Having worked in the automotive industry in both the United Kingdom and the United States, it always surprised me when I heard people complaining that it took all day to purchase a vehicle. That’s right, a day. In the U.K. the quickest you will get your new vehicle from a dealer is 3 days assuming everything runs like clockwork. That is also IF the vehicle you’re purchasing is already on the lot.

Here are some different scenarios to help you discover the answer to the question, how long does it take to buy a car.

how long does it take to buy a car

You Know the Vehicle You Want, it’s on the Lot, No Trade ,You’re paying cash

This is the quickest scenario to buying a vehicle. Time here will be spent mostly filling out paperwork, legal documentation, registration, and title information. You may spend a little time making sure everything is acceptable in the vehicle, drive it, and talk price. It may still take a couple of hours to complete this process. To speed it up, you could always call in the details to a salesperson beforehand so they have the paperwork ready for you to sign when you come into the dealership.

You Know the Vehicle You Want, You Have a Trade and You’re Financing

A common scenario, this will most likely take quite a few hours. As mentioned above it takes a while to complete State required legal paperwork. You’ll still want to test drive the vehicle, make sure it’s everything you needed. The dealership will also have to inspect your trade. Upon agreement of pricing and driving the new vehicle, a finance application will then have to be done and submitted to the business manager.

The business manager then has to submit that information along with the vehicle information to banks and financial institutions. The business manager then waits for a reply from the banks to say that the purchase is approved and they will supply the funds, or an adjustment has to be made. Sometimes adjuments have to be made if there is poor credit such as more of a down payment is needed due to high risk.

This part of the process could take longer when poor credit is a factor.  If credit is excellent, this process should be faster, however, the business manager is at the mercy of the banks as to how fast they will actually respond. Once everything is approved and paperwork signed, a temporary registration will be issued to put on the vehicle and you’ll be on your way.

You Don’t Know Which Car/Truck You Want, Have a Trade and You’re Financing

Also a very common situation. It’s going to take the time for the processes mentioned above AND some for finding the right vehicle. If you know what you need your vehicle for, this is a good start. Find a knowledgeable salesperson to talk you through the different options and choices available- that is their job! For example, you know you need to tow 13000lbs and you have 2 children. This will narrow the choices down.

Think about price and if you need/want a loaded vehicle with all the latest tech or you just need a base level one. This should narrow your choices quite a bit, so then make your final decision based on how they drive and what is most important to you; safety, performance, appearance, comfort, economy, or durability. This process could take all day or longer depending on how many vehicles you want to look at.

How Long Does it Take to Buy a Car When Ordering a vehicle From the Factory?

This is going to take the longest. Want to order something special or ‘build your own vehicle? On this one, you are at the mercy of the manufacturer. Some vehicles may be available within weeks, however, some may take months. I’ve seen vehicles take almost a year, so it really depends on what you want, supply and demand. It then has to be transported from the factory to your dealership. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Check out this article, if you’s like to know how to order a car from the factory.

At least in this modern-day and age, there is the internet to help out with vehicle shopping. Luckily it doesn’t take a min 3 days like other countries. It can be an arduous process but remember to enjoy your new vehicle when you get it!

If you would like some assistance on vehicle choice for your particular needs, feel free to contact us at Trusted Auto-Professionals or Fremont Motors.

Now you know the different scenarios and roughly ‘how long does it take to buy a car’.

How long do you wish it took to buy a car? Let us know in the comments below.