How do you buy the right car? This is something I get asked a lot, mostly by people who are unfamiliar with the buying process or don't buy very often. So here are some of my top tips on how to make an easier decision.
Do Your Homework
It’s vital to do your research. Firstly, make yourself a shortlist of potential cars based on your wants and needs, and know the difference between these. Do you need boot space? Do you need 7 seats? Do you need an economical engine? Do you want lots of gadgets and gizmos? Do you want big wheels? Think about the needs first, then build in some wants to help you enjoy your car more. This will help you form a shortlist of cars, and prevent you buying something completely unsuitable for your needs. Have a budget in mind and try to stick to it, but don't be afraid to stretch it just a little if you find the right car. And have a choice of cars, don't pin all your hopes on one car.
Check Out Reviews
With a rough idea of the car you want, spend some time on review sites such as Parkers, to see what real owners think of theirs. There's no point buying something that owners are saying is uncomfortable or unreliable, because you'll probably feel the same way. Then check out the dealers with your shortlisted cars in stock on a site such as TrustPilot. Reviews are a great way of finding out how a dealer treats their customers.
Take a Test Drive
Always test drive your prospective purchase before you sign on the dotted line. There's nothing worse than proudly driving your new car off the forecourt, only to realise that it's not quite right, or the driver's seat is a little uncomfortable. You can only get a good feel for the car after a good drive. Take it on a range of roads, including poor road surfaces to see how it copes, and replicate your commute to work so you can see how it drives day to day. Bring the family if you want to see if everyone fits, and if you're hoping to park it in the garage, take it home to make sure it fits through the door! Don't forget to take along your driving licence too, because you'll probably be asked for it before you can have a test drive.
Do the Sums
Buying a car isn't just about making a rash decision. There is a lot to consider, including the cost of car tax, insuring the car, fuel consumption and servicing costs. Think about how you'd like to pay for your car, is it going to be a cash purchase or do you want to finance it? Even if you thought you wanted to pay cash, sometimes it can make better financial sense to keep your money in your savings account for other things, and finance the car. There are a range of finance schemes available including Hire Purchase (known as HP, pay an equal amount each month and own the car at the end), or Personal Contract Plan (known as a PCP, pay a smaller monthly payment and leave some to the end). Get some quotes and see what fits your budget best. Dealers will have qualified and helpful staff on hand to go through it with you, so don't worry about being blinded by figures!
Lastly and most importantly, don't forget to have fun and enjoy the buying process, because you get a shiny new car at the end of it!
Here at Thame Cars we're proud to stock a selection of popular, well-specified models, aged up to three years old with less than 35,000 miles on the clock. Each one is carefully prepared and supplied in as-new condition, giving our customers peace of mind. Feel free to pop in or visit our website here if you'd like to find out more - we're happy to help!