How to buy a car online

Avoid car dealers, dealerships, and rubbish coffee with our guide on how to buy a car online

BuyaCar team
Jul 30, 2018

Buying a car online is fast becoming the go-to route for people who are time poor, or don’t like dealing with pushy salesmen.

The online buying process ensures that you don’t need to spend hours plodding around showrooms, and can instead find your ideal car from the comfort of your own sofa.

Not having to leave your house might be reason enough to buy online but there are substantial other benefits too. For a start, you don’t need to restrict yourself to one dealership, or even one manufacturer per visit. Buying online has the savings built in to the price too, so there’s no awkward haggling. It’s quicker as well, as applying for finance generally takes less than 15 minutes.

And while you might not get to see the car before it arrives on your doorstep, this arrangement does mean that it's classed as distance selling so you have a 14-day money-back guarantee. If you decide that you don't want the car, you're entitled to a full refund - with fair-use restrictions.


How to buy a car online: money back guarantee

The 14-day money-back guarantee that applies to distance selling is a huge safety net for online buyers. If you decide that you don’t want the car within this period, you can have your money back, without having to provide a reason.

This is long enough to give the car a thorough going over: checking that the kids can get comfortable; that the dog fits in the back; and that you can load your shopping without breaking any eggs.

The Consumer Contracts Regulation (2013) will allow you to drive a reasonable distance within this time period to try out the car, and still receive a refund if you send the car back. Fair use policies do apply and if you go beyond a reasonable distance then the option to return the car may no longer be available. BuyaCar's cancellation and returns policy sets the distance at 30 miles, beyond which the option to return expires.


How to buy a car online: specification checks

When choosing a car it’s important to check that it has all of the bells and whistles you want from it. Car manufacturers are always changing trim levels, and the amount of equipment fitted as standard to each trim level.

This isn’t so much of a problem when you’re ordering a new car, but ensuring that your car has everything you want can seem like an enormous effort when buying used, especially if you can't see the car.

Every vehicle sold online should include a description and list of standard equipment and you can always ask a retailer to double-check that a specific feature is included.

How to buy a car online: arrange tax and insurance

Arranging your insurance is easy, and little different than to buying a car from a dealership. As always, it makes sense to get a quote before ordering your car to ensure that you have a good estimate of cost.

Once you’ve placed your order you’ll be given the precise details needed to compare quotes and order insurance to begin on your car's delivery date

When this is done and your car arrives, you’ll be able to tax your car. Your V5C logbook, which will be delivered with the car, has all the information you need to tax it, and the process can be done within minutes online or on the phone.


How to buy a car online: delivery

Getting your new car delivered straight to your front door certainly beats traipsing up somewhere on the train and then driving it back to your home.

BuyaCar deliveries are made from Monday to Friday and you’ll usually be able to choose the day of your delivery. You’ll be given an estimated time of arrival and you should expect a courtesy call from your delivery driver when they are about an hour away.

The cheapest way to get your car delivered is to have it driven to your address. There is also the option to have it brought to you on a transporter, but this is more expensive.

If you’re buying via finance, your car will need to be delivered to the home address on the finance paperwork. Cash buyers can choose to have the car delivered elsewhere, to a workplace, for example. 

If you’re part-exchanging your current car, it’s normally picked up from your home address, and when possible, at the same time as when your new car is delivered.


How to buy a car online: the differences between buying new and used

BuyaCar sells four distinct types of vehicles (in terms of age).

You can own a car that's built entirely to your specification by ordering it from the factory.BuyaCar offers this service for most manufacturers and you'll also benefit from manufacturer-backed finance. This process is the slowest (as you have to wait for the car to be built) and can take several weeks to get a car to you.
Go to and click on search for new cars.

BuyaCar also has new cars that are in stock. This type of car has already been built, and is already in Britain. These may be unregistered, or registered to a dealer. They typically have under 100 miles under their belts and are ready for delivery.
Best new car deals

Nearly new cars are typically less than a year old and have already had one owner. Many won’t have been driven far, but some may have as many as 10,000 miles on them. Although it should be noted that to do that sort of mileage, it would have covered mostly motorway miles, which puts fewer stresses on mechanical parts. These are also ready for delivery.
Nearly new cars - the latest deals

Then there are used cars. These are typically at the most five-years old, and offer the best value for money, as most cars will have done most of their depreciating by this age.
Best used car deals

For more information on how the BuyaCar process works, see our guide to buying a used car with BuyaCar.


Read more about:

Latest car buying advice

  1. Should I buy a diesel car? The future of diesel cars in UK

  2. How does BuyaCar work?

  3. Buying a car on finance

What our customers say