Taking the plunge and investing in a new car is a daunting prospect to many. In this article we offer some helpful tips and advice to help make the process go smoothly.
Set a realistic budget
Just because you have 5000 in the bank, you do not have a budget of 5000 to spend on a car. You need to keep some cash back for any repair costs or services that are needed and for car insurance and general running costs.
Don’t just buy the first car you view. The used car market offers many bargains but sometimes they can be difficult to track down and you should be prepared to test drive quite a few cars before deciding on one. If you can, take a car expert with you when viewing.
Buying through a car dealer
Buying through a dealer presents less risk to you than buying privately or at auction. Try to buy through a long-established company and preferably one that has been recommended to you. Ideally, a dealer’s cars will have been RAC or AA inspected. Many larger dealer chains have their own inspection and rating scheme. For the added peace of mind, you will probably end up paying a little more than your car valuation guide suggested.
Buying from a private seller
This is usually cheaper than buying from a dealer but holds more risk. A car being sold privately could be stolen or could be being used as security for credit. When buying privately, you also have fewer legal rights but you can sue an individual should they mislead you.
Buying at auction
Auctions hold some of the best car bargains around but it is best to suss out how they work before taking the plunge. If you can, go to a few auctions before you go to buy, just to have a look and work it all out. Often, cars at auctions are ‘sold as seen’ which reduces your consumer rights. Always read the auctioneer’s terms and conditions from start to finish. If possible, take a qualified mechanic with you to give the car a once over. Once bidding starts, be sure to stick to your budget and not get carried away. If the bidding goes too high, just walk away, there will be plenty of other opportunities to grab a bargain.
General tips for viewing used cars
Always go to see the car in daylight and never skip the all-important test drive. Never buy accident-damaged cars. Thoroughly check all of the vehicle inside and out and under the bonnet. On a test drive check the brakes are smooth and sharp and listen out for any clunks and rattles. If the car was built over three years ago it should have an up-to-date MOT certificate. Also ensure that the service history you are shown matches the details on the registration document. Always consult a car valuation guide to make sure you don’t pay over the odds.
This guest blog was written by Wilson, a motoring journalist with more than thirty years of experience in the motor trade. He advises several businesses on motoring matters and authors a popular automotive blog including a car valuation guide.