Buying a car is exciting, sometimes nerve-racking and comes with a whole heap of expectations that you may not have even thought of. Gone are the days when getting a new ride takes you through the used car pages alone. With finance more readily available and more accessibility to the dealership, knowing what car to go for has never been simpler.
Carantee analyses everything from checking the finer details on a used cars log to ensuring you get the best price are all factors to consider.
Not quite sure where to begin? Here are 10 things you need to know when buying a car:
1. Know your budget
Strangely enough, knowing what options are available to you ahead of purchasing a car is not only sensible, but it gives you a much better understanding of what you can reasonably afford.
Anything that is going to put you out of pocket before you sign on the dotted line is definitely not the right car for you. So, break down your budget:
- How much are you spending on living expenses? Food, utilities etc
- Consider fuel costs
- What are you currently paying for insurance?
- Or, if you are a new driver, check out a rough average of how much your insurance is likely to cost
- Road tax – are there any exemptions?
2. Research, research, research
Knowledge is power. Finding out as much as you can about any cars you are interested in, used or new, will give you the edge when it comes to buying.
So check out fuel consumption, any quirks that previous owners have experienced. Have a look at safety ratings and how much your preferred vehicle is likely to cost.
Then, you can see what fits in with your budget. If you are paying cash upfront, then you need to know that what you are investing in is worth the cost. As soon as you drive that car away from the previous owner, you are not protected. So if something goes wrong, you are stuck with that car.
3. Check out financing
Car financing is a massive industry that cannot be ignored. It opens up a whole world of opportunities and choice that a simple cash buy cannot achieve.
Some of the most startling benefits include:
- New vehicles have the highest safety ratings
- Low repayments that don’t break the bank
- Protection under warranty
- Less time at the garage
What’s more, car finance for adverse credit is more widely available these days. So even if you have no credit history or have had issues in the past, reputable lenders who place their customers at the heart of their brand are more open to giving you a chance. We’re all human, after all.
4. Dealerships aren’t scary
Car dealerships have one main goal: to sell cars. But, a reputable dealership will want you to have the best customer experience throughout the process.
Since the pandemic, most dealerships have taken their services off the forecourt and online. You can view different vehicles inside and out while checking out all the finer details and specs.
Plus, if you are stepping into a dealership, you are armed with all the research you need to find the best fit for you.
5. Test drives are a must
Try before you buy is a staple of purchasing a car. We strongly recommend that you book in a test drive before signing on the dotted line. That way, you can get a feel for how comfortable it is to drive, how it handles at speed and on corners, and you can listen out for any odd sounds.
If anything stands out or makes you feel uncomfortable, you are entitled to walk away.
6. Consider electric
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, there’s no escaping the rise of the electric vehicle (EV). With the UK government leading the way with their “Green Industrial Revolution” roadmap, things are changing rapidly.
Ever since April 2019, drivers travelling through most of Greater London have had to pay a levy if their vehicles do not meet the strict Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) requirements. So unless your car is Euro 5 (petrol), Euro 6 (diesel), hybrid or electric, you have to pay at least £12.50 per day to travel.
The initiative has been a triumph for the government and is considered a world-leading scheme that will soon be seen throughout places such as Bristol, Oxford and Glasgow.
Come 2030, all new sales of petrol and diesel vehicles are banned. So take note!
7. Know your expectations
Yes, the high octane Sportster might look like the perfect choice for your next set of wheels. But, have you thought about what you want from your car?
Do you need practical over stylish? Family-friendly and spacious?
Knowing what you need from your car is essential before making any purchase. With so many different trims, engine sizes, and models to choose from, eliminating your wants vs needs will ensure you get the best vehicle for your needs.
8. Add-ons aren’t necessary
Driving is simple. Purchasing is not always.
When you step into the dealership, they will want to sell you as much as they can. While you might be in it for the car of your dreams alone, they have a whole range of things such as gap insurance, tyre protection plans and extended warranties to add to your final bill. But, most of them aren’t necessary.
Often these add-ons are incredibly overpriced, and if you feel they are essential, you can look online to find a better deal after the fact.
9. Try to avoid longer loans
On the surface, longer loans look so attractive. Yes, a six or seven-year loan may cut your monthly outgoings, but the added interest means you end up paying so much more.
Seven-year loans often come with higher interests than your standard five-year loan. With it, the interest is front-loaded, so you end up paying more interest compared with a principal loan in the first few years. In short, it’s incredibly dangerous.
10. Used cars have a history
Buying a car on finance isn’t for everyone. You might have a family tradition, prefer older vehicles or simply enjoy the private sale experience. But bear in mind. Used cars always have a history.
Make sure you check all vehicle registration documents and service logs before parting with your cash. If there are any discrepancies in the information you are given, the seller is likely hiding something from you. So make sure you ask the right questions and know when to walk away if needed.
Whatever your next car looks like, make sure you are armed with all the information you need to make your buying experience as positive as possible!