Buying a Car – How To Bag A Bargain: 6 Tips and Tricks
Buying a car isn’t like most other purchases where, in the main, you pay whatever is on the price tag. When buying a car, you strike a ‘deal’ and it’s true that different customers may pay different amounts for essentially the same thing.
Here are half a dozen tips to get the best deal.
1. Shop around
Contact a few different dealers to compare their prices. If you’re buying a used car this can be trickier as, of course, the car you desire may only be held at one dealer. That said, if you’re in the market for a nearly new car, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to choose from a selection at different dealers.
2. Do your homework
Getting a feel for prices and used car values is time well spent.
To get an idea of what types of deals are available and levels of discount, resources such as What Car? with their ‘target price’ (the discounted price of a car) are useful. This is by no means a definitive guide, but gives you a reasonable starting point.
Next, get prices from online car broker websites; you can usually price a car up including the extras you may want. You can use their prices as a bargaining tool with the dealerships.
3. Check funding options
Several ways of funding a car exist, so understand what’s available. Along with the time honoured cash, bank loan or hire purchase are newer options such as PCP (Personal Contract Plan) and leasing.
Also known as personal contract hire, personal leasing can offer a very cost effective way of running a new car.
4. Time your purchase
Buying from a dealership towards the end of a sales quarter is ideal as they’re often looking to hit manufacturer’s sales targets.
These sales quarters usually finish at the end of March, June, September and December.
5. Beware ‘stacking’
Nothing to do with planes landing, this is where dealers try to push (or even surreptitiously include) a bunch of extras. These could include the following:
- GAP insurance – a policy designed to make up the difference in your car’s ‘new’ value and what your insurance company pays out in the event of a write off.
- Other insurance – for alloy wheel, some body and stone chip damage repair.
- Body protection – an expensive treatment to protect the paint and upholstery.
The above can significantly inflate the invoice total and you may not need them. If you do, they can all be bought cheaper elsewhere or the dealer’s prices negotiated down.
6. Part exchange preparation
Don’t worry about having an expensive valet done but ensure the car is cleaned inside and out.
Minor dings and scrapes could be repaired quite economically, and make sure all paperwork, spare keys and radio security codes are to hand. Being organised makes a difference as it shows you’re ready to deal and taking it seriously.
Finally, get a feel for your car’s value; check prices online for your make of car on franchised dealer used sites and sources like Autotrader along with online car buying services. Be realistic though; you may not get the ‘windscreen price’ of a car similar to yours for sale at a dealer.
Even for the hardened veteran, buying a car can engage the emotions when the desirability of a certain make and model kicks in. This can be a handicap when large scale expenditure and getting the best deal is at stake, so take your time, do your homework and stick to your plan.