Car Buyers Guide

Car Buyers Guide

For many people, buying a car can be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal, particularly for those who are new to the process or don’t know what they want. With increasing vehicle prices and shortages of used cars across the market, buying a car in 2022 can appear to be difficult for many prospective buyers.

However, with research and a clear idea of your needs, car buying can still be an exciting and rewarding process. Here at Go Car Credit, not only do we help drivers with bad credit car finance but we also provide customers with honest vehicle advice, ensuring you get the right car.

In this guide we’ll cover:

Before Buying A Car

As a car buyer, you should always remain in control of your decisions. Even as the vehicle market continues to change in 2022, many buyers rush into agreements and contracts with vehicles that don’t meet their needs or fully satisfy their expectations. Doing a bit of research and planning before visiting a dealer’s forecourt can ensure you are going into a vehicle purchase with confidence.

Budget And Funding

Thinking about your budget before you start looking at new cars is the best thing you could do. Start searching for a new vehicle without having a budget in mind could lead to making a purchase that is not sustainable long term. It’s not just the monthly payments of the car itself that you should take into consideration, there are many more associated costs that could impact your budget. We would advise that you also think about insurance, servicing, maintenance and tax as well as depreciation.

We would recommend using a budget calculator tool such as Money Helper. This helpful tool can tell you how much a particular car costs in fuel, servicing, maintenance, tax, insurance and depreciation. All you need is the car registration number.

How are you funding your new car?

Understanding which option is right for you can be tricky. It is best to approach buying a car with a set budget in mind, that way you can make the most appropriate choice when it comes to funding your vehicle purchase. From Hire Purchase finance, PCP finance, Leasing, using your own cash or getting a personal loan there are many options to choose from. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of each option when it comes to financing to see if it fits in with your requirements.


Making the right decision when car shopping can seem difficult due to so many choices and considerations. A good place to start the process is to consider what the car will be used for.

  • Are you looking to expand your family in the near future?
  • Will a new job require you to commute more regularly?
  • Do you travel by car with pets?
  • Are fuel efficiency and reliability most important?
  • Can’t afford a new car? Consider buying a used car

Whether it’s a family saloon with a large boot space or a sports car with the latest driver tech, understanding how you’ll use your vehicle for the foreseeable future will help you make the right car purchase. Consider what you believe your life will look like over the next 3 years to make sure your car reflects this and is a suitable choice.

Research The Current Car Market

When purchasing a new car it’s always a good idea to check that you are paying the right amount. There are a number of free valuation tools you can use including Parkers car valuation platform. If you are purchasing the car on finance, then your finance provider will review the value of the car to make sure you are not paying too much.

Another avenue of research you could do is consider car trends and reviews over the last 12 months. For example, is there a popular make and model that is holding on to its value more than other makes and models in their category?

Auto Trader has tones of information on used car values and guide processes. Check their Retail Price Index for more information that may be useful to you when looking into vehicle valuations.

Where To Buy A Car From

Once you’ve found the right car, the next step is to find a garage or car retailer that meets your expectations. Reputable garages can be found nationwide but it’s always worth paying attention to who you may be buying from before making any decisions.

Looking at customer reviews on sites such as Google or Trustpilot can offer a great insight into how a garage treats its customers. As well as this, consider the general quality of other vehicles sold by the same seller to make sure you are getting a good value car. Finally, pay attention to any recognizable automotive organizations they may be part of which may indicate an endorsement of their customer service and aftercare.

Initial research will also save you time by highlighting what to bring to a dealership when buying a car.


Calculating Car Ownership Costs

When considering the upfront cost of buying a car, it can be easy to forget about the ongoing costs of car ownership. The associated costs of running a car can be broken down into two areas which include running costs and standing charges, all of which are important factors when adding up the overall cost of buying a car.

Running costs (Day to day vehicle costs) can include:

  • Fuel – Fuel-efficient vehicles will have less of an impact on your running costs, particularly over the course of ownership. Consider the manufacturer’s information on the make and model of your car before making a decision.
  • Breakdown cover – Whilst this is not a mandatory vehicle cover policy, it is highly recommended. Available in several options, breakdown cover offers drivers peace of mind when driving.
  • Vehicle servicing – Although not legally required, it is advised to service your vehicle each year as this can help ensure it remains efficient and identify any problems early on. Typically a car service will include checks around the engine oil system, battery, breaks, steering, suspension and more.

Standing charges (legal requirements of car ownership) include:

  • Car insurance – Depending on your choice of car as well as your personal circumstances, vehicle insurance can widely vary.
  • Tax – The vehicle road tax you pay each year is based on your car’s CO2 emissions. Cars with levels below 100g/km pay no tax.
  • Vehicle MOT – New vehicles younger than 3 years are under no legal obligation to have a roadworthiness test carried out. However, cars older than this are required by law to have a yearly MOT test to determine the vehicle’s safety and emissions among other checks.

