Buying a car


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If you're thinking of buying a car, read this guide from Admiral for everything you need to know before you hand over the cash

Whether you're buying your first car or trading in your old banger for a newer model, buying a car should be an exciting experience. 

Buying a used car

If you're looking at buying a secondhand car you need to make sure you run a few checks before driving off.

Used car buying risks are on the rise with outstanding finance a particular concern, according to My Car Check. Did you know it's illegal to sell a car if it has outstanding finance, such as PCP, without informing the finance company?

In January 2016, My Car Check - an online tool which lets you see a vehicle's full history by searching the registration number - revealed 48% of all checks flagged up at least one issue.

This is up 6% on the same month in 2015 and could be anything from a legal registration plate transfer to a major issue such as a previous write-off.

So before you part with your hard-earned cash, read our top tips on buying a car

Research the car market

Buying a car is most likely the second biggest investment you'll make after buying a house so you have to do your homework. Whether you are buying a new or used vehicle you should find out as much as you can about it before sealing the deal. There are published rankings of the most reliable cars, and if you're buying a used car don't be afraid to take an expert with you to examine the vehicle for condition.

Shortlist your favourite cars

Choosing a car can be daunting when faced with endless options, but make life easier by narrowing your choice down to the make and model you want. When doing this remember to consider your needs - size, comfort, children etc. And importantly, make sure you test drive as many as possible.

Set a car buying budget and stick to it

The optional extras may be tempting but do you really need that leather trim or the electric sunroof? Don't let the salesman tempt you into adding on costly extras - set yourself a budget and don't stray over it.

Get the best return for your current vehicle

If you have a car to sell make sure you shop around to get the best price for it. Make the most of the internet and traders - you can part exchange on your new vehicle for an easy option, but make sure the sales adviser is giving you the best price out there; don't be afraid to contact other garages for prices. Check online buying sites also, but you will probably find that privately selling your car will give you the best return.

Long-term running costs of car ownership

It can be easy to only consider the lump sum you'll be paying out when buying a car but you need to keep in mind other costs: repayments if you're borrowing money, road tax, insurance, fuel, and repair and parts costs if something goes wrong.

Check the vehicle's paperwork

If you are buying a used car make sure it comes with the Big Four:

  • V5C Registration Certificate (log book)
  • MOT (if over three years old)
  • Service history
  • Handbook

Checks: Are all of the above documents present? Do the Registration and Chassis numbers detailed on the V5 match those on the vehicle? Are the personal details (full name and address), in the case of a private purchase, the same as the person selling the vehicle?

Great deals for car buying

No matter where you find your perfect car it is very rare to have a set price for it - even if it's brand new. So don't be embarrassed to haggle for a discount! Put the car's details into a car valuation site to make sure the seller isn't over-pricing.

Don't be afraid to walk away

If you aren't 100% happy with what you're being offered then sit tight and see if the seller is willing to meet your requirements (as long as they are realistic). However, if you still aren't happy then don't be afraid to walk away - there are plenty of other dealers out there.

Think vehicle tax

Since the scrapping of the paper tax disc in October 2014, vehicle tax no longer transfers with the sale. You'll need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle.

  • Interested in how Admiral Loans could help you with a car finance deposit? Find out more here.

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