Buying a Used Car, Buy Now or Wait?

The country, and yes the whole world is currently in crisis. But we can (and will) look for opportunities to make the best of things – its human nature. So to that end we decided at Carsnip to review the markets that we know best, and make a forecast for our users to give them an idea of when will be best to buy that car they’ve been waiting for!

The question is quite simple, now? Or later?


The question of buying now (or in the next few weeks during the current lockdown, any subsequent extensions of lockdown, and the initial period immediately after lockdown ends) comes down to weighing up the risks and complications vs. rewards. 

The benefits of buying now (or in the immediate future) are that there are deals to be had. Whilst all dealerships have ‘closed their doors’ to the public following governmental legislation, for many this has been a closure of the physical doors rather than a full closure of the business. Many dealerships are still completing sales online, usually utilising video walkarounds and an improvement in remote communication to still give their customers the best possible experience. However, due to the instability of the market (very much a result of a lack of consumer confidence and financial stability) lots of dealers are struggling to stay afloat, and also have stock which they need to move. The net result? Deals. Everywhere. Prices are being lowered to tempt consumers to purchase, and this will definitely continue during lockdown and for the initial period following whilst the dealerships get back on their feet.

The negatives to this (and of course there are some) are as follows:

  • No ability to physically view your vehicle before purchasing – a situation that makes a lot of people uncomfortable; and we can see why. But remember that many dealers will be offering more generous sale terms (that the market has seen little of before now) such as return periods, and longer warranties to put your mind at ease.
  • More difficulty securing finance – a reality caused by a tightening of the proverbial ‘pursestrings’ by the global finance houses. However this does not mean that getting finance is impossible (or anything close) – it just means that it may be a more cumbersome and laborious process than we are used to.
  • Potential delays surrounding the collection/delivery of the vehicle – as with above, we are all aware of the social distancing restrictions, and i’m sure we can all imagine the farcical scenario of arriving to collect your beautiful used car, and standing on one side by the drivers door whilst the handover specialist (yes, that’s a thing!) stands on the other side and throws you the keys! The reality is a lot smoother than that, but complications still arise in ensuring the 2m rule is adhered to. The same applies with deliveries – processes are in place and improving rapidly, but there are bound to be technical difficulties. 
  • Generally a slower and less refined process than the market is used to – this is just a cover-all of the above really, but it’s a generalisation we just want to hammer home. Dealers, their hard-working staff, and everyone involved in the whole of used car sales really are doing their utmost to still provide their customers with the best possible experience – but as with many things in these troubled times, it’s never going to be as refined a process as usual. 

Now all of these things are to be expected if making a large purchase like a car during current times. The question really is, are they worth bearing to get the best deal? Our research form our user base shows that a lot of people are willing to accept these (potential) further complications and risks if the level of money saving is high enough, so our advice is to keep an eye on the market, search for the type of car you are looking for regularly, and keep track of pricing trends – so that you are in a position to pounce if the right vehicle appears at the right price. 


Now you could wait for the Covid situation to blow over – and for some people this may be the best decision. Some people prioritise differently, and may put less value on the price being charged for the car, and more on the service they receive going through the purchase. All of the problems listed above would be sold, you won’t have a large outlay of cash during a troubling financial time, and many other ‘positives’. But you won’t be able to take advantage of the deals referred to above. 

The other main advantage of waiting until all this blows over is for people who have a car to sell/part exchange – which yes, is the majority of buyers. Unfortunately the reality of the current market situation is that for it to be a ‘buyer’s market’, I.E. excellent deals and low prices available for prospective purchasers; it cannot also be a ‘seller’s market’ – where great prices can be received (through sale, trade in or part exchange) for the asset you already own. 

So, anyone who buys now will gain through a saving on the sale price of the vehicle they wish to purchase, but lose out through the valuation of their own asset. Is this a worthwhile trade-off? That comes very much down to the personal situation, and once more will require every individual considering their options to sit down and look through the figures. 

 So, down to it. Now, or later? 

NOW. If you have the funds, or are able to access the funds through either car finance or personal finance, still have steady and stable cash flow from ongoing employment (which you do not feel is at risk) – essentially if your situation allows – then there are steals to be had like no other. 

However you may feel you will be better off getting a better price for your current vehicle than the saving you will make on a purchase at a great price. If this is you, waiting may be the best answer. 

But for the majority, now is the time. We may not get another opportunity any time soon where the market is affected in this way, with vehicle prices decreasing so rapidly. Make your move soon and get that used car you have been lusting after – after all, we’ve all got to to keep ourselves cheerful during lockdown one way or another haven’t we?


About Carsnip
Carsnip is the UK’s largest used car search engine, with over 500,000 dealer sold used cars across the UK. We operate a natural language search engine, to help you find your perfect used car, and narrow down the choice by what’s most important to you.

About the Author
Sam Wardega is’s very own in house car guru and journalist.
A lifetime Petrolhead who started with Hot Wheels aged 2, and now just spends his life savings on owning his dream cars. As they say, boys don’t stop playing with toys; they just get bigger and more expensive!

Disclaimer: The content contained in this article is for information only purposes, and does not constitute financial advice in any way. Carsnip is a search engine for buyers to find a new car, and does not endorse any of the finance products presented by the dealers who may advertise through our website. This information is correct at the time of publishing. Any queries should be directed to