Ask Clark: Should I Buy a Car Right Now?

The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed the economy down, but it has caused an uptick on the number of deals available for people in the market for a new or used vehicle.

Money expert Clark Howard says car prices keep falling to the point where “the deals being offered right now are better and better.”

Clark’s Take: Should You Buy a Car Right Now?

The truth is that until things improve on the global health front, you can expect to see more steep discounts from automakers and dealerships.

“Because vehicle-buying activity, depending on where you live in the United States, has slowed a meaningful amount or collapsed, it means that there’s a lot of unsold inventory,” he says.

“Car sales have fallen off a cliff, likely down 50% or more!” Clark says.

But the decision of whether or not to buy a car is not just one based on enticements and convenience. For most, it’s primarily about personal finances.

The questions you must consider are two-fold:

  • Do I really need a car right now?
  • What is my financial situation projected to be for the life of the loan?

“Even with [the great deals], buying a vehicle is a major decision,” Clark says. “It is the second-biggest expense most of us have.”

So should you buy a car right now, with all that’s going on? Here is Clark’s advice:

“If you are a lucky person who has a job that is secure and you were planning to buy either a new or used vehicle, this is a great time to buy.”

Clark says you should use the internet to car shop for a new or used vehicle. It’s never been more convenient than it is presently.

“Since almost everyone is set up to negotiate and complete a deal online, the ability to shop with multiple sellers is extra-easy right now,” he says.

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Furthermore, dealers have come up with safe ways to get vehicles delivered to people, Clark says.

“They are even equipped to do a ‘touchless’ sale where you have no potentially dangerous contact with individuals from the dealership,” he adds.

Indeed, vehicle marketplaces like Carvana are doing touchless delivery to ensure that car shoppers can conduct business without having to physically interact with sales associates right now.

Final Thoughts

So, just to reiterate, if you’re less than confident about your financial situation, this is not the time to take on big consumer debt. 

On the other hand, if you feel secure about your job and your finances and you’d already planned on buying a vehicle, then it makes sense to take advantage of the deals out there right now.

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