If you haven’t bought a car for a while, or you’ve only recently passed your test, then the process of buying a car can be a daunting one. There are a number of things you’ll need to think about before you make the purchase itself. The right research can make the difference between an expensive liability and a dream driving experience.

Determine how much you have to spend

Your first step should be to work out your budget. This should take into account not only the cost of buying the car, but the cost of keeping it on the road, and in good shape. Ideally, your monthly payments on finance should be less than 15% of your total take-home pay. You don’t want the cost of running your new car to be a financial burden.

Determine whether you want to go new or second-hand

A new car is, by definition, less prone to wear-and-tear. It’ll also afford you more options when it comes to customisability and mod-cons. However, brand new cars tend to suffer from heavy depreciation, especially in the first few months. You’ll pay a hefty premium that you might have avoided had you gone second-hand. 

If you do decide to go second-hand, then you’ll be faced with a further decision of whether to shop from a reputable used dealer, or buy directly from the previous owner. In the latter case, you’ll need to take a few more precautions.

Do you want to lease?

A long-term lease will allow you to drive a new car without spending a huge amount. You’ll be able to refresh your vehicle every few years without going through the hassle of buying and selling. And you’ll be covered by a warranty, too. 

You’ll lose out on a little bit of freedom, however, as the car isn’t yours. This means that you won’t be able to modify it as you did before and that you might face mileage restrictions. 

The Test Drive

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to be buying, what car you’re interested in, and where you’re going to be buying it from, you should set up a test drive. Here’s where you’ll be able to gauge the actual experience in the driver’s seat. 

Look to test the car in a range of circumstances, from busy main roads to winding suburban estates. Don’t feel that you’re being rushed, and don’t be afraid to negotiate on price if you spot any defects in a would-be second-hand purchase.



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