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As states slowly begin to open back up, businesses need to find different operation methods to keep themselves afloat. For car dealerships, being open in a way that complies with CDC guidelines is a bit more time consuming and more of a process than it used to be, but it’s still very much possible to find, test drive, and buy a car while using safe practices during this pandemic. If you want (or need) to buy a car during this time, here’s what to expect so you can be prepared for the task ahead.


Research and call dealerships


You’ll want to start out by searching online for the type of car that you want. This is relatively simple to do, since many car dealerships have their inventory listed on their websites, but finding a car listed doesn’t mean it’s available to be bought. Even if it is, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to test drive it beforehand. Make sure the dealership you find is open, and find out its hours since several dealerships have reduced hours. It can take a day or two to hear back about your inquiries.


Find a creative dealership


Though the push for online purchases is understandable, doing so will give you the same expectations you’d have for clothes bought online: it might look and sound great on the website, but in person, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. Test driving a car is crucial to the car buying process because doing so will let you get a feel for how the car handles and point out any flaws it may have. This is especially true for used cars; there may be something wrong with it that you wouldn’t know about without driving it first.


Be ready to make an appointment


The likelihood of driving to a dealership and expecting to talk to someone about what you want to buy is pretty slim. If you’re serious about buying a car, be ready to make an appointment to talk with the dealership’s staff.


Be prepared and patient


These are uncertain times, so any usual expectations are likely to fly out of the window. Don’t anticipate being able to negotiate your potential vehicle’s price because the dealership will likely say that’s the lowest price they can afford to go down to. If you want a lower price, look elsewhere. Also, don’t expect the staff to take the same precautions that you do—keep yourself socially distanced, wash your hands, and wear masks. Most importantly, stay patient: reduced staff and hours don’t make for an easily run business, so buying a car could take several hours. Be mindful of all of this, and you may leave the lot with the car of your dreams.