How to Buy a Loaner Car

by Shanan Miller

Whether you drove a loaner car that you fell in love with or just want a good deal, automobile dealers do sell their loaner cars and often at discounted prices. Loaner vehicles are driven by customers who are waiting for their car in service or while their new car is being prepared for purchase. If you purchase a loaner care, you can expect to take over the remainder of the manufacturer's warranty even though there are miles on the loaner vehicle when you take possession.

Go to the manufacturer's website of the loaner vehicle type you want to purchase to locate a dealership phone number and address, if necessary. Call ahead to check loaner car availability.

Ask the dealer representative to email you information about the loaner vehicles you have to choose from. If you already know which vehicle you are interested in, make an appointment to test-drive it. The dealer may need to arrange for the vehicle to be at the dealership at the time you visit.

Visit the dealership to inspect the loaner car you chose. Take it for a test-drive. Make sure you check the vehicle mileage once you arrive back at the dealership.

Inspect the vehicle for dings, dents and scratches. Make sure there are no broken pieces inside the vehicle and check to ensure that the spare tire is in place. Arrange to have the vehicle looked at by a mechanic if you prefer.

Discuss pricing after you've decided that the vehicle is the one you want. Ask to see the window sticker to determine your discounts and to ensure that you are saving money by choosing the loaner car. Generally, 15 cents per-mile over 500 miles on the odometer is a fair discount off of the vehicle's manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

Agree on pricing with your sales representative. Fill out a finance application if you are using the dealer for lending or go to your bank to get a bank check or cash for your purchase.

Make an appointment to sign paperwork and take ownership of the loaner vehicle. If the dealer allows, you may be able to bring the car home the same day. Complete your lending contracts, if necessary, your state motor vehicle paperwork and take ownership of your new car.

Tip

  • check Compare new car pricing to the price of your loaner car. It may make more sense for you to purchase a new car with a longer warranty period than to purchase a loaner car with mileage already on the odometer.

Warnings

  • close Take your vehicle to a mechanic for inspection. Loaner vehicles are driven by numerous people, and the car could have been in accident or poorly maintained.
  • close Do not expect a large selection of loaner vehicles with different options and colors. Options are limited.

About the Author

Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.

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