Everyone knows that buying a car can be one of life’s most stressful processes.
First you have to decide on the type of car you want. Estate, SUV, hatchback, convertible – the choices are endless.
Next, it’s time to choose the make and model, before considering whether you want it new or used and how you plan to pay for it.
Finally it comes down to finding a good condition, well-priced example from a reputable seller, which suits your requirements.
This latter part can be the most difficult, as it can be tough to tell whether you’re getting a good deal, or if the car isn’t as much of a steal as it appears.
Fear not, here at motors.co.uk we have gone through the car buying process to help you get on the road with as little stress as possible.
First things first, you need to settle on the type of car you’re after.
What will be the main use of the vehicle? If it’s for a lengthy commute then comfort and economy should be a priority. If you need it to transport children around, then a large, practical vehicle with easy accessibility and a high NCAP safety rating should be top of your list.
Once you have decided on the type of car, it boils down to which make and model. Reviews can prove helpful in letting you know a vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses, while our useful search tools can be used to specify your price range and requirements and find the perfect model for you, at a nearby dealership.
When you know the vehicle you are after, it’s time to explore whether you wish to buy it new or used, and the payment options.
When buying used, you have the choice of buying from an approved dealer or privately. If you wish to purchase the vehicle via finance, then a used dealer is the right place to go for advice. There you will be able to discuss the many different finance options, which include PCP and hire-purchase.
These finance options are also available on new vehicles from both dealer groups and independent dealerships. Sometimes the difference between finance options on a new vehicle and a nearly new vehicle are minimal thanks to various offers and dealer deposit contribution.
However, if you are buying a new car outright, then it is important to understand that the model will depreciate in value as soon as you drive it out of the dealership, and when it comes to selling the car you may not get as great a return on it as if you had bought second-hand. Also, you will get more car for your money with a used model.
That said, buying a new vehicle comes with the peace of mind of a full manufacturer warranty. If you buy the vehicle nearly-new then it is likely to still be covered by this warranty, as it remains with the car even if it swaps owners.
It is a dealer’s prerogative as to whether they provide a warranty of their own. In most cases they do, on both new and used vehicles, however this tends to be much shorter than a manufacturer’s cover.
If you do buy a vehicle that isn’t covered by any form of warranty, fear not. You will still be protected by the Consumer Rights Act, which came into play in October 2015 and includes the 30-day right to reject clause, amongst others. Further investigation into this is advised when buying a warranty-free used car.
Chances are if you’re buying a car privately, then it won’t be covered by a warranty – unless it is still within the manufacturer’s term. ?
Extra care is therefore required prior to buying a vehicle, to ensure that it has not been damaged previously or has finance outstanding on it.
The DVLA provides a free vehicle information check service, for which you just need to enter the car’s registration and make. This returns information including the year of manufacturer, engine size, CO2 emissions and whether or not the car has previously been exported.?
A more in-depth check can be purchased online for as little as £3, and this will reveal whether the car has previously been written off, reported as stolen to the police, been scrapped or had a colour change, and well as showing the number of previous owners.
?When you eventually buy a new or used car, the first step is to tax and insure it. The latter can’t be undertaken without the former in place, and it is important to remember that following legislation changes in 2014, the tax on a vehicle no longer transfers to the new owner.
Insurance is the last step before getting out on the road. Comparison sites are the best place to begin your search, before phoning the most suitable insurer to try and get a better deal. Beware of unexpected excesses – many providers issue a company excess alongside the amount that you set your preferred payment as.
While it may seem like a bore after the lengthy car buying process, reading the terms and conditions prior to taking out an insurance policy is always advised.
Finally, you are ready to hit the road in your ideal wheels (unlike these drivers). Happy motoring, and remember to obey the rules of the road.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.