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Car buying guide

Buying a new car should be a great experience. Exciting, involving and ultimately rewarding, you should know when you’ve done a great job buying a new car. Here are a few tips to help make the whole experience simpler and more enjoyable.

1. Research, research, research

The more you know before you visit a showroom the stronger a position you’ll find yourself in. Spend time on the internet looking at the deals available on the car (or cars) you’re interested in. Print these off and use them to show the salesman you’ve done your homework. It might not get you the same deal, but it should ensure you’re taken seriously and don’t have your time wasted.

2. Choose the right car

It seems simple, but you need to make sure the car you choose can do what you need it to do. How many seats will you need? Does it have to fit into a garage? Will you be towing a caravan or a trailer? But also be aware of the costs involved. If you’ll be towing a trailer once in a blue moon, then perhaps you shouldn’t buy the car based on that. It’s a little like going skiing once a year and deciding that ski boots are the ideal shoes for you all year round!

3. Know how much you can afford to spend

Make sure you know how much your car will cost and also how much financing it will cost you. The dealership will want to sell you their financing package. It may be good, it may not be so good. So look at what’s available before you visit the dealership.

4. Timing is important

The closer it is to new registrations coming out, the better a deal you should be able to negotiate. And if you’re buying at the end of the dealer’s quarterly sales period, then you might be able to drive an even better bargain. Be tough in your negotiations but also be realistic.

5. Know how to negotiate

Avoid telling the salesman exactly how much you want to spend and keep your cards close to your chest. Be positive when you speak – ask “How much discount will you offer me on this model?” rather than “Can I have a discount?”

If you’re finding it hard to get the salesperson to offer you the discount you want, offer to close the deal there and then if you can get closer to your figure. Often the idea of closing the deal can help get you that extra bit of discount you’re looking for.

Never be afraid to walk out of the showroom if the dealer isn’t moving much on the price they’ve offered you. There will always be another car.

6. Keep an eye out for hidden extras

Make sure the price quoted to you includes delivery and number plates. And make sure any extras on the car are included in the price quoted and aren’t chargeable extras.

7. Be polite – the salesperson is only doing their job

You’re looking to get a good deal, not rob the dealership. So be tough in your negotiations, but always remain realistic. They’re selling cars to make money, not as a charity venture. Fight your corner, but do it with a smile on your face. It’ll be a lot more pleasant for everyone and it could be the first of many great deals you get from the dealership.

8. Look at the whole cost of ownership

From depreciation to fuel economy and from insurance costs to servicing costs, there are a number of costs to be aware of over and above what you actually pay the dealer for the car. You can check how depreciation affects your ideal car on the What Car? website. It offers a calculator that lets you see the depreciation cost of your proposed new car.

9. Maximise the price you get for your current car

If you’re selling your current car to help finance your new car, you could get a better price selling it privately. However, a trade in can be a lot easier. Unfortunately, it will also probably not get as good a price for your car as selling it. It’s a trade off you need to look at and see what works best for you – ease versus maximising the price you get.

10. Always take a test drive

You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on. And, unless you have really expensive taste in shoes, they’ll not be costing anywhere near as much as your car. So take it for a test drive. Ask to drive on city roads and ideally on a motorway or dual carriageway. It will let you see how the car performs in different conditions and should reassure you that you’re really buying the car you want.

11. Have a look at nearly new cars

You could save a huge amount of money by looking at nearly new cars. These are cars with very low mileage, but not low enough to be considered ‘new’. They’ll even come with a warranty. You can see what’s available by using your friend, the internet. It might take you longer to find the car you’re looking for, but think how good it’ll feel with all that money still in your pocket, rather than the dealer’s!

12. Research

You can never do enough. Knowledge is power, so make sure you’re wielding as much as you can.

This article is intended as general advice only which is not intended to cover specific circumstances and needs. The information in this article is also not linked to any of the products offered by Yorkshire Bank

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