There are plenty of times in life when you are ready for another car. Whether you just fancy a change of cars or your current one no longer suits your ongoing needs. It doesn’t really matter why you want a new car; what matters is that you understand how to find the right one. Our team has put together a list of things we wish we had known during the car buying process.
Let’s get one thing straight, there’s no such thing as the perfect car. What I mean is that you can’t point at a specific car and say that it is categorically better than all other cars out there. Some cars are better for some people than others – the trick is knowing how to find the car that suits your needs the most.
So, that’s what you’ll be doing with the help of this guide. You’ll discover the right questions and things to look at before buying your next car. Consider them all, and you’ll quickly create a shortlist of vehicles that fulfill your every need and desire. Then, it’s just a case of picking whichever one you like the most!
Are you buying new or used?
The first thing to consider is if you’re getting a brand new car or a used one. Now, this isn’t an attempt to force everyone to buy used cars, but there are significantly more advantages than buying a brand new one. In the simplest of terms possible, new cars are too expensive and will only decrease in value from the moment you drive them out of the showroom. Used cars offer better value for money, and they don’t depreciate anywhere near as quickly.
Regardless of your decision, you need to decide which type of car you’re going for. This will help you understand where to start looking – new cars can only be bought from dealerships, while used ones can also be bought online from individual sellers. Funnily enough, this takes us to the next point…
Where will you buy your used car?
Used car dealerships do exist, but you can often get a better deal by purchasing your car from an independent seller. This is because a person selling their car is more likely to be open to offers and will settle for less. They want to get rid of it as quickly as possible, provided they receive a decent price for it. A car dealership exists to make money, so haggling is less likely and they will often charge more.
However, dealerships come with perks, such as a range of finance options and deals that an individual can’t provide you. For example, you could get a part-exchange deal that lets you trade in your old car to get money off your new one. So, weigh up your options and think about whether you’d rather the dealership approach or the individual.
How easy is the car to repair and service?
One of the common mistakes when buying a car is to get your hands on an unreliable brand. Or, you buy a car that isn’t in production anymore, making life so much harder when it needs to be repaired or serviced. Ideally, you need to buy a car that’s very easy for you to repair as loads of replacement parts are available. Ford is a prime example of a brand like this! You have places like Chapman Ford that offer loads of replacement parts for cars from many years ago. The sheer wealth of Ford cars on the market means there will always be parts – and there will always be engineers that know how to fix Ford vehicles.
Plenty of other brands fit into this category as well – it’s the niche brands or discontinued cars that you want to avoid. The harder it is to service or repair a car, the more stress it will cause you. You’ll also end up paying more for servicing or repairs because it is so challenging to find people that can work on the car or find the ideal parts to fix it.
How many seats do you need?
A big consideration if you are buying a car mainly for practical use. As an example, you want to buy the car as a family car, meaning you need enough seats to sit your entire family. How many will you need? Four? Five? Seven? Depending on how big your family is – or how big you intend for it to get – your answer will basically dictate the type of cars you’re looking at.
For example, if you want a seven-seater vehicle, you’re mainly going to concern yourself with minivans and large SUVs. If you only want or need a maximum of five seats, the options are more diverse — think crossovers, and other similarly sized vehicles
How big does the car need to be?
Similarly, how big do you want your car to be? While this can be influenced by the seats you need, there will also be cases where you have plenty of different vehicle types to choose from.
Going back to the above example, if you want a car with five seats, you can choose from estates, SUVs, coupes, hatchbacks, sedans, and so on. Each of these might have the same number of seats, but they will be vastly different in terms of size. So, do you want a small car, or would you rather have a big one? Something that’s worth considering in this regard is the trunk space – do you need plenty of room in the trunk?
How much are you willing to spend?
Finally, you have to think about your budget. How much are you willing to spend on your next car? Work out what you can afford, and you can instantly restrict your searches to rule out any cars that vastly exceed this budget.
In summary, the six main things to think about when buying your next car are: whether it’s new or used, where you’ll buy it from, the brand you’ve chosen, the number of seats inside, the size of the car, and how much it costs.