For me, car shopping offers a fun and interesting experience. You get to look at and test drive lots of cars. You meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people. And, at some point, you end up giving your hard-earned cash away in exchange for what may well be the car of your dreams!
Thanks to the Internet, we now have plenty of ways to go shopping for a car. Websites like eBay and Gumtree offer plenty of classified car adverts. Car dealers of all shapes and sizes have their own websites. And on those websites, filtering the list of cars for sale is a cinch.
Of course, many people still favour conventional methods of looking for cars. Examples include newspapers and other local publications. Then there is the unforgettable card adverts we see on display at corner shop windows.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you favour one way of finding cars over another. What does matter is how you go about short-listing the car you want to buy. There are plenty of guides online that profess to offer advice and tips on how to do that.
But if you want to follow the ultimate car buying guide that will always help you get the right car for you, this is the blog post for you! Keep reading to find out how to avoid buying a lemon (or “clunker” as our American friends call them). Learn how to buy an awesome car, like the Toyota GT86 shown in the photo above!
Are you ready? Great! Let’s get cracking!
Have you set a budget?
The other day one of my friends was telling me how their car needed a new clutch and some other repair work doing to it. Unfortunately for them, the cost of the repairs was more than the value of their car!
They decided that they wanted to scrap their car and buy a new one. The trouble is; they don’t know how much they should be spending on their replacement vehicle!
Are you are one of the few people that has a limitless supply of cash in their current account? If so, ignore this section. But if not, you need to decide upon a ceiling figure of how much to spend on your car.
The amount of money you can afford to spend on a car in total will depend on how you plan on paying for it. Some people prefer to buy their cars with cash, whereas others will opt for finance.
With both methods, you will need to put aside some of your monthly income to pay for your car. Calculate how much spare cash you have each month and work out if that’s enough to buy a suitable car for your needs.
Have you found that you can only put aside say £50 a month? If so, it’s time you looked at your outgoings and work out which expenses you can sacrifice for the purposes of buying a car.
Some people find that getting a loan to pay off credit cards and pay for a new car is cheaper than finance on top of existing monthly bills. Each person’s financial circumstances is different to the next person’s. Consider seeking advice from a charity like StepChange if you aren’t sure how to streamline your outgoings.
New or used?
One debate that will never end is whether people should buy new or used cars! We all know that both options have their advantages and downsides. But what the naysayers won’t tell you is that you should choose the option that best fits your needs. Rather than someone else’s opinion.
People that drive a lot need a car that they can depend on. They don’t want to worry about things breaking on their cars down the motorway. Nor do they want to spend thousands fixing a car that might not be worth a lot.
In those cases, it makes sense to buy a brand new car on a finance lease. The thing about leasing is that it’s no different to hiring a car. You pay for the car each month, and then you can return it to the dealer three or so years later.
Of course, buying new isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of used cars out there that are just as good as new ones. The only difference is you pay less for them! With reputable used car dealers like Inchcape Toyota around, you are bound to find a bargain!
If you do go down the used car route, I recommend sticking with cars that are no older than five years old. Age-related wear and tear starts to get expensive to fix the older a car is. Trust me; I am talking from experience here!
Before you decide on a specific make and model, you should find out how much the car will cost to run on an annual basis. As a motorist in the UK, you have to pay for things like insurance, tax, MOT tests and servicing.
You also have to pay for fuel, and it’s this specific cost that can catch a lot of people out! Some people assume that cars with small engines are super-economical on fuel. But what if you’ve got a heavy right foot? Your car’s eco-friendly engine will end up using more fuel than a six-cylinder powerhouse!
It’s important to buy a car that fits your lifestyle and offers low running costs. I’m not saying that you should buy a Ferrari F60 America instead of a Ford Fiesta. You should weigh up the running costs of the car you want, and decide whether it can offer a good blend of economy and performance.
When looking at cars to buy, you should bear in mind that some models are more-reliable than others. One way you can determine this is to go on the DVSA Recalls website and see how many recall notices there are for the car you want.
More than a few? It might be time to look at an alternative model!
Good luck with your car search!
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