What Should You Look For When Purchasing a Car?

Contemplating a fresh addition to your garage? Choosing a new or pre-owned vehicle can seem daunting, but armed with the right information, you can approach this decision with confidence. Let's dive into our comprehensive guide for savvy car buying, filled with key details and tips to keep in mind.

What is Your Budget for Buying a Car?

Establishing a budget is a critical first step in the car-buying process. It's important to consider whether a brand-new vehicle or a used car best suits your financial needs. New vehicles, with all the latest features, can run from £10,000 to over £30,000 based on make, model and luxury elements. Opting for higher-tier brands or upgrades can nudge this number further.

In contrast, pre-owned vehicles typically offer a more budget-friendly alternative to buying new. Their prices can vary dramatically, influenced by factors such as make, model, year, mileage, and overall condition. Bargain hunters may find options for mere hundreds of pounds, but a dependable car with minimal mileage will typically set you back around £5,000 to £10,000.

Car finance can provide a smart solution, allowing you to distribute costs over a more manageable period. This option might even let you invest a tad more in a vehicle that truly catches your eye, as the cost can be broken down into digestible monthly instalments.

How Important is Fuel Efficiency to You?

Fuel efficiency is a game-changer, especially with escalating fuel prices. A fuel-efficient car not only saves you money on refills but also helps reduce your carbon footprint, making a positive impact on our environment.

Measured in miles per gallon (MPG), a higher MPG rating signifies a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Modern fuel-efficient cars can offer an impressive 60 to 70 MPG.

Do note, however, fuel efficiency can fluctuate based on driving conditions – you'll often enjoy higher MPG on peaceful rural routes compared to the stop-and-go traffic in cities. Fuel-efficient cars also tend to hold their value better compared to their more voracious counterparts. Of course, you could look into a hybrid or an electric car and not use any fuel altogether! 

Should I Get an Electric Car? 🌱

As environmental consciousness grows, electric cars are becoming a go-to option for many drivers. These vehicles not only slash emissions and reduce your carbon footprint, but they also offer a range of advantages over petrol and diesel cars.

Their lower cost of ownership is a standout benefit – since electric cars run on electricity, they're cheaper to run in the long term. Moreover, with fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes, electric cars require less maintenance.

Although high-end electric cars like Tesla carry a heavier price tag than traditional fuel-powered vehicles, the industry is pivoting towards affordable electric models. Car financing can further ease the transition to electric mobility.

What to Check When Viewing the Car?

Whether you are buying your car online or at a dealership – or even privately – there are things you should be looking out for. Let's explore! 🔎

  • Safety Features: Ensure the airbags, seat belts and anti-lock brakes are functional. Check that all the
    lights, including headlights and brake lights, are in working order.

  • Bodywork: Examine the car for dents, scratches or rust, and check the paintwork from various angles to ensure colour consistency. Raise any visible damage with the seller.

  • Electrics: Verify that all electrical components, such as windows, mirrors and air conditioning, are functioning correctly. The dashboard lights should work, and no warning lights should be lit.

  • Tyres: Inspect the tyres for wear or damage. Check the tread depth to ensure it's legal and suitable for the car's purpose. If the tyres are worn, negotiate their replacement before purchase.

  • Accidents and MOT History: Use an HPI check to uncover the car's history, including any accidents, repairs, or MOT failures. This will give you insight into potential future issues and confirm no outstanding finance.

What is a Good Mileage for a Used Car?

As a general rule of thumb, a used car with less than 100,000 miles is considered low mileage. It may vary, however, depending on the make and model of the car – some cars are known for their reliability to last well beyond even 200,000 miles with proper maintenance.

Remember, mileage is just one factor in a car's overall health. A high-mileage vehicle with a thorough maintenance history and no significant issues might be a better choice than a low-mileage car that has been neglected or has changed hands multiple times.

Taking the Car for a Test Drive

These days, buying a car online is an option for many drivers. Indeed, most drivers begin their search online at the very least. Some online dealerships even arrange to have the vehicle delivered to your door, but there's also the option of taking it for a test drive. 

A test drive is crucial to buying a car as it allows you to evaluate the condition and suitability. During the test drive, check the car's comfort, handling, performance, safety features, electrics and overall condition. Make sure you're comfortable sitting in it, and there's enough headroom, legroom and seat adjustability. 

By taking the time to test drive a car, you'll likely avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road and be able to make an informed decision. Remember to consider your personal needs and preferences when choosing a car, and don't hesitate to ask the seller any questions you may have.

Have a Think 💭

Buying a car is exciting, whether it's used or brand new and you should enjoy the process! By taking your time and researching, you can find the vehicle of your dreams and drive off into the sunset while playing your favourite tunes. Or, at the very least, you'll have a nice, practical vehicle that's more than ready for the road  🚘