Can you buy a car completely online?

People that live in a society where institutions function as they ought to will probably tell you that no purchase cannot be completed online. However, the story is not the same for societies where economic entities cannot be held responsible to process things like returns, exchanges and refunds effectively. The above serves as a disclaimer, calling on the customer to understand the dynamics of his/her society before committing to buying a car online.

Indeed, in societies that work, like the Western world, completing the processes of a car purchase can be done online, save for the very final step of test-driving, and signing the contracts. The cars can even be delivered to your home by some dealerships, while the parameters for test-driving might be communicated ahead of the delivery, all for an additional cost, of course.

However, prospective car buyers are advised to research customer reviews on extensively to obtain firsthand information about companies that have integrity, and those to steer clear of.

If you do not have the time, or cannot take the hassle of going to the car lot to haggle for your car, here are some few tips to consider before making an online purchase:


You need to know how much you are to spend on the purchase, keeping in mind other variables in your life like monthly income, recurring expenses, financial commitments, mortgages and/or student loans being serviced, and your credit rating. Also bear in mind that a car, even new ones, require some maintenance like fueling, servicing and such.

Financing the purchase

How do you intend to raise money for the down payment for the car? If you own a current vehicle, have you finished paying on it for it to be considered a trade-in? If you are trading in your current car, you need to go armed with sufficient information about the best price of the car, to get the value for the trade-in. To get the best bargain, you need to have a financial capacity to work with. You can check online for banks or credit unions for car loans, read review websites to compare loan options before you decide on the best financing for you. This sets the boundaries of your purchases, once you have a pre-approved financing deal at hand. Pre approval can be offered for new cars, used cars or even refinancing of cars, so use that to your advantage.


Unlike physical car lots where the make and model of your desired car might not be available, or the available product might have slight differences such as transmission, colour, etc., shopping for the car you want online allows you to get the exact make and model you want, and if one car dealership does not meet your search parameters, you can go to the next without breaking a sweat. This is with the expectations that the buyer already pre-researched the model/make desired, as the point of purchase is not the right time to find a car that suits you.


You might indeed be tempted to take the price on the car as sacrosanct, but here’s a heads-up. It is not! You can negotiate the prices of the car online by calling the car dealership, chatting with a sales rep or even through emails. There might not be the pressure of negotiating physically there, but you might be pleasantly surprised to get a price slash.

Delivery and Test-Drive

The chat with the sales rep is a good time to ask if the car can be delivered to your doorstep for test-drive, return policies and other additional services. If not, making that final trip to the dealership for a test-drive, finalizing the deal and a shake of hands should not be too much of a hassle.