What you should look for when buying a car in 2018

Image of a hand with a car key pointing it towards the car door handle lock of a grey car.

If you’re buying a car in 2018, there are a few things to consider. Should you go new or used? What should you look for when viewing a car? And what are your car finance options? We’ve compiled a handy list of tips that’ll help you make buying your new car a breeze.

New vs. Used

This is a big one. Whether you buy new or used will come down to several factors - but the most obvious one will usually be cost. Buying new means you’ll be able to choose exactly the colour, make and model you like, you’ll be covered by a warranty and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that the car doesn’t have any accidents or damage in its history. And if you’re eco-conscious, many newer models (including the electric and Hybrid category) are much kinder to Mother Nature too.

On the flip side, new cars tend to lose their value extremely quickly – with the bulk of deprecation happening in the first couple of years – whereas with a used car you’ll be able to retain much of its value if you sell after a year or two. Overall, buying used will usually be significantly cheaper, both in terms of purchase price and for your insurance premiums. You’ll also have a much wider range of places to buy from – including private individuals, used car dealers and car auctions (where you can often pick up significant bargains).

However, when buying used you may expose yourself to greater risk in terms of breakdowns and general mechanical faults – so make sure to do your due diligence before making a purchase. And remember, if a car is over four years old, it will have to take the NCT.

Questions to Ask Before Buying

take-your-time-when-viewing-a car-for-purchase.jpeg

Before you decide on the type of car you’re looking for, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. Of course, you may have your heart set on a sporty little vintage number, but that may not be practical for your day to day life. Take a look at your lifestyle, and consider how you’ll be using the car most often.

For example, if you do a lot of commuting you’ll need something more economical – so diesel or even Hybrid might be the right choice. However, to make real savings with a diesel, you really do need to be putting in a lot of miles, so if you only use your car on weekends, petrol makes more sense. And thanks to the particulate filters used on their exhausts, diesel vehicles also tend to clog if not driven fairly regularly at motorway or main road speeds, something that’s not a concern with petrol engines. Lastly, petrol will generally be cheaper, so bear that in mind too. If you’re interested in something a little more cutting-edge, we’ve also compiled a guide to the growing Hybrid category.

Before starting your research, it can help to make a list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” to help you narrow things down. If you’ve got a big family, a “must-have” could include plenty of seats and storage space, while a “nice to have” could be something like a stereo system if you want to drown out all the “Are we there yets?”

Questions to Ask When Buying


When it comes to viewing any car, whether it’s new or used, it pays to be thorough. Take your time, inspect every inch and ensure you’re fully satisfied before the purchase. This is even more crucial when buying used. You’ll want to ask the seller about the car’s mileage, accident history, and any major repairs that have been carried out. Check the interior and exterior of the car for any visible damage and check the oil and the engine. Last of all, make sure you bring the car for a test drive – and ensure it handles correctly in a number of different scenarios and surfaces.

It can also help to bring along a friend with a little mechanical knowledge to ask those tricky technical questions – or even get a qualified mechanic to check it out. Remember, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in this vehicle, so really get to know it before you commit to the relationship!

Choosing Your Car Finance

Your main decision when considering car finance is whether you opt for a loan or hire purchase. With a loan, you’ll be able to buy the car outright right away, whereas with hire purchase you won’t own the car until you complete the repayments at the end of an agreed term. AIB Hire Purchase is available for amounts over €10,000, with a fixed interest rate of 8.45% APR (based on a typical agreement over 4 years). While AIB Car Loans are available online for amounts from €1,000 to €30,000 online, and for amounts up to €75,000, you can apply in your branch or over the phone. Whichever method of car finance you use, just follow the above advice, and you’ll be hitting the road in no time!

Thinking of Buying a New or Used Car in 2018?

AIB have a host of Car Finance options for new and used purchases. Visit our website to find out more about Hire Purchase and AIB Car Loans.

We offer loans from €1,000 with a loan decision in just three hours.* Check out our handycar loan calculatorto find out how much you could borrow today. You can apply online through AIB Internet Banking & the AIB Mobile App. You can alsobook a branch appointmentor 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).

Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.