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Coronavirus and Car Buying:
3 Factors to Consider

March 19, 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made car buying the last thing on people’s minds. But amidst all the turmoil, there are bargains to be had on a new or used vehicle. Foot traffic through dealerships is dwindling and, as a result, automakers are ramping up incentives to increase sales.


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What to Consider Before Buying a Car During the Coronavirus

Should you try to score a deal by buying a car during the Coronavirus pandemic? Before you make a decision, there are three major factors to consider.

1. The current deals automakers are offering

There are definitely opportunities to save money on a new or used car during the pandemic. Vehicle manufacturers are preparing for the worst by shutting down plants and offering deals on current inventory.

General Motors, for example, is advertising 0% financing for seven years, along with deferred payments. Meanwhile, Ford is introducing a program that allows customers who purchase a new vehicle to defer payment for 90 days.

2. Your employment situation and finances

Sure, many automakers are offering great deals on new and used cars. But right now might not be the best time for most people to buy. Many American’s are facing job loss and financial hardship due to the pandemic.

According to David Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, due to the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 3.5 million jobs could be lost in the United States. And that means you might want to think twice before taking on a car payment.

3. Protecting yourself against the virus

Okay, so let’s say that, hypothetically, you decide to buy a car. What can you do to help ensure you aren’t exposing yourself to the Coronavirus while shopping?

One option is to purchase your car online. Two well-known automotive delivery services, Carvana and Vroom, will bring a used vehicle to your doorstep. Also, Carvana currently offers a “touchless” delivery program. If you opt for the service, a delivery driver will unload the car in your driveway, then sanitize the steering wheel and keys. The paperwork is left on the passenger seat for you to sign.

But chances are you’ll still want to test drive the car before you buy it. While in the past, that wouldn’t have been a problem, the current pandemic climate requires you to take precautions before venturing into the dealership to go for a spin.

Some experts recommend packing sanitary wipes and a plastic bag. Before getting behind the wheel, you should use the wipes to clean common touch points throughout the vehicle. Wearing a set of disposable latex gloves is another option.

You may also want to ask the salesperson to sit on the opposite side of the vehicle during the test drive. And remember – do not shake hands during the transaction.

If you decide to go through with the purchase, sanitize the vehicle more thoroughly once you get home. Wear disposable latex gloves while doing so.

Finally, remember to wash your hands several times throughout the vehicle acquisition process.

Should You Buy a Car During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Scoring a killer deal on a new ride can be tempting. But you must consider the basic needs of your family before signing on the dotted line. The world is an uncertain place right now. Having a car payment could prove to be a real burden if, in the future, you lose your job or become extremely sick.

Unless you actually need a new vehicle (or you’re swimming in money), for now, it might be wise to forgo buying a car altogether. Instead, save your funds for whatever might lie ahead in these unsettling times.