Car Inspection And Testing

Whether you are buying a new or used car, a thorough inspection and test drive are crucial stages of the car buying process. It is at this stage you can highlight any potential problems to the vehicle seller and make an informed decision on the car you intend to buy.

The Car Inspection

Once you’ve found a car that ticks all the boxes, it should be your first priority to carry out a car inspection. Like with any high-value purchase, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality product and vehicles are no different.

The inspection itself should look at all aspects of the car, both exterior and interior, including the engine bay and undercarriage. Note that inspections for used cars should more thorough in case there are any hidden problems.

Unsure what you’re looking for? Take a look at our guide on What to look for when inspecting a used car for more information.

The Car Test Drive

Once you are satisfied with the vehicle inspection, it’s time to get in the car and test drive, making sure to test the actual car you intend to buy and not a similar model. Car test drives not only offer you the chance to further inspect the interior of the car and its performance, but they also give you an opportunity to determine whether it’s the right fit for you. Once the test drive is over you should have a clear idea of whether to move forward with the car purchase or continue vehicle shopping.

Vehicle History

An important part of the car buying process is to make sure you check the vehicle history and ensure there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle, it hasn’t been written off or reported as stolen, there are no mileage discrepancies, and the number of previous owners is accurate.

You can get an instant car history check with the AA Car Check Platform which provides vital information about the history of the vehicle you are thinking of purchasing. There is a charge for this of £14.99. If you are going to purchase your vehicle via car finance, then the finance provider would do this check for you so no need for you to do another one and pay the fee.

We Buy Any Car also offers a free car check that will provide you with basic details of vehicle information and MOT history.

Additional Questions To Ask About Your Car Purchase

  • What is the car’s current mileage?
  • How many previous owners does the car have?
  • Is the car imported or modified in any way?
  • Does the car have a full-service history?
  • What checks have the dealership conducted on the car?
  • Are there any collisions or accidents in the vehicle’s history?
  • How long has the seller had the car?
  • Are there any unique features I should know about?

The Buying Process

Now that you have a car lined up and are ready to consider buying, it’s important to first reflect on some initial buyer considerations.

Does the car meet your expectations and needs? Is the car within your set budget? Have any problems occurred during the car inspection or test? Are you able to get a recommended second opinion?

If all of the above checks out, it’s time to start talking numbers with the seller.


Negotiating The Price

Getting a great deal is at the core of every car buyer’s journey but it can sometimes be overwhelming where to start with haggling. In order to execute a negotiation with car sales executives, you will first need to do your homework. The steps below outline how to approach a car price negotiation.

  • Know which make and model of vehicle you are interested in
  • Set out and stick to a clear budget
  • Shop around
  • Research the current recommended price of the car
  • Thoroughly inspect the vehicle or consider using a car history checker
  • Offer a reasonable counter-offer if the price is above what is recommended
  • Don’t lose sight of the vehicle you want (dealers may offer a ‘better’ alternative)
  • Be aware of unnecessary extras or inquire about freebies
  • Always be polite and don’t rush the conversation
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away

Getting the right price for your new car not only means you’ll potentially save money but could also help avoid any vehicle depreciation during the course of your ownership.


Looking to purchase a new car and unsure of the documents you may need to bring with you? There is actually very little paperwork required to buy a car these days but there are a few documents you won’t want to be without when walking through the dealership’s door.

Driving license is the most important one. This will enable you to prove you can legally drive the car home and will be used as a form of identification.

You may be required to show a copy of your insurance policy. If you are purchasing the car using finance, they may want to make sure you have taken out a fully comprehensive cover policy as it may be part of your agreement conditions.

If you are purchasing the vehicle on finance, then the finance provider may also want you to provide proof of income in the form of wage slips or bank statements to ensure that you can afford the monthly payments.

The dealership should provide you with paperwork for buying a used car. This may include the logbook and will prove that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. Make sure that the V5C form provided to you by the seller has a ‘DVL’ watermark. This could also be referred to as ownership of car document.

Service history car documents and the vehicles handbook. Check that the service book contains all the information related to the date, name and address of the garages, miles covered when the car was serviced, and the work done and its cost. It should also be stamped by the garage that conducted the work.

Make sure the dealership provides you with a proof of purchase car papers. The receipt should include full details such as name and address, date of purchase, the vehicle’s specifications (including its registration number and mileage, as well as the basics such as vehicle make and model), and confirmation that the dealership has received the money for the car.

Driving Away Your New Car

Now that you have your car, payment has been made and all documentation is correct, you’re finally ready to hit the road. But before you leave the forecourt, you’ll first need to ensure all legal requirements and standing charges are up to date. This includes car insurance, road tax and a valid MOT for your new car.

While some dealers may offer services such as drive-away insurance, it’s always best to check your vehicle is fully covered to drive on roads legally. At this point, it’s also worth doing one last vehicle check as the seller may be unable to help once you’ve driven away.

Looking to sell your car? Why not take a look at our tips for selling your used car or find more information on our car buying and selling section for more advice?