The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Car Online

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past year, you've most probably seen the explosion in popularity of sites where you can buy a car instantly, online. But should you do it? Remember the days when you thought you'd never buy clothes online? And before you knew it... poof! You've got more ASOS deliveries arriving than you can remember you ordered! We have a hunch that car buying is going the same way. Check out more information below on everything you need to know about buying a car online!

What Is the Best Way to Buy a Car Online?

It's never been so easy to buy a car online, thanks to the advancements of technology and the increasing number of digital dealerships. Before you purchase your vehicle, do plenty of research to find the best option and don't forget to get an HPI check on the car before buying. Purchasing a car online has never been safer thanks to the Government's Consumer Contracts Regulations (2013), giving buyers the right to return any purchase online within 14 days. 

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What are the risks of buying a car online?

Like anything, there are always some risks to consider, but we don't see too many with buying a car online. Most companies will offer some seriously good guarantees, like 7 or 14 days money back options, which means if there's something wrong when the car arrives, they'll come and take it away again. Also, they tend to check the car thoroughly and carry out any necessary repairs before they even put it online. 

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Where can I buy a car online?

This all depends on whether you're going for a 100% online process, or whether you just want to find the car online and pick it up in person! If you're a busy person, then it could be super convenient to buy it online, and have it turn up at your house in a few days time. In this case, we'd recommend checking out sites like Cazoo, Cinch, or Carzam. These sites are ideal if you want to see a range of different makes, models and price points. However, if you know exactly the car you want, then you could also check out some of the car brands direct, as many of them implemented new online purchase options during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. 

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What costs should I consider when buying a car?

If you're buying a car online, you'll definitely enjoy the seamless process. You can literally sit on your couch and wait for it to arrive... but wait! There are other things to think about, and bits to organise. Have you got your road tax paid? Have you organised your insurance? How about the next MOT, when is that due? And if you're buying the car with a finance agreement, have you checked when the first payment is due? With Carmoola, we'll help you keep track of these things in your handy smartphone app 😉 Just sayin'.

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Will I need to collect my car if I buy online?

These days most online car dealerships and manufacturers who sell online will deliver you car for free - yes, right to your door! If you're part exchanging with them they will collect your old car too. And you will have time to consider and check if the car is totally suitable for your needs - can you get a good driving position, or do you have adequate boot space etc. So long as you don't drive over the permitted distance in the contract, you can have the car collected and returned. 

Read more about online car delivery here. 

What should I check for when buying a used car?

Grab a cuppa, because this list is pretty long. And I bet you didn't check this last time... naughty! Anyway, if you're going to spend a lot of money on something, it's definitely worth doing your checks thoroughly. Luckily there are some handy online tools (ahem... Carmoola) that can help you do these checks with just a quick search. Got your cuppa? 

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What happens if I buy a car with outstanding finance?

This question is interesting, but if you'd followed the steps above then you wouldn't need to worry about this one 😉 However, if you do end up buying a car that has outstanding finance, don't worry. There are some things you can do. Firstly, it's likely the finance company will contact you to try to recover the debt. As much as you might like to, it's not a great idea to avoid these calls. It's important to show you're co-operating with them, and one great way would be to point them in the direction of the silly person who sold you a car with outstanding finance.

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What Is the Best Way to Buy a Car Online?

Before you buy a car online, you should research the dealership and get a vehicle history report to see if there are any issues, such as whether it has been in an accident. Once you've identified the car you'd like to buy and all the details look good, you can get car finance online, putting you one step closer to getting your dream car. There are even some online dealerships that will deliver the vehicle right to your front door, meaning you can go through the entire process of buying a car online. 

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What Are the Best Online Car Buying Sites in the UK?

You're not short of places to buy a car online. Whether you're after a brand new vehicle or a used option, there are plenty of websites where you can view and buy cars. These include the original car-finding site in the UK, Auto Trader, as well as Cazoo, Carwow, Heycar and Cinch, while honourable mentions go to Car Giant,, Car Guru and Piston Heads. As technology improves, even more companies are cropping up and selling vehicles online. 

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If you are looking for some more general advice on car buying, why not check out our blog article on what to consider when buying a car.