Can I buy a car during the Covid-19 lockdown? Dealers reopen today

National lockdowns have kept dealers closed but they're back as of today. Here’s how you can buy a new or used car in all parts of the UK

England entered its third national lockdown in January 2020, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland employing similar measures. Three months later, on 12 April, the Government has implemented a major lifting of restrictions.

This means car dealerships - which are classed as non-essential retailers and, as such, have remained closed under local and national lockdown restrictions since before Christmas - have finally been allowed to reopen their doors to the public

The UK car industry is worth more than £82 billion in turnover, and adds £18.6 billion of value to the country’s economy as a whole. Both new car registrations and manufacturing took a major hit last year and first impressions suggest 2021 may not be much better.

Read on to find out what buying a car now looks like.

Can I buy a car from a dealership?

Yes, customers can now walk into a showroom to look at a car, test drive it, configure it and buy it. It's hoped this will provide a boost to the industry, as those who don't feel comfortable buying a new or used car entirely online will have an opportunity to kick the tyres.

The experience won't be totally normal, however. It will be mandatory for customers to wear a face mask when visiting a dealership, unless they're medically exempt, and test drives will generally be taken alone rather than with a salesperson in the passenger seat.

This will at least be a more familiar and comfortable experience for many car buyers than purchasing a car remotely.

What Covid restrictions will dealers have in place?

The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) and NFDA (National Franchised Dealers Association) have released a set of guidance, advising dealerships how they can ensure their showrooms are Covid-secure.

The measures recommend a booking system being implemented, with 'walk-ins' managed in such a way as to allow social distancing at all times. Customers should either come alone or with one other person where possible, and will need to wear facemasks in line with Government restrictions.

Dealers are also encouraged to operate unaccompanied test drives. If this is not possible, accompanied test drives can still take place, but face coverings, ventilation and vehicle sanitisation should all be used to mitigate the risk of contracting Covid-19.

Can I still buy a car using click and collect?

Yes, click and collect services will continue to be offered for those who can't visit a dealership, be that for reasons relating to distance, Covid, or anything else.

Cars bought via click and collect services are ordered online and collected from car dealerships. Delivery services are also still allowed, so dealers can deliver cars to customers' doors. Our sister site BuyaCar is one of many offering a completely online car buying service. 

Going into a dealership to talk to a salesperson, look round a car and go for a test drive, though, is no longer out of the question if this is preferred.

Can I get my car serviced, repaired or MoT tested?

Car servicing, repairs and MoTs weren't interrupted by the third lockdown, so you can take your car to a dealer or garage for any of these services. There has also been no MoT extension scheme like we saw during the first lockdown.

Confused over car finance? Check out our handy guide here...

Recommended

Covid-19: what it means for motorists and the car industry
Motorway
News

Covid-19: what it means for motorists and the car industry

Everything you need to know about how Covid-19 affects cars, motorists and the car industry in the UK
6 Apr 2021
April new car registrations up 3,177%
Ford Fiesta
News

April new car registrations up 3,177%

Last month saw a monumental upswing from April 2020, when pandemic-struck Brits bought just 4,321 cars - but month was still 12.9 per cent down on dec…
5 May 2021
UK car production rises but still down on five-year average
Production line
News

UK car production rises but still down on five-year average

Manufacturing rose 46.6 per cent year-on-year in March 2021, but was still 22.8 per cent lower than the five-year March average
28 Apr 2021
UK Driving tests restart but learner drivers face long waits
Driving test

UK Driving tests restart but learner drivers face long waits

Learner drivers in the UK face a 17-week wait between booking and taking their practical driving test
22 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers
Average speed camera
News

Average speed cameras on motorways get approval from drivers

UK drivers are in favour of average speed cameras on motorways despite the majority admitting to breaking 70mph limit
10 May 2021
Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value
Appreciators: Renault 5
Features

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value

Looking to invest in a modern classic? Here are some cars destined to appreciate in value
4 May 2021
Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke
Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke
Vauxhall Mokka

Vauxhall Mokka vs Hyundai Kona vs Nissan Juke

Can the all-new Vauxhall Mokka make an impact in the small SUV market? We test it against the Hyundai Kona and Nissan Juke to find out
8 May 2021