How to buy a car online

Online shopping is all about convenience and buying a car online shouldn’t be any different. Here’s what you need to know to help make your car-buying journey as smooth as possible.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Updated: 9 April 2024

It's no surprise that you can now buy a used car online from the comfort of your sofa. Most things can be bought online without you ever needing to leave home and a car is no different.

If you haven't bought a car online before, here's our guide to help you on your way.

Find the right car for you

Before making any important purchase, you should always do your research. Buying a car online means you won’t have to worry about haggling with a salesperson. So the first thing to ask yourself is, what exactly am I looking for?

The right car for you depends on your lifestyle, needs and budget. Do you need a car for the daily commute? Are you looking to buy a practical family car? Or do you need a cheap city runabout?

Whether you’re buying a car outright or getting one on finance, it’s worth keeping in mind the features that are likely to be important to you in the long term. Sat nav, smartphone connectivity and parking sensors or cameras are just some of the features to consider, as is Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support. There’s a lot more to car technology than simply being ‘cool’ – most bits of tech are there for your safety and to enhance the driving experience.

If you want some help finding a car that's right for you, take a look at our guide on how to choose your next car.

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I’ve found my perfect car online - now what?

When it comes to actually buying a car, there are a number of ways you can pay for it. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to buy the car outright. This means you won’t have to make monthly payments and you’ll own the car from the get-go.

There are also finance options available, such as hire purchase (HP) or personal contract purchase (PCP). You could also consider a bank loan, which may suit your needs and financial circumstances.

Is it safe to buy a car online?

When you're browsing cars online, make sure the seller has provided a thorough description of the car’s features and specifications and that any cosmetic imperfections are highlighted. Depending on a used car’s age and mileage, general wear and tear is to be expected, but any further damage should be made clear to you before you go ahead with the purchase.

It’s also worth checking out testimonials from other customers before purchasing a car online. Searching Trustpilot reviews is a handy way to determine whether the car retailer is reputable and trustworthy.

Can I still part exchange my car if I buy online?

Depending on the dealer, it may be possible to part-exchange your car online. Traditionally, you may have taken your car to a dealership for a price valuation. Now, you can enter a few details and get a valuation for your current car entirely online.

Can I get my car delivered?

Buy a car online and you generally get the choice of having it delivered to your door or collecting it from the buyer.

Whatever you choose, when you get the car there’s likely to be a handover process to make sure you're happy the car is what you expected and to familiarise you with its features.

What about tax and insurance?

When buying a car online, you’ll still need to take care of tax and insurance for your car before you can drive it. Make sure you have the car’s registration number, make, model and MOT test number and you’ll also need the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).

What if I want to return the car?

If you’ve changed your mind for any reason, you have the right to cancel the purchase at any time within 14 days from when you received the car under the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013. You’ll get a full refund as long as the car is in the same condition as when you bought it – the cost to repair any damage caused during the first 14 days is deducted from your refund if necessary. 

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

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