The car buying process

Unsure about the car buying process? This page should help! Never pay the asking price when buying a car! The seller will expect you to negotiate a discount. Don’t feel uncomfortable about haggling, and remember stick to your budget.

Keep to your budget

When you get caught up in the excitement of buying a car it is easy to forget about the budget, and even the type of car you wanted to buy! Stay focused, stick to your budget, and remember there are lots of cars for sale. You will find the right one for you.

Fact: the asking price is what the seller would like, not what they expect to get! Sellers will overprice the car expecting to be offered less, so do not pay the advertised price.

Check the asking price is reasonable

Before you go to view a car, check online or in the local newspaper that the asking price is fair and reasonable. Don’t forget to adjust your valuation for the condition and mileage of the car.

Check the car history

Ensure you have checked the car history, including outstanding finance, write offs, whether it’s been stolen, and whether it’s been clocked.

Inspect the car

Take someone with you who is able to check the car, both mechanically and the bodywork.

Test drive the car

Ensure you give the car a test drive. This will allow you to check out the gears, steering and brakes, and also what it’s like to drive.

The negotiation process

Make a realistic offer that is less than the maximum amount you want to pay for the car. This should allow you to negotiate with the seller and still arrive at a price you are happy with.

Remain focused – let them know you are serious and don’t be put off by silences. Some sellers will do this to embarrass you into agreeing to something.

Discount? Don’t forget to point out anything you have found when inspecting and test driving the car, that will need you to spend money to get it repaired.

Trading in your old car – when you haggle remember it’s the difference between the two cars that important, not the individual prices.

New MOT – How long is left on the car’s current MOT? Why not ask for a new MOT to start from the purchase date? If there are to be any advisory items indicated on the MOT, find out when they will need doing and how much they will cost.

Close the deal

Remember your budget and don’t lose your focus in the heat of the moment. If you can’t get the deal you want, walk away. You can always go back later, or the next car you see may be even better at the right price.

When buying from a dealer who won’t budge, you can always ask for another concession such as free road tax or a tank full of petrol.

Before you hand over any money

  • Agree collection/delivery arrangements.
  • Confirm exactly what’s included in the price.
  • Confirm any work the seller has agreed to do.
  • Get the V5C, MOT and service history.
  • Make sure you also get a receipt showing vehicle details, price, terms of sale and the seller’s details. (Receipt for private sale)
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Buying a car

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