On the hunt for a new – or nearly new – set of wheels and wondering how much time it might take to buy one? It’s definitely not a task for your lunch break, as there are a number of variables which will impact how long it takes to buy a car. We look at the main factors to consider below.

Buying a car – what to consider 

After a house, buying a car is likely to be the second largest purchase you ever make. For that reason, it’s important not to rush it. In fact, 2020 research by Cox Automotive Research & Market Intelligence found that people are in the car buying ‘market’ for an average of 89 days.  

That might seem like a long time, but in reality, purchasing a car is a fairly time-consuming activity. Variables such as the below will impact exactly how long it takes to buy a car. 


First up, you’ve got to do your research. Is safety your priority, or are speed and style more important? What’s your budget, and what kind of financing do you need? Are you heading to a dealership, or are you okay with a private seller? 

This period can take the longest, and be a real time-sap – if you allow it to be. Answering these questions before beginning your research can help to streamline it. Plus, if you know what you want from the off, you’re less likely to spend time negotiating with the salesperson as they try to upsell expensive add-ons and features. 

Shopping around 

As we say above, you can speed the process up by going into the shopping process with a clear idea of what you want. Don’t forget to include test drive times in your shopping timeline – this will usually be around 30 minutes or so per test drive.  

It’s worth setting aside a day or two for the actual shopping part. Heading to different dealerships allows you to gauge which will offer you the best price and/or financing, helping you secure a deal that works for you.  

Remember that buying a new car will likely be faster than a used car. It may take longer to find a used model that you’re happy with, and you’ll also need it to be evaluated prior to purchase. A trade-in will also extend the buying period. 


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 in with your paperwork will speed up purchasing time, as you won’t be haggling with dealers over the specifics and any credit check and ensuing agreement will already have been pre-established.  

Car finance doesn’t have to take so long! 

Looking to cut down how long it takes to buy a car? You can use My Car Credit’s car finance calculator to get a no-obligation quote for car finance within minutes. Plus, if you have questions about the buying process, our friendly team are always on-hand.

Rates from 9.9% APR. Representative APR 12.4%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating


  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed


  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs


  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit


  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past


  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan

X monthly repayments of

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable




*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!