from the manufacturer, you may need to wait a little longer, especially if you’ve requested modifications like a special colour or added features. New car delivery can take anything from six weeks to a year due to ongoing supply chain issues.

What do I need to provide to arrange delivery?

Double-check with the dealership as each one might have different requirements, but if you want to arrange a car delivery you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Your driving licence
  • Your insurance policy – valid from the date you intend to start driving the car
  • Your road tax
  • Your payment documents with your full name and address

What happens on delivery day?

Congratulations! Today’s the big day and your new wheels are about to arrive.
Before the car will be released to you, the delivery driver will need to do some due diligence and you’ll normally need to provide a form of ID and proof of purchase.
If a part-exchange is part of your agreement, the delivery driver may then check over your current car’s paperwork before loading it onto the lorry and taking it away.

What do I need to check when it’s delivered?

Now that your new car has been delivered and has taken pride of place in your driveway, there are a few important checks that you should consider completing before you let the delivery driver get back on the road.

Check the V5C

The V5C certificate, also known as the logbook, should come with the car. Check that its details match the seller’s information and the car in front of you. The key details to review include the registration date, the number of previous owners, the colour, and chassis number (which should match its VIN – Vehicle Identification Number).

Check the New Owner’s section

To ensure the car has been transferred into your name, double-check that the new owner’s section in the V5C has been completed and all the details are correct.

Look over the sales contract or invoice

The last piece of paperwork to review is the sales contract or invoice. Check that the date is right, and all your personal information has been listed correctly.

Check the car’s exterior and interior

While some car issues won’t be visible to the naked eye, a quick check over of the car’s general condition can give you some peace of mind. If you’ve bought a used car, some small imperfections may be expected but you might decide to return the car if it has a large rip in the upholstery or a dent in the bumper that you weren’t expecting, for example.

What should I do if there’s issues with my car?

After all the excitement that comes with choosing a vehicle, finding an issue with your car can feel like a real blow.
But don’t panic; if you bought your car online or over the phone and didn’t see it in person before it was delivered to your home, you’ll be protected by UK distance selling rules.
Under this legislation, you’re entitled to return the car and receive a full refund up to 14 days after becoming its legal owner. There doesn’t even need to be an issue with it, you can simply change your mind and return it.
If you did visit the dealership before your home delivery and had a chance to see the car in person, distance selling rules won’t apply. Instead, you’ll be protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The Act states that the car must:

  • Be of satisfactory quality (considering its age and mileages)
  • Meet the sales description
  • Be fit for purpose

You’ll usually be entitled to a full refund for a car that has a fault or issue that means it doesn’t satisfy these criteria within the first 30 days after your purchase. 

If a fault develops after 30 days but before six months have expired, you can ask the dealership to either repair or replace the vehicle. It may still be possible to get a refund at this point, but if you do keep in mind that you might not get the full amount back as you’ll need to pay for use of the car so far. 

Bought from a private seller? With this type of sale, the policy is buyers beware. You won’t be protected by the Consumer Rights Act, so may have to pay out of pocket for any repairs that the seller is unwilling to fund.

FAQs on car home delivery

Can you return a car you’ve bought online?

If you’ve bought a car online that you’ve never seen in person, you’ll be protected by UK distance selling rules.
These rules are designed to protect online shoppers and give you the right to return the car and receive a full refund as long as you do so within 14 days of becoming its legal owner.
The car doesn’t have to have a fault for you to reject it; if you’re not keen on the colour, don’t love the shape of the bonnet, or have simply changed your mind, you can return it if it’s in the same condition.
Restrictions and extra charges might apply if you’ve put more miles on the clock, damaged the car, or made any modifications to it within that 14-day period.

Is it worth getting a car delivered?

Whether or not car home delivery is the right choice for you will be a personal decision based on your individual circumstances but…
Car delivery might be worth it for you if:

  • You have a packed diary and would like your car delivered at a convenient time
  • You don’t have transport available to go and pick up the car yourself
  • You want to buy a car that’s being sold in another part of the country
  • You want the protection of a 14-day returns window

On the other hand, car delivery might not be worth it if:

  • You want to see the car up close and check it over
  • You’d like to take it for a test drive before buying
  • You want to be the first person to drive your brand-new car
  • You have a car to part-exchange and would like to negotiate in person

Can I collect my car instead?

If you’d rather collect your car rather than wait for a home delivery, you may be able to arrange a pick-up with the dealership. Online retailers may not offer this option although many of them have a collection centre so it’s worth asking if this is your preference.
Double-check what the dealer means by click and collect if this service is offered. If the transaction is completed online and you’re just swinging by to collect the keys and drive away, distance selling rules might still apply and you’ll have a 14-day return period. 
It’s a grey area though; if you are signing the paperwork and handing over the final payment when you go to collect the car, this may not count as distance selling and you won’t have the associated protections to fall back on.

Can I view my car before delivery?

Buying a car online is a relatively new phenomenon and, with such an expensive purchase, it’s understandable that you might want to go and see the car in person before agreeing to buy.
Depending on where you plan to buy from, the dealership will likely allow you to come down to the forecourt to look over the car, kick the tyres, and double-check it’s exactly what you wanted.
But be aware that by visiting the dealership, the sale will no longer be covered by distance selling rules. Your normal consumer rights won’t be affected.

Can I test drive my car if it’s delivered?

If you’d like to put your new car through its paces before signing on the dotted line, you can ask to visit the dealership for a test drive.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that once you’ve stepped foot on the forecourt and taken the car on a test drive, distance selling rules will no longer apply.
That means if you get the car delivered after your test drive but change your mind and want to send it back, you won’t have the same 14-day return period as you would if you’d never seen the car.

Can I change the date of delivery?

If you’ve got a diary conflict and need to change the date of delivery, contact the seller. Depending on the terms and conditions of their delivery service, they may be happy to change the date – it’s all down to the individual dealership. Charges might apply if you’ve requested to make the change at late notice.