Buying a new car is both exciting and daunting at the same time, unless you’re a car expert and a genius at negotiations. If you are neither of these and are feeling apprehensive about looking or approaching a dealership, fearing that you’ll choose the wrong car, or miss out on a great deal because you simply don’t know what’s what, then help is at hand. This guide will tell you how to go about buying a car, successfully.
Try before you buy
Going for a test drive is vital – you may like the look of the car you’re after but if you realise that you hate driving it only after you’ve signed on the dotted line, then you’ve either got to sell it quickly or lump it for a couple of years. Take a test drive (or two) before you decide to part ways with your cash.
Don’t buy privately
Dealers sell cars because that’s how they make money. Private sellers sell cars because they don’t want them anymore. Of course there are thousands of people selling their old car for perfectly genuine reasons, but the fact is that an individual can be held less accountable than a business. Dealerships will also offer a guarantee period and even with older cars you may get a service or MOT thrown in. Your purchase will be covered under the Sales of Goods Act 1979, so it’s worth buying from a commercial seller.
Buy at the right time
A little insider knowledge here – at the end of the month salespeople may be worrying about hitting their targets and as a result of this, you may get a cracking deal. They may also have some ‘extras’ that they have to give away, so you may find yourself with a bargain on your hands. Motors.co.uk have recently released videos where experts on car buying reveal how it all works, and when the best time to buy is. The videos include advice from Jonathan Allbones from the Car People, who explains that “the best time to buy a used car is right at the end of the year. That’s when the used car market is at its smallest because we’re all spending money on Christmas and things like that. Equally, you’ve got a lot of cars that have come off fleets, as well as part exchanges that came into the market in September and October and are still unsold. You have a lot of cars in the market and very few customers, so prices are at their lowest.”
Check the history
Thankfully, the internet has made it easier to find out about your vehicle’s history. For a free there are websites like totalcarcheck.co.uk which will tell you whether a vehicle has been in a serious accident or reported stolen, but at least you will know if the car has been involved in a crime or has had major repair work done. The government an online MOT history check service which will provide details of any previous failure items, but it’s for free. Also it’s worth browsing a few online marketplaces that offer free car history checks for the cars they advertise.
Take your time choosing and buying a car; research thoroughly, read reviews and take multiple test drives. A car is a major expense, so it’s important that you get it right. Remember that you have the choice of whether to buy or not – don’t go through with a sale just because you don’t want to mess the seller around – at the end of the day, you have to do the right thing for you.