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Buying Your First Car Without Being Taken For a Ride

January 30, 2014

Buying your first car is kind of like buying a new mobile phone. Once you’ve found the model you want in the colour and style that you like, you’ll need to shop around for the best deals – looking at a range of providers with a variety of different offerings on the same product. The cars themselves are of course the same – finding the make and model is easy, and most of us have three or four preferences in our back pocket. The harder part is navigating all the dealers – knowing the lingo and understanding exactly what extras they’re actually offering you. To help you navigate yourself through this proverbial minefield, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a handy guide to help you find the car you want without the hassle.

Here are your quick links to the rest of the guide:

 

Finance:

Before you embark upon your dream car list filled with names like Audi, Austin Martin, and Rolls Royce, figure out what your price range is. Most of us can’t afford to buy a car outright – but with so many alternatives out there, all you need to know is how much you can afford to spend on a car each month. If buying outright isn’t looking like an option, here are a few other ways to go.

  • Hire Purchase – normally offered by the dealer, this option allows you to put a deposit down and take the car that day. You’ll have a fixed payment to make each month to a separate finance company.  This method does, however, mean that you don’t own the car until all the repayments are complete, normally ending in a fee to transfer ownership into your name on top of the final payment. Until you own the car, you won’t be able to modify or sell the car and could face hefty charges if you fail to keep up with the repayments.
  • Personal Contract Purchase – if you don’t want to keep the same car for more than three to four years, consider a PCP. You still have a contract with fixed repayments each month, but the choice to buy the car at the end is optional. Either pay the remaining amount to officially own the car or return the car and sign a new contract on a different car. Before considering this option, you have to accept that you’ll never own the car outright.
  • Conditional Purchase – similar to Hire purchase only without the fee at the end.
  • Personal Loan – This is the most cost effective option and the one most people go for. The Car Loan Warehouse offers a ton of great options for first-time buyers, so you can find a deal that suits your budget. Use our handy calculator to find your rate.

 

The Car:

So now you have your price range, it’s time to start looking for that car. We know you’ll want a car that’ll impress – but remember how the car you decide to purchase will affect your insurance premiums too, so go check out our advice on first time car insurance before you dive right in!

Here is a quick checklist for your chosen car:

  • Engine size – the smaller the engine, the lower the car insurance will be
  • Tax – check what tax bracket your chosen car is in, since you’ll have to pay this once a year and you don’t want to be surprised with a large bill.
  • Age – check how old the car is – the older the car, the more likely it is to need work. MOTs get quite expensive on older cars.
  • MOT – when was the last one? Don’t buy a car that either needs an MOT or has one that’s about to run out. There’s no guarantee this car will pass and could cost you more than you’re able to afford just to make it roadworthy.
  • Wear and Tear – check for damage on the car and how many miles it’s done. The fewer miles on the clock and minimal damage indicates a good previous owner. If the car has bumps all-over and a ridiculous number of miles on the clock, you see where we’re going with this.
  • Valuation – you can even get apps for this now! This allows you to see the paperwork behind the car. Is it registered? How many previous owners? Modifications? This is all essential information, as you don’t want to buy a car that can be taken from you as stolen or have to spend money reregistering modifications that the previous owners kept quiet.
  • Price – make sure you compare the price of this car against other dealers offering the same make and model, from around the same age and mileage as your chosen car. This will give you a better idea of what the dealer should be asking for. If the price is way above the consensus, find out what extras are included – if none, the dealer’s messing you about.
  • Take for a Spin – don’t buy a car that you haven’t had a test drive in. Not all cars are the same and you might end up hating some of the quirks that the car has down the line.

 

Buying:

When you’ve decided on the car you want, it’s time to make the purchase. If you aren’t confident, we suggest taking someone who has bought a car before. Most dealers can tell a newbie from the moment they arrive, so having back up can be massively helpful. A seasoned buyer can stop you from making the same simple mistakes that they made buying their first car.

  • Stay calm – there are so many cars and so much information that you won’t understand, but don’t just buy a car because you were getting stressed and just wanted to get the purchase out of the way.
  • You can leave – there’s no obligation to buy from the dealership just because you’re stood in their yard. If you want the car, you can talk – but don’t be pushed into buying a car you don’t want because the dealer has spent hours showing you around.
  • Get a fair price – most dealers will accept a haggle. If you think the price is a little high, test your skills. It helps if you have an advert of a similar car with a cheaper price to show the dealer, as he might just lower this car to match it.
  • Extras – When you finally agree on a price, we can guarantee that the dealer will try to offer you some extras. Sometimes they’re worth having, like a warranty – as this means that, if the car has any problems within the allotted time, it’ll be fixed for free. Others are likely unnecessary and only being offered to bump up the price of the car.

 

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this thing in motion.

Got your sights set on your first car but don’t have the funds to make it happen? Fear not – the Car Loan Warehouse can help. We offer quick, easy car finance without the hassle so you can find the car you want at a rate you can afford.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.