How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car? See Answer

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car See Answer

Have you ever considered how long does it take to buy a car? Purchasing a car can be a difficult process, especially if it’s your first time.

If you believe the studies and you are buying from the dealership, you can expect it to take 3-6 hours to buy a car from the time you walk into the moment you actually drive away.

What Affects the Purchase Time?

Many car buyers arrive at the dealership unprepared. They arrive without first determining which car they want to purchase or without first examining their credit report or score.

There are times when a lot of people lack the necessary paperwork, such as a proof of auto insurance or the title for their trade-in.

Here are the main factors that influence the period it takes to buy a car:

  • What kind of budget do you have?
  • Do you need to go through the dealership to finance your car or are you using a bank? The second will take more time.
  • Are you buying a new vehicle using cash?
  • Do you have a car to trade in, or sell, or are you purchasing a new one?
  • What length of test drive are you looking for?

Car dealers occasionally cause delays in the auto purchasing process. To get the price of the car in their favor, dealers use a strategy of wearing down potential customers.

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car? See Answer
How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car? See Answer

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car If You Have No Trade In?

Trading in a car at the Car Dealership can take as much time as buying a car, and that’s because the dealer is essentially buying the car from you, and they want to haggle too! Therefore, unless you plan to accept whatever number they give you, add just under twice as long to be safe.

Why Does It Take That Long to Buy a Car With a Trade In?

The dealership is going to want to inspect the vehicle, something most car buyers don’t do but should for used cars, and of course, definitely wouldn’t be doing if you are buying a New Car (Something to Consider)

TIP: It might be necessary to leave the dealership and try your luck at Carmax or another car buying service if you have a car to trade and the dealership doesn’t make you what you feel is a fair offer. This kind of problem can make it take hours or even days longer to buy your car.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a New Car from the Factory?

You have the option of placing a special order for a car directly from the manufacturer if you have narrowed down your options for a car and simply cannot find it on any lot. In the US, this process can take 8 to 12 weeks, while a foreign-made vehicle will likely take several months. If you’re short on time, you should know that dealerships can find cars where you can’t with websites like Autotrader or Cargurus, and they can search and trade with other dealerships in their brand. Visit this article on Edmunds for more details on dealer-trades.

How Long Does It Take to Buy a Used Car?

Used cars are somewhat of a different process (Obvious statement I know), but you can probably expect to spend anywhere from only an hour to the full 6 hours or more buying a used car. Why?

  • Inspecting or Ordering an inspection on the car you intend to purchase can extend the time it takes to buy a used car vs a new car because new cars require no (Thorough) inspection
  • Since used cars are usually less expensive, they are also simpler to finance or pay for in full with cash. (Not for everyone, but these are averages we are talking about)
  • It can be challenging to find a used car. When you visit what you thought was a great online find, you might learn that the car has problems. (New Cars don’t usually have mechanical or physical damage)
How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car? See Answer
How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car? See Answer

Buying a Car – What to Consider

Purchasing a car is probably the next biggest purchase you’ll ever make, right after a home. It’s crucial not to rush it because of this. According to intelligence, people spend an average of 89 days looking to buy a car.

Although that may seem like a long time, buying a car actually takes a lot of time. The following variables will affect how long it actually takes to purchase a car.


Doing your research is the first thing you need to do. Are speed and style more important than safety to you? How much money do you have to spend? What kind of financing do you require? Do you intend to visit a dealership, or will a private seller suffice?

If you allow it to be, this time frame could be the longest and a real time waster. Before starting your research, consider these questions to help it go more quickly. Furthermore, you won’t have to waste time haggling with the salesperson as they try to upsell pricey add-ons and features if you know what you want from the start.

Shopping around

By entering the shopping process with a clear idea of what you want, as we mentioned above, you can expedite the process. In your shopping schedule, don’t forget to account for test drive times, which are typically around 30 minutes each.

Setting aside a day or two to do the actual shopping is worthwhile. By visiting various dealerships, you can determine which will provide you with the best price and/or financing, assisting you in securing a deal that is advantageous to you.

Keep in mind that buying a new car will probably be quicker than buying a used one. Finding a used model that you like may take more time, and you’ll need to have it checked out before buying. The period for purchasing will also be extended by a trade-in.


You can speed this process along by heading to the dealership or private seller with the following:

  • Your licence
  • Registration
  • Any agreed payment details including financing
  • Proof of insurance

Going into the transaction prepared will cut down on time spent negotiating with dealers over details, and any credit check and subsequent agreement will have already been established.

Read about Can You Refinance a Car With the Same Lender?

How Should You Speed Up Car Buying Time?

You can make your car buying process go faster by doing a few things, such as:

  • Prior to the car purchase day, secure your financing or arrive with cash.
  • Before entering the dealership, make a list of any other items you might want to purchase, such as insurance or a warranty, in addition to the car.
  • To negotiate the best deal in advance, call or shop around at various dealerships via the internet.

Quick Tips for Cash Car Buyers

  • You are not special-No matter how you intend to pay for a car, a dealership that values your business won’t treat you differently. The truth is that a buyer with financing would benefit the dealership more financially.
  • Do not Hide Your Cash-The conventional wisdom held that you should simply concentrate on the car’s price and not consider how you might pay; however, this could prevent you from taking advantage of potential incentives that could save you thousands of dollars. Inform the dealership that you initially intended to use your own financing but that if the offers are too good to pass up, you may be able to finance through them instead.
  • Financing doesn’t really mean financing- Financing a car is a good idea if the dealer or manufacturer will give you thousands of dollars to do so. You can then finance the car and pay it off quickly with your cash. (Free Money People)

Read about Can You Buy a Car Without a License?

Bottom Line: How Long Does It Take to Buy a Car?

If you are not financing through the dealership- You are a cash buyer

The obvious benefit this has in the time you spend on the dealers lot is that a cash buyer can be in and out of a dealership in as little as an hour or two, obviously giving or taking a bit on Price and Trade Negotiations.

Simply put, if you don’t have to visit the finance department, a sizable portion of your time at the car dealership has been cut out. “Wait, What?!?!” Yes, if you are not financing through the dealership you are not mandated to sit with the finance manager. They probably won’t say that, but why would they?

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