How Long Does it Take to Buy a Car?

The day when you finally buy a car is one of the biggest days in your life. You have seen thousands of different cars in your life, both on the road and on television. There are so many makes and models to choose from. Plus getting your financing figured out can add to the confusion. With all of these things to consider, it may seem like the process of buying a car will take forever. So how long does it take to buy a car?


Before you even start shopping for a car, it is in your best interest to prepare. Since there are so many factors to consider and the investment is so big, it is important to take the time to prepare.

First take the time to figure out what exactly you need in a car.

How long is your commute? Depending on how far you drive everyday, your car will need to be able to handle the constant use. Do you have kids? You will need a vehicle that can comfortably seat your family and maybe a couple extra. Do you live in an area with bad winters? If you get snow every year, your car will need to perform in all weather conditions.

Once you know your requirements for a car, you can start to narrow down your search. Depending on your own personal situation, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or two to break down your car needs before you go buy a car.

Shopping for a Car Online

Now that you know what to look for in a car, you can start shopping.

While you could go straight to a dealer, it is much easier to shop for a car online. There are countless websites with cars for sale that give you a preview into the vehicle. With cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans to choose from, the shopping process can lead you down a rabbit hole.So make sure you are focused in your search.

While shopping for a car to buy, consider making pros and cons list for the cars that peak your interest. This will help you narrow down your options and find the car that best suits your needs. And remember, the car’s usefulness to you is much more important than the style. Yes a nice looking car feels good, but the peace of mind driving a reliable car feels much better.

The car shopping process online should not take more than a couple hours, depending on how focused your search is.

Going to the Dealership

If you decide to shop for a car at a dealership, your options will be limited the physical inventory. But you get the added advantage of seeing the cars in person. It is recommended you do a little research online first so you know which dealer to go to.

The dealership experience is known for being uncomfortable due to the used car salesman. But if you politely ask to browse the lot on your own, the dealership will have no issue.

Take some time to browse the cars that interest you and read up on the technical information. Create a shortlist of cars that fit your needs and take a day to think it over. Allowing the cars to simmer in your mind will help you make a decision naturally. But chances are you will still need some help picking a car to buy.

Buying a Car

Once you have a car in mind ready to purchase, you can go start the transaction. The steps in doing so will include getting approved for financing, signing the paperwork, and paying a down payment up front. Once these steps are done, the car you buy will be prepared and inspected one last time. After a couple days, the car will be ready for you to pick up and drive away.

How long does it take to buy a used car?

The process of buying a used car may include some extra inspections from the seller. Taking this into consideration, you can expect it to take up to a week to buy a used car.

How long does it take to buy a new car?

If you are buying a new car, then the seller will be eager to get it into your possession fast. A new car transaction will likely take only a few days, because the dealership will be eager to convert such a high dollar sale.

How long does it take to buy a car at a dealership?

Buying a car at a dealership takes up to a week and will require multiple trips to the dealer. Picking a car to buy and the pick up day will each require your presence.

How long does it take to buy a car online?

Buying a car online is a new option for car buyers that did not exist ten years ago. Currently, you can expect buying a car online to last up to two weeks.

One reason for this is the location of the car inventory being sold. Since the car you are buying is probably located in a different state, it will need to be shipped to you. This will tack on at least a couple days to the average week it takes to approve an online car purchase.