The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Car

Ground up image of a maroon Nissan car pulling into a space in an underground carpark with AIB Logo front and centre.

25 Jul 2017

Posted in:  Buying a Car and Loans

Whether it’s your first time or you are in the market again, buying a new car is an exciting time. Cars can reflect who we are or who we want to be, and become a trusty friend to take us to work or our family safely from A to B. But the purchase process can be complicated, so we want to make sure we get it right. Let’s break it down with a straightforward guide to buying the perfect car for your lifestyle.

Money, Money, Money – Financing your New Car

Firstly, ask yourself what you can afford. Consider the various car financing options available. For many people, Hire Purchase is an attractive option and AIB offer 100% finance for amounts over €10,000. Other options include buying a car from savings or choosing one of AIB’s car loan options. If you are trading in or selling your old car, research what the car will realistically fetch on the open market and factor that into your budget calculations.

Needs v Wants When Buying a Car

Once you know your budget, it’s time to separate the heart from the head. You may have your eye on a sporty little convertible but it might not be so practical on a school run!

Motoring expert Geraldine Herbert recommends that you think about your lifestyle when purchasing. Will you regularly be sitting in traffic, zipping around the city, or on lengthy motorway journeys? What about passengers? Do you need a hatchback, saloon, a people carrier, or something robust like a 4x4? You’ll also need to consider boot space, transmission and the size of the engine. For local and city driving, Geraldine advises a smaller engine but something larger may be needed if you’re going to be racking up the miles.

At this point, you’re likely to have a shortlist of cars and will need to explore these to further narrow the choice.

Research is Key

The web is a great source of independent advice, giving impartial pros and cons of various car models, including reliability, economy, maintenance, and safety ratings. Older cars are cheaper to buy, but often dearer to tax, and require more frequent NCTs. It’s also a good idea to contact your insurer for a quote before you purchase, so there are no nasty surprises.

Petrol or diesel?

When choosing between a petrol and diesel car, Geraldine explains that it’s down to your driving requirements. If you are a town driver, a petrol car will often be a better option. And they’re also cheaper to buy and maintain. If you drive long distances, you may prefer to opt for a diesel car. Diesels are also more economical to run, have lower road tax, and a better resale value. And don’t forget, hybrids are now also becoming an increasingly attractive option.

Getting the Best Car Deal

Viewing the Car

Whether you’re buying new or second-hand, Geraldine recommends always viewing a car during daylight – and never when it’s raining. If it’s a second-hand car, look carefully for any inconsistencies in the paintwork which might suggest repairs, and ask yourself if the general wear and tear is consistent with the mileage. If buying privately, it’s often wise to pay a mechanic or knowledgeable friend to accompany you. If buying from a dealer, the length and terms of the warranty are important.

Getting the Best Car Deal

Want a few bob towards a furry dice? Haggle. There’s so much competition that all car sellers, private or trade, are open to negotiation. So, get your bargaining hat on and get yourself a good deal. Research timing too, and familiarise yourself with the optimum time to buy from dealers due to registration plate changes and end of quarter bonuses!

Buying a New Car?

If you need some extra funds for that dream purchase, AIB offer loans from €1,000 with a loan decision in just three hours.* Check out our handy car loan calculator to find out how much you could borrow today. You can apply online through AIB Internet Banking, the AIB Mobile App. You can also book a branch appointment or phone 0818 724 725 if you’d like to speak to someone in person.

*3 hour loan decision applies to fully completed new personal loan applications processed within 3 hours 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri excl. bank holidays. Loans from €1,000-€30,000. Excludes applications: to restructure or clear existing AIB credit facilities; received through Branch and referred to a lender for review, from customers in financial difficulty; for Student and First loans; applications through Business Centres; or where total borrowings exceed €100,000 (excluding Home Loan debt up to €600,000).

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