Car Buyers Guide

Car Buyers Guide

Buying a car can be a big decision and in order to make the right choice, research and preparation are key. Which model is right for you? What is your budget? How reliable is your future car?

These questions and more are important to consider before making a final decision. In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the most important aspects of car buying and how to navigate the car buyers market.

New Or Used Car

The first question facing many car buyers is whether to choose a new or used car. While each choice comes with benefits and drawbacks, the deciding factor may rest primarily on your available budget. Lets explore some of the other considerations.

New Cars

New cars, as well as nearly new cars, offer the buyer peace of mind when it comes to their vehicle history. A car history check can highlight whether a vehicle has previously been scrapped, stolen or has any outstanding finance. New cars are also accompanied by a manufacturers warranty, protecting the buyer financially in the event something goes wrong.

Finally, as automotive technology continues to advance, so do cars being released each year. Expect to see more advanced features in a new car including fuel efficiency, safety tech, driver assistance systems and more when browsing the new car market.

While the prospect of purchasing a brand new car is exciting, it can be a potentially substantial investment. Insurance for newer vehicles is also a consideration as insurers may view the cost of a brand new car as more expensive to replace. Finally, depending on the vehicle make, model and usage, a new car can suffer depreciation during the first 1-5 years. This means that the value can fall in the short term, leaving owners fewer options should they wish to sell their car in the future.

Used Cars

Like new vehicles, there are also several areas you need to consider when buying a used car. The immediate advantage is that used cars typically go for a much lower price point, as well as having a much larger variety available to choose from. Vehicles older than 3 – 4 years can also benefit from less depreciation depending on the make and model. Overall, the lending amount required for a used car is typically much lower, allowing car buyers the chance to pay off their cars quickly.

While used cars can be substantially more affordable, they can also come with a number of potential risks. Used car warranty is important and regularly offered by car dealerships, private sellers on the other hand might not be able to offer this. Vehicle reliability is also a crucial factor as older cars could potentially mean more frequent problems and repair costs. Navigating the used car market is done easier with the help of a car history checker which can identify any previous vehicle issues.

Which Car Is Right For you?

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 further?

Do you regularly travel by car with pets?

Perhaps a larger vehicle might suit your needs better?

Questions like these are important to consider before buying a car using finance as owners are contracted to settle their agreements before making a new car purchase. 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. However, it’s important to remember that all vehicles will require regular car maintenance.

Costs Associated With Running A Car

Vehicle ownership costs can be categorised into two areas which include running costs and standing charges.

Running costs cover the optional investments into a vehicle based on usage and can include fuel, breakdown cover, parking charges, services, repairs and replacement parts.

Standing charges are the costs of owning a car regardless of whether you drive the vehicle or not. These include car insurance, car tax, yearly mot checks and any financial or leasing agreements agreed with the vehicle seller.

Running Costs

Fuel – A cost to consider as this can soon add up if your new car has lower fuel efficiency or if you travel a lot of miles. There will be helpful information available from the manufacturer on how many miles to the gallon you can get out of a car.

Breakdown Cover – Whilst this is not a mandatory vehicle cover policy, it is highly recommended. Available in a number of 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

Car Insurance – Make sure you get multiple car insurance quotes for the type of vehicle you are looking to buy before purchasing your car. This way you will have a rough idea how much you will be paying, and it won’t be a shock when you come to take out an insurance policy. A lot of finance companies will require you to take out fully comprehensive insurance so bear this in mind when looking at quotes and budgeting. Young drivers may also have a higher insurance premium.

Tax – The road tax you pay each year is based on your car’s CO2 emissions. Cars with levels below 100g/km pay no tax. Do your research before you buy so you can factor this in for budgeting.

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 in order to determine the vehicle’s safety and emissions among other checks.

The Car Buying Process

As a car buyer, you should always remain in control of your decisions. Even as the vehicle market continues to grow, many buyers rush into agreements and contracts with vehicles they may not be fully satisfied with. Doing a bit of research and planning before visiting a dealers forecourt can ensure you are going into a vehicle purchase with confidence.

Where To Buy A Car

Make sure you purchase your vehicle from a reputable garage. Look at customer reviews on sites such as Google or Trustpilot. This is a good way for you to get an understanding of how you are likely to be treated. Pay attention to any reviews relating to the after sales process, just in case you have issues with the vehicle.

The Test Drive

Before making any decisions, ensure you carry out a test drive of the car you are interested in and not just a similar model. By test driving the actual car you may be able to uncover any hidden issues as well as allow you to closely inspect the car for damage or missing parts. It s always better to bring problems up at the presale stage as once you have purchased a vehicle, the dealer may be less likely to help.

Negotiating Car Price

Getting a great deal is at the core of every car buyers journey. With so many vehicle makes and models available, it can 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

Financing Your New Car

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, 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.

Taking Care Of Your Car

In order to maintain your car and ensure it continues looking its best, regular car care will be required. Outside of consisted MOT checks and servicing, drivers can do a lot to keep their vehicle running smoothly.

Tyres – Arguably one of the most important safety features found on any vehicle, car tyres require constant checking and observation. Key areas to be aware of with car tyres include checking they are inflated to the correct pressure for the time of year and vehicle type. As well as this, tyre treads must legally have minimum a depth of 3mm. Any damage to the overall structure of a car tyre must be addressed as well.

Vehicle Fluids – Excluding fuel, cars require a variety of fluids in order to run efficiently which can include oil, coolant, brake fluid, screenwash and more. Each of these fluids has its own reservoir found typically within the engine bay and should clearly highlight the optimal level at which they need to be filled.

Car Cleaning – Not only does a clean car feel better to drive, but it can also greatly increase the lifespan of a vehicle. Leaves that build up in the engine bay or grit that corrodes paint and important components all have an impact on vehicles in the long run. Luckily there are a wide variety of car care products and detailing tools available to keep your car looking its best.

Car Battery – While high-quality batteries boast a long service life, they can still lose their charge and go flat if not used regularly, particularly in colder months. Consider turning your air con and the radio before switching off the ignition as these devices can go into standby mode and still draw power when the engine is off.

Driving Style – Everyone’s approach to driving is different but all cars require the same level of responsibility and attention. Depending on driving style, a driver could put more strain on their engine and tyres simply by breaking harshly or frequently fast acceleration. Not allowing time for a car to warm up can also have an impact on the longevity of an engine.

Selling Your Car

It may not be top of your list now when looking at factors for choosing your car but eventually, you will be looking to sell or part exchange. Maybe in 3 years or maybe in 10 years, but you should factor this in, especially if you like to change your car every 3 years.

Do your research on depreciation. Depreciation is the reduction in value of your car over time, due in particular, to wear and tear. Some cars depreciate faster than others so make sure if you have a make and model in mind that you are aware of its deprecation rate.

The colour of a car can affect its price and selling power. The usual popular colours such as black, silver and white tend to hold value more. Unique colours like pink or orange may have less demand and could take a lot longer to find a new owner.

Keep it clean. Prospective buyers are more likely to give you what you are asking for if they can see the car has been looked after. Keep up the maintenance, full service history is key to providing comfort to a potential buyer that you have looked after the vehicle.