It’s easy to be overawed by the process of buying a car, especially if you’re doing so for the first time. The market is varied and hugely competitive, and there’s no shortage of options around. But how can you be sure that you’re picking the right one, and that you’re not being hoodwinked by clever marketing and empty promises.
With the right approach, you’ll be able to minimise the chances of you running into problems. Let’s take a look at some smart tips for buying a car.
If you only look at one retailer, then you’re taking a big risk that there isn’t a better offer out there. Visit a few places, get a few quotes, and be prepared to travel to get the best possible deal. Make sure you find a dealer with a good reputation, but don’t pay over the odds. Certain locations will carry a premium, simply because the locals have deeper pockets. If you want a fair estimate of what your car is really worth, then you might use online resources before you even set foot in a dealership.
Don’t tell the dealer everything
The people selling you the car might give the impression that they’re looking out for your interests. But that’s secondary to their primary aim: namely getting the most possible money from you. Don’t tell them how much you have to spend, and don’t make the deal too complicated by seeking finance or discussing trade-ins when you’re making a purchase.
Consider every expense
It isn’t just the up-front cost of a vehicle that you need to be thinking about. Be sure that you’ve factored in tax, fuel economy, and depreciation over time. What appears to be a good deal might not be so attractive once you’ve gotten a complete idea of what it’ll cost in the long-term, relative to the alternatives.
If you’re going to be buying the car on finance, then think about how much interest you’re going to be paying over the duration of the entire loan. Longer-duration loans tend to come with higher rates of interest – and much of that interest is front-loaded into the first few years.
Check the History
If you’re buying a used car, then you’ll want a complete picture of its service history before you hand over your money. You can check the MOT history online with nothing but a registration number, but other documents you’ll need to ask for. A good seller will be able to provide these documents. If they can’t, you can usually take this as a red flag.