A Guide to buying a new or used car

Choosing the right car isn’t easy.

There are so many different models out there and so much to consider. To help you through this maze, we have put together this easy guide to buying your car.

New Car

If you're thinking of buying a new car, then chances are you already have one in mind. Whatever it is, you want to make sure it lives up to your expectations. But before you buy, it’s always a good idea to do a little research.

1. Where to start

Why not start with some of the specialist car magazines and websites? They all publish detailed reports on the current models available, and more importantly on future models that might be coming out in the next few months. They also compare their merits with those of comparable models from other manufacturers.

2. Where to buy

Most of us buy a new car from a motor dealer. Dealers usually have a franchise to sell vehicles from only one manufacturer, although some of them sell vehicles from more than one manufacturer.

3. Organise a test drive

Locate some dealers that sell the make of car you are looking for, then narrow your choice down before calling them to organise a test drive. And do organise a test drive. Only by sitting into the car and driving it will you get a feel for whether it’s the right car for you.


Used Car

You can buy a used car from a motor dealer or privately from its present owner. 

4. Buying from a dealer

The main advantage of buying from a dealer is that you can see a number of alternative vehicles on the same forecourt and easily compare their ages, conditions and prices. You’ll usually get some form of guarantee so you know that if something serious goes wrong in the short term, you will have a line of recourse.

5. Buying privately

If you decide to buy your vehicle privately, you will need to keep your eyes open for the right car. Most people advertise in local newspapers but even more promote their vehicles through selected websites. The downside of buying privately is that you don’t get any form of guarantee. So, unless you are a mechanical expert, get a mechanic. The cost of this independent inspection will vary depending on the engine size of the car.

6. Ask to see the log book

For your own peace of mind, you should ask to see the log book or vehicle registration certificate. This will show you the name and address of the previous owner who will probably be able to tell you much more about the car’s history than the dealer can.

7. Check the ownership

Another important thing to check – and one that most people forget - is to make sure that the car isn’t still subject to any outstanding finance agreement. If it is,then the car may still belong to the bank or finance company and the seller may have no legal right to sell it. If you phone Hire Purchase Information on (01) 260 0905 and give them the registration number, they will check out the car’s ownership for you for a fee.

Consider the additional running costs of your car.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of insurance, road tax, petrol, as well as servicing and spare parts. Remember, things can go wrong with cars.

8. Insurance

The cost of your insurance will depend on the car you buy, your age, occupation and driving record, your anticipated annual mileage and whether you use the car for business, as well as pleasure. You will pay more for your insurance if you live in a city or large town, where there is a greater chance of your car being involved in an accident, being vandalised or stolen.

9. Running costs

You should consider carefully how economical or expensive your chosen vehicle is likely to be. The cost of petrol will vary depending on the size and performance of the car.

10. Servicing and parts

Again, servicing and parts will vary depending on the car. Your garage will give you an estimate on these costs.

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