How to Buy a New Car
Buying a new car is easy. But it could be the second biggest investment you ever make, so it pays to do everything you can to get the best possible deal. We bring you the essential guide to buying a new motor.
1. Why Buy New?
There are many advantages to buying a new car over a used one. You have the choice of any car you want with the exact specification you want.
2. Identify Your Needs.
There’s a huge range of new car models to choose from. So where should you start?Consider all your requirements. Ask yourself:
1. What will you use it for?
2. How long you expect to own it?
3. Are you looking for reliability?
4. How many miles do you plan to do?
5. Are you buying it for practicality, for fun, or perhaps a bit of both?
6. Do you want something luxurious or thrifty?
7. How much are you willing to spend? (Include other costs such as insurance, tax, services and fuel)
8. What type of model and manufacturer are you leaning towards?
3. Choose the Model.
If you want to find a new car without the hassle of contacting various dealers, you can use our very own new car search to find it: Auto Trader new car search
4. Phoning The Car Dealer
Always confirm the details in the advert are correct. This could save you a wasted trip.
5. Visit the Showroom
If you’re buying from a franchised dealer (who sells cars on behalf of a manufacturer), visit the showroom to view the car to make sure you’re happy with it.
6. The Test Drive
Always test drive a car before buying it – this will give you a feel for it and raise any concerns. For example, the car might not be big enough for your needs, or the engine noise could be unbearable.
7. The Haggle
There’s still plenty of room for negotiation on the price of a new car, and it’s always worth pushing for.
8. The Paperwork
Make sure the registration on the vehicle tallies with the one in the logbook (V5C), as well as the vehicle identification number.
9. What if it Goes Wrong?
If things go wrong with the deal – like the car not turning up or not being the exact model you wanted – protest at the earliest opportunity. Follow the links below to contact a number of bodies who offer advice on action to take if you feel you’ve been hard done by.
There are certain makes and models of new cars not available in the UK – this is where an import may be the answer. Importing can be carried out in a number of ways, for example:
• Buying a car from within the EU or the rest of the world.
• Carrying out the import yourself or using an import broker.
• A car available in the UK but its overseas model boasts added features or a lower price.
Other BUY A CAR Guide by Auto Trader UK
The golden rule is – never view a car in the dark or in the rain, as weather can hide a multitude of sins. You’ll never spot scratches, dents or rust in the rain, and a lack of light means many other potential problems will go unnoticed.
• The wheels should sit neatly in the wheel arches, equally on both sides.
• Check the gaps between the panels are equal. Run your finger along each to feel if the gap is bigger at one end than the other. Uneven panel gaps occur if a car has been in a crash, or if panels have been refitted badly.
• Look carefully at each panel for ripples or overspray – where excess paint has flecked onto other trim, such as window seals or bumpers.
• Look closely at each tyre – including the spare. Watch for uneven wear, which could mean suspension damage, nicks and gouges. Tyres are expensive, so if they need replacing, use this as a bargaining tool.
• The minimum tread depth is 1.6mm for the whole way around the tyre. Use a tread depth gauge to see how much is left – the more, the better.
• Check under the car, particularly at the front and back, under the bonnet and under the carpet in the boot for signs of crash damage. Panels should be flat, and free from signs of welding or patching up – if they’re not, it’s probably had a shunt.
• Most shunts are minor, low-speed crashes, but you should take extra steps to be sure there aren’t any more serious problems.
• Obviously rust is a bad sign, so keep your eye out all the time, especially around the wheel arches where moisture, grime and winter road salt can increase the speed of deterioration.
There are plenty of things to check inside, as well, most of which can be a good indication of mileage and the amount of care and attention it’s had lavished on it.
• Look around the cabin – a 50,000 mile car shouldn’t have a worn or sagging seat or a steering wheel, gearknob or pedal covers which have been worn by lots of use.
• Make sure all the seatbelts work – they could indicate a previous crash or general neglect. They’re a legal requirement too – if the car is being sold with a new MOT certificate, alarm bells should be ringing as these should have been checked.
• Look closely at the dashboard binnacle (the bit which houses the speedometer and other dials). If the car has an older, mechanical-style milometer which turns as you drive, make sure all the barrels are aligned correctly – turning these back is the oldest trick in the book. If there are fingerprints in there, ask why – there could be an honest explanation.
• This is harder to check on more modern models which have electronic milometers – the miles can be turned back simply by connecting a laptop and entering a new mileage.
• Either way, make sure the mileage tallies with old MOT certificates and service history.
• Make sure all the dashboard and steering column panels are bolted on correctly – they could point to a clocked car, or one which has been stolen, particularly if there are glass fragments on the floor.
• Don’t be too quick to reject a car – it can be tricky to bolt a dash back together after changing a blown bulb in the instrument panel.
• Make sure all the switches work – including the heater or air-con – and check the front seats move about properly.
• Locate the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You’ll find this riveted in the engine bay. There are few reasons why this should have been removed, so be suspicious if there are signs of tampering, you could be looking at a clone – a stolen car given the identity of a write-off.
• The VIN number will also be stamped in the floor beside the driver or passenger seat. A clone will have another number welded on, and are usually quite easy to swap.
• Modern cars also have the VIN recorded at the base of the windscreen.
• Check all the numbers match the logbook and your Car History Check documents – if they don’t, walk away.
Next check under the bonnet – any problems you miss here could cost you a packet, so be thorough.
• Check for signs of oil leaks around the top of the engine, but don’t forget to check underneath as this will be where it’s most obvious. Road grime can stick to oil, making it even more noticeable.
• Remove the dipstick, wipe it with a cloth and replace for a couple of seconds. Pull it out again and look at the amount of oil – it should be near the top; if not, the owner hasn’t been looking after it.
• The oil should be a golden colour – sludgy black oil is a sign the engine could be damaged.
• Look around the oil filler cap for a white mayonnaise-like substance – this is an indication of a damaged head gasket which can be very expensive to put right.
Ref. Auto Trader Guide
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