Most people enjoy the process of deciding which make and model of car to buy. It is a chance to spend weeks flicking through motoring magazines and test-driving cars.
This stage of the research process is fun, so most of us are more than happy to do it. Unfortunately, many people buy without having sufficient checks carried out to make sure that the vehicle does not have mechanical or electrical issues.
They tend to just look the car over themselves, and trust the dealer. As a result, many buyers end up with a vehicle that has issues they were not aware of.
Others end up paying more for their new car than they should. Again, this is usually because they do not take some simple, but important, steps before visiting showrooms.
Look for finance first
If you need to borrow money to buy your car try to find out how much you can borrow and what the interest rate will be. Doing this means that if the dealer offers you finance you can compare that with the offers you already have, and choose the option that works best for you.
Get a vehicle check done
Regardless of where you buy your car from, it is important to check, in advance, that it has not been stolen or written off. Just go online and buy a basic vehicle check. This is the easiest way to make sure that the vehicle you are planning to buy does not appear in the police or insurance databases.
A vehicle check will also make sure that you are not about to buy a car with outstanding finance. This is important because if you buy a vehicle that has not been paid for fully, there is a risk that the finance company will try to repossess the car to pay the outstanding debt.
Get a mechanical check done
Even if you buy your car from a garage, it is a good idea to have a professional mechanic cast an eye over the vehicle looking for problems.
Garages offer warranties, and the majority honour them. That is great, but it is far better to buy a mechanically sound car and avoid the hassle of having to send it in to be repaired under warranty.
An in-depth mechanical check can save you from nasty surprises and big bills further down the line. It will also equip you to negotiate a fairer price.
Take more than one test drive
Before buying a car, you need to test-drive it thoroughly. It is not enough to drive it around the block once.
First, take it out alone. On that trip, listen carefully for any rattles and take note of how the vehicle rides and holds the road.
If all goes well with that test-drive, bring your family back and go out with them in the car. Doing this gives you a chance to check that the vehicle is practical for you and your family.
These checks take time and cost a little money, but in the end, you will be glad that you did them.