How Long Does it Take to Buy a Car?

A Woman Buying a Car

Car buying can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, involving research, vehicle viewings/test drives, loan documents and registration documentation.

How long it takes to purchase a car depends on many variables, including your budget. While buying can take anywhere from days to weeks, having clear criteria in mind can speed things along more efficiently.

Buying a Car

Before purchasing a car, it is vitally important that you invest the time in researching all available models and options in order to make an informed decision and save yourself both money and hassle by finding something suitable.

Consider what type of car you want and the purpose for which it will be used; such as commuting or leisure activities. Also factor in costs of upkeep such as gas and insurance premiums.

Decide how much you can afford each month and which type of car fits into your budget. Search for lenders offering low interest rates with loans tailored specifically for your needs.

Once your financing plan is in place, the next step in finding the ideal vehicle for yourself should be fairly easy: searching. But keep a few things in mind to get the best price on either new or pre-owned cars.

1. Get to Know Your Credit Report and Score.

Knowing the details of your financial life – such as whether or not you qualify for car financing or the interest rates charged – is of critical importance, and can impact everything from how easily financing an auto can be accomplished to what interest rate will apply on loans you take out. You can check your score both online and through consumer reporting agencies.

2. Cosign for a Loan.

A cosigner is defined as someone with excellent credit who will put their own name at stake to guarantee your car loan payments if you can’t handle them on your own. Doing this can help build up a solid credit profile which increases the chance of finding financing options when buying in future.


Researching cars can be a complex and time-consuming task; in fact, most people spend up to 19 hours researching one before making their purchase decision.

Before making a final decision on any make and model of vehicle, there are various features you should take into account before making an informed choice – safety features such as reliability and comfort should all be top priorities.

Once you know exactly what type of car meets your requirements, the search begins for its perfect match. Reviews on various makes and models may help, as can conducting cross-brand research to compare similar vehicles from various manufacturers.

Insurance is another essential element of purchasing a vehicle. When reviewing your current policy to assess affordability and consider any new policies that might be available. Rates will depend on various factors including age and driving history.

Try shopping around for car insurance that provides lower premiums to drivers who travel less. This type of policy, known as pay-as-you-drive, could save money over time.

Pre-approved loans can also provide valuable insight into what your budget allows, monthly payment requirements and interest rate costs will be.

Pre-approving for a loan can be done at various places, including banks, dealerships, credit unions and private lenders. Online applications may also be accepted – the key to finding an excellent lender with competitive rates and terms is selecting one who offers competitive deals!


Car financing refers to the process whereby an individual borrows money to purchase their vehicle, then pays back the loan in installments over time until their loan has been fully repaid by making monthly payments to the lender. Once complete, they own it free and clear.

Financing your vehicle can be done through banks, credit unions, dealerships or private lenders – each lending source offering different terms and approval processes; with good credit you may even qualify for reduced interest rates and shorter loan terms!

Before visiting a dealership, always double-check your credit score and debt-to-income ratio (DTI). A DTI under 50% should help to ensure you don’t pay high-interest rates or find yourself unable to repay your loan on time.

Go shopping and compare prices at different dealerships nearby. Also research incentives, deals and cash-back offers from manufacturers available locally.

Once armed with this information, use it to negotiate the price of your new vehicle – remembering to aim for an appropriate deal rather than simply the MSRP!

Dealerships will attempt to undercut your offer, so it’s a good idea to know your target price and set an unchangeable one. If you prefer online negotiation, most dealers offer salespeople you can contact via an internet browser.

Once you’ve decided on an acceptable vehicle price, the next step should be applying for financing. Depending on which lender is chosen and dealership offerings available to you, application process could take anywhere from several hours to several weeks before finding one that best suits your budget.


Negotiating a car deal requires patience and knowledge – knowing exactly what you are getting into makes the whole experience less stressful.

Negotiation can help you secure a better price on the vehicle of your dreams. Here are a few key points to remember when conducting negotiations:

Don’t allow emotions to dictate the negotiation process when purchasing your car. Negotiation should be treated as business rather than emotional; don’t become emotionally attached to one specific model or trim.

Be ready to walk away if a dealer refuses to work with you on price or exhibits aggressive sales tactics; sometimes just telling them that you will go elsewhere may suffice in prompting them to make a more reasonable offer.

Strong credit can greatly aid your negotiating efforts and allow you to pay cash for your car purchase.

Pre-approve for a loan before starting negotiations can strengthen your position considerably, as dealers will know you have enough financial power to purchase the car on your own.

Make use of the vehicle history report to gain a ballpark valuation before beginning negotiations, so that your offer reflects market conditions. This will enable you to make an offer based on actual demand.

Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and NADAguides can provide you with a range of used car values. Each website will give you prices based on make, model, year and mileage – when it comes time to negotiate, make sure to compare these figures against both retail value and private-party value as part of your negotiation.

Test Driving

Test driving a car before making your purchasing decision is an integral step that helps determine whether the vehicle meets both your criteria and budget, and gives you the opportunity to compare different models and brands.

Test drivers use various terrains to operate a vehicle to assess its performance, comfort and safety. Leveraging their mechanical expertise they analyze all aspects of a vehicle from within out. From brakes and acceleration, handling to visibility while considering components like power seats/windows/climate control/air bags/headlights they provide valuable feedback on every vehicle’s capabilities.

Certain countries require drivers to pass a written exam before being eligible to sit a practical driving exam. The exam includes questions related to road signs and traffic laws in that particular country.

Preparing for your driving test can be both nerve-wracking and exhilarating, so always come prepared. First make sure that you have both your license and proof of insurance ready. Next locate a dealership nearby offering vehicles of interest.

As soon as the salesperson arranges a test drive for you, take full advantage of it by testing out its handling, acceleration and brakes – as well as familiarizing yourself with its controls.

Always inspect a used vehicle carefully for damage and scratches before getting behind the wheel, especially if this is your first purchase. This step should never be overlooked!

Be ready to address any technical questions the salesperson might pose about the vehicle, such as fuel requirements for travel over certain distances, maintenance costs, warranties and service plans available – this will allow for smooth negotiations with them.