There are a large number of factors which must be considered when buying a new car. As the purchase is likely to be large in comparison to others made during day to day life, it’s worth stopping and considering each point in turn.
How much should you spend?
This is the most important point to consider. Decide on a maximum price and stick to it. Buying a car involves expenses such as dealer delivery, stamp duty, insurance and registration. Remember to allow for these in your budget.
If you are borrowing money it is best to arrange finance beforehand. The amount you can afford to borrow may determine your budget. Make sure to carefully check the interest rates and loan conditions as they usually vary between financial institutions. Examine the loan repayments carefully – do they allow for changes in your income or interest rates?
Choosing the right car
Ask yourself what kind of driving you will be doing in the vehicle and whether this may change in the future.
Questions like how many people will the vehicle usually carry and whether it will be required to tow a caravan or trailer will help determine the type of vehicle and engine size.
If you plan to tow, a six cylinder engine would be best suited. However, if your driving will be done mainly in the metropolitan area, then a four cylinder model may be best.
Think about how much you can spend each week to run the car. The more cylinders, the higher the registration and usually, the higher the fuel consumption.
Also consider that it may be harder to obtain parts for a less popular model of car.
Test driving a car
Test driving the vehicle you are interested in buying is crucial. A car may have all the features you are after, but once you drive it you may find that the driving position is too uncomfortable, the ride too harsh or the gear change is not as smooth as you’d like.
Before driving ask the dealer of your legal liability should you be involved in an accident. Once this has been established take the car for a drive for at least 20 minutes along a variety of different roads if possible. Try parking it and perform a U-turn to establish the turning circle. While you’re driving, you’ll have the opportunity to have a good look at the features.
Once you’ve returned to the dealership don’t get carried away telling the salesperson how much you might like the car – keep a level head for the negotiating process.
A warranty is your guarantee that should any faults become apparent within the warranty period, you won’t have to pay to have them repaired.
New cars must have a minimum 12 month or 20,000 km warranty (which ever occurs first). Most new cars now come with a much longer warranty and dealers use them as a selling point of the car.
For an additional fee or for abiding by certain conditions, some dealers offer extended warranty schemes above the manufacturer’s period. Read carefully what those conditions are and weigh up whether it’s worth agreeing to.
Trading in your current car can remove the hassle of selling privately, but it will most likely mean you will not get as much money for it.
If you do decide to trade in, ask the dealer for the total changeover price. This is how much you’ll have to pay to leave your old car there and drive away in the new one. Don’t let the dealer confuse you.
Agreeing to the price
It pays to shop around for the best deal. You may be able to negotiate a better price for your chosen vehicle.
Ensure you’re aware of what the extra costs of buying the car will be including stamp duty, dealer delivery, registration, etc.
Try and visit as many dealers as possible to get the best price. Ask the dealer if they can do a better price than the last.
Before you take delivery of your new car, make sure that you inspect it thoroughly for any body damage or defects to the vehicle. It’s best to take delivery during daylight hours, so that any faults can be picked up easier. Also make sure that the vehicle's year and month of manufacture is as you expected and as stated in the paperwork.