Alongside buying a house, for most people, buying a car is the second-biggest purchase they’ll make in their lives. However, buying the right vehicle isn’t just important from a financial perspective. These days, a car is an integral part of family life making everything from the school run to shopping trips and weekend getaways possible.
Many people agonise over the idea of buying a new car, but by following just a few simple guides and asking yourself the right questions, you should quickly reach a decision about which vehicle is right for you and, if applicable, your loved ones.
Consider the difference between what you need and what you want
By nature, life is in a constant state of flux and when you next come to buy a car, it’s quite likely the type of car you actually need could be considerably different to the one you want. Try to think practically about how you’re going to use the car – and, perhaps more importantly – who’s going to use it.
For example, while performance sports models look great, you’ll probably think twice about that compromise when you’re on a long trip as a family of four. Try to picture the most common uses you’ll have for the car and choose appropriately – not just for you but for everyone else who is likely to use the vehicle.
Make an accurate assessment of what you can afford to spend
There’s little point looking at brands or models that you simply can’t afford, so decide on a maximum and minimum figure and start searching within those levels. While most dealerships offer financing, you will save money if you can buy up-front – plus remove the chances of running into potential financial complications later. Remember to always factor in your other day-to-day expenses – and also be sure to bear in mind the basic costs of running a car (fuel, servicing, tax, insurance and depreciation).
Do the research and compile a shortlist of suitable vehicles
Once you have a better idea of how you’re going to use the car – and what you can truly afford – you’ll be in a much better position to start drawing up a shortlist of suitable vehicles. Leading us nicely on to the next point ...
Do a thorough search online
The Internet has completely transformed the car-buying landscape and purchasers are no longer limited to just local car showrooms. Take some time to look online to compare dealership prices and special deals (for both new and used cars). You’ll often be surprised by the prices you can find searching a little further from home. For example, MG dealer Autobase, often feature special online offers and deals on new and used cars, which can end up massively cheaper than buying from your closest car salesrooms.
Where possible, take the car for a test drive
Despite the fact the recent Coronavirus pandemic has made social distancing a necessity, you should still test drive a car whenever possible to get a true idea of its handling, speed, acceleration and ride comfort. Simply sitting in a car in a showroom will not enable you to form an accurate impression of how the car reacts in real life, on the road.
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© Carol Trehearn 2020