Buying a new car is not as fraught as buying a used car, but there are still pointers that you should be aware of before you set off to the garages. What are your needs as a family or single person? Do you drive long distances or are you after a short city trip kind of car? Would you prefer fuel economy over comfort? What amount of money do you have to spend etc etc All these factors need to be sorted out before you even begin to choose the car you want, so how about checking out our article ‘Choosing the Right Car’ before you read this one? But, you’ve probably already read it if you are a follower of this site so let’s crack on. The first thing you have to do is work out the money side of the matter.
Set your budget
Well before you even think about which car you want to buy, you’ll need to work out how much you have to spend. If you already own a car then it is possible that you might be able to part exchange and reduce the value of your new car this way. So, work out how much your current car is worth, and whether you’ll sell it privately or part-exchange it with a dealer. If you do not have a car then decide on whether you need to take out finance and which way you want to achieve this. Now is a good time to check your credit rating to see whether there may be a problem down the line when you go to apply for finance, as you do not want to set your hopes too high and be disappointed.
Choosing the right car
There is so much choice these days, which, although it can be a good thing, can make the buying process a little confusing. So, make it easier by writing down a list of ‘must haves’ the car will require. For instance, do you want a 3 door or 5 door, does it need to be automatic or manual? What is the car going to be used for mainly? Long distance journeys or city driving? How many passengers are you likely to be carrying on a regular basis? Do you want a sporty car with hard suspension or a comfortable people carrier? It’s not difficult once you start to name your needs on paper. Another factor to take into consideration are the costs it will take to fuel, tax, insure, service and repair the new car. Is it a foreign or limited edition model where parts might be difficult to get hold of?
Test drive the car
By now you may have picked the car you want to purchase. If you are not able to drive the actual car you have chosen, you will still have a chance to test drive the same model, if not, at least a very similar one. If the garage do not have the exact make and model you are interested in, ask them to arrange a drive in a car that’s as close as possible to the one you’re looking to buy. And do not assume that you can only take the car out for half an hour. Most garages offer an evenings test drive, and some will let you borrow the car for a weekend, so take advantage of these offers and get the most out of the time you have with the car. Make sure that you can get yourself comfortably sat in the car and that your visibility is good. Drive on as many different roads as you can to see how the car performs. And, if you are going to have many passengers or take heavy luggage with you frequently, practise driving under these same conditions to see if the car responds differently.
Dealing with the dealers
If you are not a natural or confident haggler, then get someone to go with you that is. When it comes to the final part of buying a car, negotiating the price can save you thousands, or net you some serious equipment, so it’s worth having a go. The first thing to do is make sure you know what your part-exchange car is worth and try to haggle up the price, but remember dealers will pay ‘trade’ prices, which will be less than you’ll get by selling privately. Go to the garage at the end of the month when sales staff are nearing their sales target. Always ask if there are any extras, whether its better music equipment, air con, even a tank of fuel, it all adds up. If you are buying the car on finance you’ll find that some dealers might be more willing to offer you discounts as they can offset the commission they’ll get from the finance provider against a discount or extra equipment. See if a newer version of the model you are buying is coming out soon, dealers will want to clear out their old stock quickly and you may get a bargain this way. Good luck!