Buying a vehicle, whether you’re trading in or purchasing for the first time, can be overwhelming for most consumers. Not everyone is familiar with the terminology or know what they should be looking for when it comes to buying a vehicle. That’s why we have put together a quick list to guide you through your decision-making process.
Define your needs
Deciding whether to prioritise fuel efficiency over speed, or good looks over safety and technology will depend on your specific needs. Things such as commuting great distances, a growing family and your budget should be considered when it comes to deciding what vehicle you want to buy. Invest in a car that is ideal for your lifestyle, but also fits within your finances. Make a list of exactly what it is you need from a car as well as the specs and features. This will give you a clear idea of which type of vehicle would suit you best.
Do your research
Once you have defined your needs, it’s important to research and compare different vehicles so that you can make an informed decision. Motomatch is a great online platform to do just that, giving interested buyers the opportunity to view and compare a wide range of vehicles selected according to their individual preferences – any time and anywhere, on a desktop computer or a mobile phone.
The car you like may be affordable to purchase, but it could land up being expensive to run and maintain. It is always a good idea to investigate costs of upkeep and maintenance for that specific brand or vehicle. Accessibility and cost of parts and services, unusual tyre sizes and daily running costs will impact how much time and money you spend on your vehicle after you have made the purchase. Remember to obtain insurance quotes beforehand, and remain within your overall budget. It’s advisable to have a buffer to accommodate potential interest rate hikes over the financing period – so don’t stretch yourself financially from the outset.
Taking your time is one of the best buying strategies you have when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. Don’t settle on the first car you look at – be patient and let your head rule the purchasing decision, not your heart. The more you look around, the more familiar you will become with comparing different cars and interacting with dealers. Also, keen an eye out for special offers such as demo or stock clearance sales. The same rule applies to financing options. Shop around at all of the major banks for the best deal – and do your homework before agreeing to a financing deal that has the attraction of low monthly installments, but has mileage restrictions or requires a large balloon payment at the end of the contract.
Choosing a dealership
The right dealership can make or break your entire experience when purchasing your vehicle. A quick look through online reviews and past customer experiences will give you a good indication of the dealership practices and the quality of its after-sales service. Ensure that the dealership you choose is a member of either the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI) or the Independent Dealer Association (IDA). Both these associations are there to ensure fair and compliant business practices within the motor industry, which will help protect your rights as a consumer.
Test and Inspect
Before you decide on what to buy, make sure you are asking your dealer all the right questions. Get a thorough idea of what you are purchasing – which means asking the dealer for information about the service or maintenance plan, specifications, warranties and extras. Take the vehicles you are interested in for a test drive to get familiar with how it feels on the road, and how confident you are behind the wheel. If you are looking at a pre-owned vehicle, always insist on a complete service history, and some form of inspection report from an accredited inspection centre. An AA-approved DEKRA report or Bosch Service Centre certificate is a great way to ensure there are no hidden issues that may plague you later. At the very least, take along a trusted mechanic or a knowledgeable friend for a second set of eyes.
So what is a good deal?
A good deal isn’t necessarily the cheapest option. It means getting the best value for your money. Great communication and service from your dealer is an important part of the ownership experience. A great dealer will give you the right information, find the ideal vehicle that will suit your lifestyle and budget, and help you make an educated and careful decision
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