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Where’s the best place to start your search for a new car? What should you look out for before agreeing on a deal? How can you make the most of a part-exchange deal? Are the big franchises better than independent dealers?
You’ll be looking for the answers to these questions and many more as you start the process of finding the right car. And there are a few things to remember along the way to help you make the right decisions.
We’ve put together the following advice to help you set off in the right direction and avoid some of the pitfalls. We’ll help you spot the difference between a bargain and a banger, make the most of your test drive, and choose the vehicle that best matches your budget, lifestyle and personal preferences.
Before you circle an ad, set foot in a showroom or click a mouse, it’s worth thinking about where to start. It’s often good to ‘window shop’ to begin with and develop a feel for prices and what’s available. It can get you thinking about options you hadn’t considered, or help you decide on a particular make or model.
Then it’s time to start considering the benefits of franchise and independent dealerships, and how they can help you get a better deal.
We’ll take you through these important considerations, and help make the process of finding the right car as painless as possible.
Okay, where do I start?
There are many places you can begin your quest. The local press, auto magazines, dealerships and the Internet, for example. You can use price guides – available online and in quality car magazines – to avoid paying too much, and cross-reference these with prices in publications like Auto Trader, as well as local newspapers and dealer websites. Bear in mind that mileage, condition, previous owner and service history can all have a significant effect on a car’s market value.
Visiting a dealer’s showroom means you can get up close and personal with the car and develop a better sense of whether it suits your needs. You can also request a test drive and we’ve got some hints and tips on test drives, too.
Many people start window-shopping for their next car online. With most good car websites you can match your needs to a suitable car available near you. But never buy without seeing it ‘in the flesh’, checking it over and taking a test drive.
Here are some good sites for tips and advice on finding the right car for you. They also tend to have a good cross section of vehicles for sale in your area:
A better dealer – a better deal?
A good dealer can be worth the car’s weight in gold, especially when it comes to legal protection. By law, a dealer can’t sell you an unroadworthy car, or mislead you on its specification, history or paperwork.
While price is a key consideration for most buyers, it’s unwise to make decisions on cost alone. The best dealers will give you all the information you need and offer useful advice to help you reach the right decision. Dealers fall into two broad categories – franchise and independent. While you may feel more reassured dealing with a big brand franchise, don’t rule out some of the bigger independent dealers.
Approved Dealer Programme
Our Approved Dealer Programme helps us achieve a better car-buying experience for our customers, from dealers who we have a close working relationships with.
Find out more about our Approved Dealer Programme