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What Safety Measures to Expect at a Car Dealership

A global pandemic has changed how car dealerships operate. Here’s what you can expect if you’re in the market for a new vehicle.

A man in a car wears a mask and holds up a key fob

Navigating everyday tasks during the age of Covid-19, such as going to the grocery store, involve directional signs and reminders to socially distance. Something else that’s changed significantly is car shopping.

Here’s what you need to know before buying a car during the pandemic.

  • Make an appointment
  • Expect Covid-19 health and safety measures
  • Contactless test drives are available
  • Paperwork can be completed online


Make an appointment

It’s not mandatory, but most dealerships ask that customers make an appointment to test drive a car. This allows staff to clean and sanitize the selected vehicles ahead of time, and helps to limit the number of staff and customers inside the dealership. Before making an appointment, browse the dealer's online inventory to figure out which vehicle you’d like to take for a spin.

Expect Covid-19 health and safety measures

Once at the dealership, shoppers will find a lot of hand sanitizer stations as well as plastic safety barriers. Selling cars pre-Covid included lots of interaction with a sales rep. Sitting down to sign papers with a plastic barrier between the buyer and seller runs counter to past experiences, but helps keep everyone safe. And of course, masks must be worn inside the dealership as well.

Contactless test drives are available

Some dealerships may offer to bring the vehicle to your home for a test drive to maintain social distancing. Depending on your region, an employee may not accompany you on the test drive in which case they will follow you in a separate vehicle for security reasons. Otherwise, safety rules are in place, such as having a time limit on test drives.

Paperwork can be completed online

Some car dealerships who have the proper tech set-up in place, will likely allow important paperwork to be completed digitally, meaning it’s possible for customers to complete their purchase without ever setting foot on a dealer’s lot. But others may require you to sign the papers in-person.

Each car dealership operates differently, so specific protocols and procedures may vary from one auto dealer to another. Call ahead to the dealership directly to inquire about their Covid-19 policies.

Get more with CAA

Have a specific question about your car? CAA’s team of Auto Advisors can assist by providing automotive advice on a range of topics including care for your car, repairs, inspections and more. Call 1-866-464-6448 or email autoadvice@caasco.ca. Visit CAA online for a range of topics, including buying a car, selling a car, or understanding car recalls.

Image Credit: iStock.com/Drazen Zigic