Some simple tips to follow when buying any car:
Make sure you can drive the model you are interested in or at least one with the same engine.
Make sure you have printed the description and picture of any cars you have researched on the internet to ensure that the specification of the car matches what is actually on it.
Make sure that the price you have seen it advertised at is the same as the sticker price.
Do not let the salesperson engage you in distracting conversation whilst you are examining the car.
If it’s a used car, ask to see all paperwork, including service history registration documents and MOT if appropriate.
Take a look at the car data check (this will almost certainly show that the car is as it should be but always check).
Ensure that you check the tyres for plenty of tread, remember the MOT limit is 1.6mm but on some cars that may only allow you to do a few thousand miles before they become illegal, so you will need
at least 3.5mm.
Check that the gaps between the door shuts boot and bonnet are all even and not out of alignment, and that all the carpets and headlining are in the condition you would expect for a car of that age and price.
Ask to have the warranty explained and ask for details of what is and isn?t covered, it is not enough for the sales person to tell you it?s ‘all component’ like most policies there will be small print so find out what the exclusions are first.
Make sure everything works, the car is test driven in the conditions you would normally use it for and that it is comfortable, also that if anyone else will be having extended use that they can drive it too.
If there is anything on the car which needs to be rectified or repaired make sure it is recorded on any order form before signing as it will avoid any “confusion” when you come to collect.
Make sure that anything which is agreed as part of the deal like mats or a phone kit or upgraded alloys etc are also included on the order form.
Set a figure which you will be happy to pay and work to have as much as you can included in that figure, and if the salesperson wants to concentrate on a monthly payment which includes add ons like
GAP insurance, paintwork protection, payment protection, alloy and tyre insurance always ask how that is broken down and what each policy costs outright.
Ask what the flat rate of interest the finance is and work the figures back to give you an accurate real figure of what you are paying. For example if you borrow £10,000 over 3 years on hire purchase at 5% flat that will cost you £319.50 therefore £319.50 x 36months = £11500 meaning the cost to borrow is £1,500 or £41.66 per month in interest. With PCP deals this is obviously a lot more complicated to work out but you can ask what the actual cost over the term of the deal is and work it back against your payment. Remember if in doubt don?t buy the car!
Make sure you know all the fuel consumption figures and don?t let a salesperson close you unless the deal is right for you, and be prepared to walk away if it isn?t.
Never get too excited. If you start saying things like “this is exactly what I want” or “I have been looking for this exact car for ages” you will just minimise the chances of getting a better deal because
the car salesperson will know you are hooked. However if the car actually is a rarity and you have been looking for a long time be prepared to pay the money to get exactly what you want.
Make sure you find out who is in charge of the showroom and make a note of their name.
When collecting the car check it thoroughly before even going through the paperwork or handing over any money.
Looking for more?
Residual values – Let’s talk about the dreaded “D” word
The car sales process and the “9 point plan”
The Motor Trade Insider Guide To Buying New Cars
The Motor Trade Insider Car Buying Crib Sheet