For most people, cars are our second biggest expense after housing. Whether you’re a huge petrolhead or just view them as a necessity, one thing is certain: we spend a lot of money on our motors.
As millions of us rely on our vehicle every day, it's vital we buy a car that’s suited to our needs – and for a price we can afford. That’s why we’ve put together a useful car buying guide to help navigate you through the process.
How much can you afford?
Whether it’s your first time buying a car or your tenth, you should always begin with a budget in mind. Consider how much you can afford and what kind of car you want. From a financial point of view, the less you’re spending on a car, the more money you will have left over for everything else.
Although it’s satisfying to buy a brand new car, a used car can often be far better value. If you do, however, remember that a good salesman will typically try to steer you towards the most expensive option. Know your budget first and you won’t overspend later.
When creating your budget, it’s a good idea to remember the other things you have to pay for, such as insurance, tax and MOT. The good news is that Halfords Autocentre is offering to pay the costs of your MOT if you purchase an item in a Halfords store from now until 14th October. It’s valid for to redeem until October 2019.
Finding the best price on a car
The internet is jam-packed with car pricing information, so take advantage of this and at the very least get yourself some comparison price quotes.
When buying from a dealer, bear in mind it’s their job to get the best possible price for the car they’re selling, so avoid any add-ons if you’re buying a new vehicle and you don’t need any extras. If you're uncomfortable trying to negotiate a price face to face, you can always do it over the phone. Don’t be afraid to shop around – you don't have to buy the first car you see. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to haggle with a dealer on price. You might as well see if you can get yourself a better deal.
Money Under 30 have put together an article based on tricks to secure a rock bottom price that car dealers hate. Take a look!
Do you need to buy an extended warranty?
The best extended warranties are sold by the manufacturers for new or certified pre-owned cars, and you have to be careful for those completely worthless warranties that can often be sold on used cars.
If you have the option to buy an extended warranty on a car from the vehicle manufacturer and you’re planning to drive the car for years beyond the expiration date, it might be a good idea to pay for extended warranty. A warranty is similar to insurance: when you buy it, you’re insured against some major repairs and when you don’t, you assume that risk.
Finding a car insurance company that can offer you good rates can save you hundreds of pounds a year. Not only do you want to compare different quotes and shop around, you need to have an understanding of what insurance you’re buying. You don’t want to pay for coverage that you don’t need, or discover that you didn't have the coverage you thought.
A few tips for when you find your perfect car
- Don’t pay extra for premium fuel – unless you’re driving a performance vehicle, you’re unlikely to see any improvement.
- Don’t press the accelerator when you start the car – it’ll waste extra fuel and risk damage to your engine.
- Drive gently when the car is cold – cars are less efficient when they're cold, and driving quickly straight way wastes fuel and you can wear out the engine.
- Don’t drive up and down kerbs – this damages the metal wiring in the sidewall of your tyres and will eventually lead to a puncture.
- Buy tax annually, not monthly – for some people this is just not possible but if you can, yearly will work out cheaper.