Surprisingly, given the proximity to Christmas, January is a popular month for people looking to buy a car. Car makers often announce the release of new models in January, possibly to allow potential customers to place their pre-orders in time for the March registration plates. This in turn means that older models may well become cheaper in price, encouraging people to look at both new cars and used cars.
Buying a car can be an exciting adventure but there are a number of things to be aware of before you get started. At The Insurance Emporium, we want to help you to navigate life’s roundabouts and that’s why we’ve put together this handy checklist of tips for buying a car. We want you to be able to hit the road without the wheels coming off!
Look for a car that works for you and your budget
It’s easy to be dazzled by some shiny paintwork and the latest gadgets but do you really need a new car? It is well known that new cars can depreciate, sometimes dramatically, in value. On average a new car could lose almost half of its value in the first three years. With this in mind, it may be worth looking at a relatively new used car rather than a brand new one. Plan out your budget well in advance, so that you know what you can afford. After that, look at the make and model you want but within the limitations of your pre-planned budget.
Do your research
Be realistic. Pick a car that suits your needs not one that strokes your ego. If you are only undertaking city commutes then a two litre diesel estate won’t be necessary. Think about what you will use the car for, fuel efficiency and the wear and tear it might be subject to. Compare similar models of cars to see which type might be better suited for you. When it comes to where you buy your vehicle from; be sensible. You might be able to get the car you want cheaper going through a private seller but you forfeit any potential warranty and service that dealerships can offer. Internet reviews often give a good indicator of the reputation and service that a dealership can deliver.
Get a feel for the car
A trip to a car dealership can sometimes be a daunting one. There is so much that the regular person doesn’t know about cars that, when faced with knowledgeable salesmen, they feel confused and intimidated. If you find the right car at the right price, it might be tempting to make an offer there and then. However, every car is different and you might only notice this when you drive it. Even if it is the same make, model, engine size and year of registration, it might still drive differently. Don’t be afraid to ask for a test drive, or more than one test drive if necessary. You should only pay money for a vehicle you feel comfortable driving.
Make the most of your old car
A lot of dealerships will immediately offer you a part-exchange price for your current vehicle if you express interest in buying a car from them. Part-exchange does have its benefits; it makes the whole process a lot easier and you are unlikely to have an angry private buyer banging on your door six months down the line because the stereo won’t tune to the classic rock station! But the simple fact of the matter is that the dealership will only offer you a trade price and this might not even be a fair trade price. You will almost certainly get more for your car if you sell privately so, if you have the time, it is worthwhile listing it on one of the reputable online auction sites.
The devil is in the detail
Make a list of small, but important things, to look out for when buying a used car. As well as the obvious, mileage and service history, there are a number of small giveaways that can be helpful when determining if the car is right for you.
- Check that the handbrake and gears work properly.
- Have a look and see if the gap around the edge of the doors is even all the way around. If the car has had a bad prang, the chassis can twist and an uneven gap might be an indicator of this.
- Make sure the tyre tread is good. Four new tyres could set you back a bit!
- Look out for white powdery residue in the radiator cap, this could indicate problems with the head gasket.
- If the clutch pedal is excessively worn, it could be a sign of high mileage. Does that tally with the miles on the car?
- Have a look for rust under the wheel arches and sills.
Once you find the perfect car for you, you’ll want to start your newest adventure on the road in a safe and sensible manner. Make sure the car is road-ready and look for the right kind of car insurance to suit your needs.
At The Insurance Emporium, we offer three types of insurance with up to 70% No Claims Discount. Drop by today and find out if we could make your motoring magical!
The Insurance Emporium car insurance is provided by Insurance Factory Limited. Insurance Factory Limited are an insurance intermediary and not an insurer.
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