Buying a Car

How to choose the right car for you

Whether you’re looking for your first set of wheels or you’re ready to upgrade to a newer model, there’s nothing quite like that new car feeling!

The excitement of finding the right car and hitting the road never gets old. But buying a car isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s likely to be the second most expensive thing you buy after a house.

That’s why it’s important to take your time, consider all your options, and compare different makes and models so that you choose the right car for you.

EV or SUV? Three doors or five? Used or brand-new? Volvo or Volkswagen?

With so many choices and decisions to make, think of us as your expert guide, breaking everything down so you can make an informed choice and answer the question: what type of car should I buy?

How to buy a used car

Buying a used car can be a great way to save money without compromising on quality. All cars lose value over time, which happens at its fastest rate during the first few years of a car’s life. Choosing a nearly new or used car that is only three or four years old could help you bag a real bargain.

But how can you trust that your used car is in the best possible condition? That’s where approved used cars come in. These vehicles have the manufacturer’s seal of approval and can often be found on their official forecourt or stocked by a trusted dealer partner.

Why buy a used car from an independent dealer?

If you’re buying a used car from an independent dealer who isn’t affiliated with a manufacturer, you may need to do some homework before signing on the dotted line.

Be sure to do your research, check customer reviews, and compare prices with similar vehicles sold at different dealerships – and don’t be afraid to ask a mechanic for a second opinion.

Should I buy a second-hand car from a private seller?

The alternative to a franchised or independent dealer is buying a car from a private seller. This could be someone you find on a website like Autotrader or eBay, someone listing their car on Facebook, or even a neighbour who has stuck a “For Sale” sign in their car window.

Buying a car privately can be cheaper than buying at a dealership, but it does come with more risks. You may not have the same buyer protection as you would when buying from an established business, so if something goes wrong, you could face a hefty repair bill!

What checks should I do when buying a used car?

No matter whether you buy a car from a dealer or a private seller, it’s essential to carry out thorough checks.

Our definitive checklist for buying a used car is a handy resource that outlines the main things to look out for, which may include:

  • Visual checks of the interior and exterior
  • Engine checks
  • Equipment checks (e.g., spare key or wheel nuts)
  • Paperwork checks
  • Checks during your test drive

Additional checks to consider include making sure the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) matches its logbook and checking that its V5C logbook is complete so that you can easily become the car’s new registered keeper if you choose to proceed with the sale. You may also want to check the car’s most recent MOT certificate and service history for added peace of mind.

How much should I spend when buying a car?

Deciding how much you can afford to spend on a car is one of the most important things to consider when buying a car.

Make sure that you think about both the initial cost of the car as well as its day-to-day running costs, insurance, and any potential repairs when determining how much of your monthly salary you can afford to spend.

How to negotiate when buying a car

Negotiating is a skill that can require a bucketload of confidence. Haggling with a dealership to get the best possible price is easier said than done.

On the other hand, 84% of drivers who do try to negotiate when buying a used car are successful in securing a discount.

Make sure you have armed yourself with all the knowledge you need before entering a negotiation, and set a figure you’d be happy to accept and a figure you wouldn’t want to go above.

And remember, if you don’t ask, the answer can only ever be no!