Buying a new car comes with its own set of complications. You want to make sure you get the best car for you without breaking the bank. All while making sure you don’t make any hard and fast decisions that could cost you later down the line.
We’ve put together the ultimate checklist so that you have everything you need to know before driving away in your dream motor. From doing your research to asking the right questions at the dealership to purchase, we’ve got you covered:
Checklist for Buying a New Car
1. Work out a budget
Before you go anywhere near a dealership, make sure you know how much you can reasonably afford to spend. Whether that is an outright cash payment or via finance, sticking to a budget will ensure you don’t overspend.
- Running costs, such as insurance, fuel/electricity, servicing and more
- Find out what the trade-in value of your current car is ahead of time
- Work out what your top limit is and stick to it
Go a step further and research car insurance quotes for your preferred vehicle. While you’re there, check out how much you can expect to pay in road tax, fuel economy, and average annual mileage.
2. Consider car finance
The reality is that over 86% of new cars and 55% of used vehicles are bought with finance every year, And it makes sense. With the cost of living at an all-time high and numerous other shortages worldwide, buying a car without any financial snags will benefit more than just your bank account.
Car finance makes buying a new or used vehicle more affordable. You don’t have to scrape around for funds or wait years before you have saved enough. Instead, a lender will take the hit for you. After, you pay them back in low monthly instalments over a few years.
3. Research different car models
If you already have a vehicle in mind, it’s worth researching all the available variants:
- Check and compare prices vs specifications for similar cars and variants
- Find out what fuel options and engine sizes are available
- What technology and additional safety features are included?
- Read expert and customer reviews
Not sure what car to go for? Think about what you want from your new motor. Is it to make commuting more economical? Or are you growing your family? Are you planning longer trips?
4. Have a walk around the forecourt
Before you make any appointments, walk around the dealership forecourt and see what’s there in person. You’ll quickly know if you like the look of something.
5. Book an appointment with the dealer
Rocking up at the dealership and just walking in is almost a thing of the past. You should book an appointment with the dealer before you visit, because it may take time due to a shortage of staff.
6. Be prepared
Before leaving for your appointment, make sure you are fully prepared and armed with the information you need.
- If you’re planning on trading in your current car, make sure you bring all the necessary information
- Seen an advert for a particular car? Bring a copy
- Bring any research with you, so you have something to refer to
- Ask about the different variants on offer: model types, trims and upgrades
- Establish what features come as standard – are there extras?
- Manufacturer warranty: what does it cover, and how long is it? Are additional warranties available?
Lastly, make sure you ask about added add-ons such as service and recovery.
7. Questions to ask the dealer
It’s the dealer’s job to know everything about the cars they’re selling. So ask them all the nitty-gritty questions!
- What car and/or variant is best suited to my needs?
- What’s the best price you can offer? Have your maximum budget in mind, and don’t be pushed!
- Can I trade my current car?
- What’s included in the warranty? What else is included in the price?
For used car sales:
- Does the car have a full-service history? MOT? Plus, when is the next one due?
- What checks have the dealership carried out?
- Is a warranty available?
- What is the current mileage?
- How many owners has the car had?
- Any accidents? Modifications?
Whatever aged vehicle you’re interested in, ask to see all the relevant paperwork so you can make sure everything adds up and is in order.
8. Ask for a test drive
Taking the car out for a spin is a must! You’ll instantly find out if this is the one for you. From how comfortable you feel behind the wheel to how well the car handles on the road are all factors for you to consider.
- Drive along with different types of roads
- Listen to the engine
- If you notice any unfriendly smells, rattles or spot coloured smoke – speak to the dealer
- How well do the brakes work?
- Ask to test drive similar vehicles or variants to find the best match for you
If the dealer is hesitant or refuses to let you have a test drive, that is the biggest red flag to watch out for. Walking away is your right. So if anything makes you feel uncomfortable or this simply isn’t the car for you, walk away, and consider a different dealer or motor.
9. Terms and conditions
Before you sign any agreements, make sure you read all paperwork thoroughly. If applicable, know what’s included in the total amount, such as deposit, interest rates, fees and charges, and contract length.
Agree on any deposit amounts, when you should expect the car to be delivered or collected, and if there are any service plans for you to consider.
10. Don’t forget insurance
You’ve got the car. Now make sure it is insured for you to legally drive it, and cancel or transfer any outstanding agreements.
Make sure you keep all of your paperwork and receipts. Feel free to call the dealer if you have any queries.
Now, enjoy! Once you’ve got through the whole buying process, purchasing a new car is a great feeling. Are you ready to buckle up and take your new motor for a spin?