Buying a car. Have you done your homework?

Turning to a car finance solution can mean finding yourself enjoying the freedom of the open road in no time; faster than you can say: “Keys, please!” But wait. As exciting as getting buying a car is, have you really thought through what type of car will best meet your needs?

New car in a fores

There’s a lot more to purchasing a vehicle than just having a specific colour preference, after all. “Should I opt for a saloon in Caviar, Carbon Flash or Iced Chocolate, or a sporty little runabout in Sunny Melon or Tangerine Scream? Oh, decisions, decisions…” It may be that you just want to improve your career prospects and having your own wheels will make it easier to look further afield than the shortest bus route!

Read on to get key advice provided to help you ultimately make the correct car-buying decision, and to ensure that you don’t drive off in a car that’s not quite the right one, or even the last one you should have opted for.

The value of valuing

The first question to ask is: what have you already got? If you currently own a car, do you have a good idea of its worth? If not, find out. Having it valued should be a quick and easy process, and you’ll come away knowing how much money you have (currently tied up in your car) towards your next one, be that a used vehicle or a new model.

“Having my old car valued before trading it in really paid off,” explains Colin in Uxbridge. “It put me in a position of strength when visiting used car dealerships. My advice to anyone looking to get a new car is to not even start their search until they have a very good idea of what their current car is worth.”

Do you really need a new car?

It’s the old chestnut, isn’t it? Should you try to save money by purchasing a second-hand car, or shell out for a brand-spanking new motor? What will prove the most cost-effective decision? Hmm…

If budgetary constraints mean opting for a used car is your only realistic option, then in one way that makes things easier. Why? Because it basically halves your ‘problem’. But even if you could well afford the latest 3 Series, hatchback, crossover SUV, or minivan on the market, you may find a perfectly good used model for almost half the price (or even less) of a new one. So, do shop around and take your time, buying a car is a serious project! Read reviews. Talk to garage owners.

Setting a budget at the outset (or at least once you’ve got your current vehicle valued), and sticking to it is usually best, as tempting as it can be to spend extra on a car that you simply fall in love with. If you’re planning on applying for finance, stick to your budget limit in exactly the same way. It’s easy to fall out of love pretty quickly post-purchase, when the running costs start to unexpectedly mount up, the seats aren’t quite right, or parking the darn thing proves a nightmare every time.

Claire in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, says: “I made the catastrophic mistake of falling in love with a new three-door pink MINI coupé with all the bells and whistles, only to discover in time that it was not the right car for me, for my lifestyle… I went over-budget to get it, too. My advice to car buyers is to buy with their heads not their hearts.

Petrol or diesel?

Don’t assume that opting for a diesel-run car will save you a fortune in fuel costs. Sometimes over a number of years a petrol car could prove cheaper to run, not in terms of you having to buy less fuel annually, but in certain circumstances, the running costs of a diesel car can sometimes be slightly higher overall for each year of ownership. If there is a particular car model you’re interested in (or maybe even have your heart set on), read as many reviews online and in printed publications as you can. Doing your homework could save you making a mistake, and an expensive one at that.

Think about depreciation

Canny car buyers look ahead. WELL ahead. OK, when caught up in the excitement of buying a car (especially a first car) thinking of the long-term is hardly going to be at the forefront of your thoughts. But taking the time to consider the resale value of the car you’re strongly interested in could save you a fortune later on. Think about your car’s deprecation and whether it holds good resale value.

Find the right finance solution for your circumstances

Everyone is different and no one size fits all – just as your new car has to be right for you, so does your finance. Need to get on the road as soon as possible, but can’t get finance no matter how hard you try? Get in touch.