Top tips for buying a new car

Top tips for buying a new car

Buying a new car can be a daunting experience for many – after all, there are so many questions. How can I value my car, decide on a new one, and then get the best deal, you might ask yourself. Well, no need to worry – we’ve put together a guide to buying a new car in just a few simple steps. Some of the most difficult aspects of buying a new car will still be down to you, as what you end up buying will depend on what you need from your next car – and only you can make that decision.

However, we can help you to work out how much your current car might be worth, which will be useful in coming up with a budget. Once you’ve got a budget, you can look at the cars that are available to you, and then decide on one of those. Finally, you just need to keep an eye on a few details to get the right car.

So read on to read our top tips or visit for buying a new car, including the best time of year to buy a new car and more.

How to value your car 

Before you buy a new car you probably want to know how much the car you’re currently driving is worth as a trade-in. If you don’t have a car yet, or your current car is leased or financed, then you can usually skip this step.

The easiest way to find out what your car is worth is by using an online valuation service  (eg. Parkers ‘Value My Car’ tool), but you can also head to a classified ad site and look at the prices of cars that are the same as yours. Make sure to look at not just the year and specification but also mileage and condition to get a good idea of the value of your current car. Be aware that dealers make a profit on trade-ins, so you won’t get as much from them as you would in a private sale.

Working out a budget

Once you know how much your car is worth, come up with a figure that you can spend on buying a new car. You will need to include things like tax, insurance and fuel costs in this to make sure there are no unexpected surprises, especially if you’re a young driver and insurance is a significant motoring cost.

If you’re leasing or buying using finance then you can look at a monthly amount that you can afford, or if you’re buying with cash (more common with second-hand cars) then you can simply work out a fixed amount.

Choosing a car

Once you’ve got your budget, you can pick what kind of car you want. You’ll want to consult with anyone else the purchase will affect, such as family members, to make sure you’ve not forgotten anything. 

Look at what you need to do with the car regularly. If you mostly just use it to drive a short distance to work, could an electric car work for you? Or if you do a lot of motorway miles, you might prefer a diesel with a large fuel tank.

If you’re alone, you might go for a small car with great fuel economy, or if you’ve got a big family you might need a large people mover. Whatever your needs, there will be a model for you. Don’t go in looking for the most stylish model – read online reviews of anything you’re interested in to get an idea of how it stacks up against other similar cars.

The best time of year to buy a new car

Remember these two dates: 1 March and 1 September. This is when new number plates are issued, so around this time, Dodge dealerships are keen to push out lots of new models at great prices. This is one of the best times to buy a car as targets need to be met, so incentives on price are employed by sellers.

As for where to buy from, people are increasingly turning to online retailers that compare deals on new cars as these can act like price comparison and get a great deal without having to haggle. If you’re confident then you can still go the old-fashioned route and head to a dealer – but either way, it’s important to test drive the car before you commit.

Test driving a new car

Don’t buy a car you haven’t driven. You don’t want to end up buying a new car that you hate driving, whether that’s because it is uncomfortable, slow or has some irritating feature you didn’t notice in the brochure.

When test-driving a car, pay attention to every small quirk as you drive. Check the driving position is good, that you can see out easily, and that the infotainment system is easy to use. It’s all important to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you buy.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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