Buying a new car. It’s often referred to as one of the biggest purchases of your life, after a house. It’s why getting your hands on a new motor can be riddled with stress and anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve picked out some of the crucial ways in which the buying process can be made easier, and what to look out for.
Research the car
It may seem trivial, but you need to research everything you can about the car you’re looking at. Knowledge is power when it comes to buying from a dealer, and making sure you know everything about a certain model can make all the difference when it comes to picking one up.
Don't be afraid to be choosy, either. Pick a colour, spec and engine and stick with that.
Choosing a dealer – franchise or independent
This is an important decision to make. Franchised dealers get first access to the latest cars and technology, and are therefore potentially better equipped at answering any questions you may have. In terms of servicing and repairs, they have the manufacturer’s support too. They’ll also have a good selection of used vehicles that will have been well maintained in the main dealer servicing department.
There is, of course, the option to buy from an independent dealer too. They might not have the ability to offer you different options of the model you’re looking at, but they will be keen to do a deal and will offer the back-up of a well-established business should things go wrong.
Check them out online
Once you’ve picked the dealer you fancy, look through their online reviews thoroughly. You’ll be able to easily see how well they treat their customers and also how good they are at dealing with servicing issues.
You can’t beat good old-fashioned word of mouth either – asking friends, neighbours and relatives about a potential dealership can be useful too.
Pick your purchase time
Believe it or not, you can get a better deal depending on when you buy. Dealers are often pressed to reach quarterly targets, which means the end of March, June, September and December could result in a better deal.
It’s a small tip, but one that could potentially see you saving thousands of pounds off a vehicle if the purchase is timed right.
Once you’ve seen a car you like then it’s time to get behind the wheel. The likelihood is that the salesperson will accompany you in the car, but don’t let that stop you from pressing all of the buttons and getting a real feel for the vehicle in general.
Ensure that your test route features a range of different corners, roundabouts and road surfaces – and most importantly, check the car works for you.
Cash or finance
There’s a variety of ways to pay at a dealer. They can offer hire purchase, which sees you paying a deposit and repaying the remaining balance over monthly instalments. At the end of the payment term, you’ll own it outright.
Another type of Car Finance is personal contract purchase, or PCP. Here, you’ll pay a deposit followed by monthly payments, but at the end you’ll be offered a ‘balloon’ when you can pay off the remainder of the car’s value or return it to the dealer.
Personal leasing is a good option if you’re planning on frequently changing your car, although you do have to usually stump up three months’ rental in advance, and there’s no option to buy it at the end of the deal. Or you could pay cash!
It’s an age-old process, but haggling remains just as crucial today as it’s always been. Even with used cars there’s always going to be a certain amount of wiggle room. You shouldn’t ever have to pay the full price for a car, and dealers are prepared for this. Go in strong and stick to your guns – it’s only the same as they’ll be doing.
Remember, if you don’t ask you don’t get, so don’t be afraid to ask for free additions and discounts on servicing plans. The worst they can do is say no!
Don’t be scared of walking away
Remember, there are thousands of cars available on the market and hundreds of dealerships too. There is always another car, so don’t be scared to walk away if things don’t feel right. Don’t be pressured into any deal either – the final decision is entirely yours, and if you don’t like the way things are heading, walk straight out of those doors!