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Buying or Selling a Vehicle Safely During COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The vehicle purchase process has been drastically impacted by COVID-19 as well as the changes to retail environments for our safety. Whether you’re buying or selling privately or through a dealership, you’ll want to ensure you’re following proper social distancing and sanitary rules for where you live. Due to these changes, you’ll probably do more of the process online or virtually than ever before. Here are some tips on how to buy and sell used cars (mostly) from home.

Buying a used car during a pandemic

Whether you’re buying a used car from a dealership or privately, doing your homework beforehand is more important than ever as you may be limited to how many vehicles you see in person. Here are some tips to navigate the buying process:

Review the CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report in detail

  • Use this important tool to your advantage to look for key information about the vehicle. Pay special attention to whether the vehicle has been in an accident, if there are any unfixed safety recalls, how many owners it’s had and if there is money owning on it.
    Learn what else a vehicle history report can show you.

Ask a lot of questions

  • Don’t be afraid to ask more questions than usual. Find out what the current odometer reading is and if it’s been driven more on the highway or in the city. Ask about the vehicle’s service history to ensure it’s been well maintained. If you’re buying privately, understand why the individual is selling the car.
    Read more of the best questions to ask.

Get additional photos and video

  • Look extra carefully at supplied photos and videos and ask for additional ones if necessary. Inspect them for chips or rust in the paint, tire tread levels, and wear and tear on the seats and steering wheel. If there are features you want to know more about, ask the seller or dealer to take videos for you demonstrating that they work properly. You can even do a virtual tour of the car via video chat.
    Find out what else to look for during an inspection.

These tips will help you narrow down your choices from afar, so you don’t have to spend more time than necessary in a showroom or parking lot. Once you have a short list of vehicles, always take a test drive. (If you’re buying from a dealer you can even ask if they are open to an at home test drive.) Finally, always get a pre-purchase inspection for your final choice by a licenced mechanic before signing on the dotted line.

Selling a used car privately during a pandemic

If you’re selling your car online during this time, make it easy for potential buyers! You’ll want to provide them with as much information about the car as possible and answer potential questions upfront. Here are some tips to navigate the process:

Provide a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report (with a lien check)

  • This comprehensive report gives buyers total visibility into your car’s life story and provides context to any damage incidents, recalls and how well you’ve taken care of the car. Be sure to include a lien check as this gives the buyer added peace of mind regarding any money owing on the car.
    More tips on selling privately.

Get ahead of commonly asked questions

  • You should always anticipate these common questions from buyers, so why not include the answers in your ad? It shows you’re a trustworthy seller who will be upfront about your car’s details. Include particulars like why you’re selling the car, the ratio of highway/city driving and how well it’s been repaired/maintained.
    Additional questions you should anticipate.

Take great photos and video

  • Do not underestimate what professional looking photographs and video can do for your ad! Buyers will be paying extra close attention to the visuals you provide, so ensure they show your car in the best light. Give it a good wash and bring it to a nice location for shooting. Include all exterior angles with close ups of lights and door details. Provide video showing working accessories and any special features. You could even offer virtual tours!
    Expert tips for great photos and video.

Once prospective buyers start rolling in, consider allowing safe, sanitized and physically-distanced test drives and mechanical inspections if requested. Things may be a little different today than the last time you bought or sold a car, but there are still ways to make it a quick and easy experience. Good luck buying and selling in this “new normal” we’re living in!