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Buying a new car

Your new car keys?Just as buying a used car has it's benefits and drawbacks, so does buying new. Today's motors are packed with the latest technology, meaning you'll get the performance you're wanting, along with fuel efficiency, and the best in security and safety. You'll also get all the modern toys to play with; sat-nav, mp3 and ipod docking, wireless and bluetooth technology - the list goes on.

New cars come with all sorts of packages and bonuses to tempt you with. You'll get a warranty from the manufacturer and/or dealership, access to service packages, and in some cases even tax rebates and free fuel for a certain time period. Plus, you'll have three years without having to take an MoT test. However underneath all the wrapping, the fact is that you'll suffer massive depreciation as soon as you start driving your new vehicle, with most new cars seeing their value drop by about 40% straight away.

Set your budget

You can't escape the depreciation that your new car will experience, but you can spread it's cost. To do this you'll need to keep the car for three years at least, preferably more. New car buyers also often need some form of loan or finance. It's usually best to search around for your loan and get quotes before you visit the dealership you're thinking of buying from. Whilst most dealerships offer their own form of finance, you'll usually get better rates elsewhere - don't be talked into taking the dealership's own financial packages.

As with buying any car, you'll need to factor in costs for your car insurance, unless you already have cover, in which you'll need to arrange to have it moved over to your new vehicle, and road tax. Keep in mind the CO2 emissions band your new car is in, as the higher bands are charged more tax in the first year (what is sometimes known as 'showroom tax'). On the other hand, new vehicles with low CO2 emissions often have road tax waived for their first year on the road.

Be vigilant for any 'hidden extras' that the dealership try to strap on to your final price. Do they deliver for free? If not then how much extra will it be. How about your number plates, do they supply them, or will you have to pay for them yourself? If you've picked out any extras or additional options you want adding to your new car, are these included in the price they've given you?

Price your part-exchange properly

Haggling? or Negotiating?Should you be going down the partex route to get your new vehicle, it's important to set a realistic price on your car. Using our free car valuation tool will give you a price for selling it privately, but you'll typically get less than that for partex. Think about how much it will cost you to change cars. The dealer may be giving you a good price on the new car, but still has his overheads to pay, and may be less generous when it comes to putting a trade-in value on your old car.

We always recommend selling your car privately before buying a new one (if you need the money that is!) as you'll most often get more for it. However, we appreciate that selling a car can be a time consuming exercise, and being able to exchange your old car (with a bundle of notes) for a new one is a lot less hassle.

Some dealerships may advertise 'minimum trade-in' amounts and offers. These might sound tempting, but you should be wary, as there will be conditions to such offers, such as having to take finance packages from the dealer, or other stipulations.


The majority of dealers will have already factored in room for bargaining when pricing their vehicles, so you should at least attempt to get the price down a bit. Remember though, you're up against people who do this daily and for a living, so don't get too carried away, though of course you shouldn't buy if you know you're being taken to the cleaners. Keep your budget in mind, and don't start haggling for a motor that is way out of your price league.


As always when buying anything, don't pay until you're sure about everything, and this includes the arrangements for collecting your new car, or having it delivered. Scheduling a collection time that coincides with a quiet part of the day for sales will mean that the dealer has more time to devote to your new purchase, and deal with any setting up that is needed.

Check the warranty

Limited warrantiesBefore signing your name away, be sure to check the warranty you'll be receiving, and what conditions it has. The warranty may require that regular checks are made to the vehicle, and this may or may not be at your expense.

The car's manufacturer can't make you use their franchises for your servicing needs during your warranty period, but the servicing still needs to be done according to their criteria and schedule. The warranty may also stipulate that any parts used during servicing are approved by the manufacturer. Records will need to be kept to make sure you are keeping to these conditions, so keep all your paperwork as evidence.

In most cases, if something goes wrong with your vehicle soon after it's warranty expires then the manufacturer is likely to give you help, as long as you can show that one of their franchises has serviced it.

Buying a new car is a big undertaking, and you should never be pressured into buying. If you're not completely happy with the offer on the table, you should walk away - there is always another motor out there!

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