5 things to consider before buying a car

July 15, 2015

1)      Are you trading in?

How much you have available to spend will, in part, depend on whether you are trading in your old car. Figure out how much your trade-in is worth by looking at similar models online. You will then have a guide to the lowest and highest sale values for your car. When the dealer asks how much you want for your car, you will have a realistic amount to ask for. Even if you aren’t trading in, looking around will also tell you the average price for the type of car you want so that you can work out your budget. It’s important to work out what your budget is before you start looking at cars.

2)      How will you pay?

If you’re taking out a loan to pay for your car, compare the cost of loans from each provider before you make any decisions as you can save money if you find one with a lower interest rate. Check your local credit union rates or use our loan Money Tool. Garages may offer you a finance agreement in the form of hire purchase or personal contract plan (PCP). Make sure you have fully read the terms and conditions of the hire purchase or PCP agreement before committing to anything. With hire purchase or PCP, you are essentially hiring the car for a certain period of time and you do not own the car until you have made the final payment. If you have saved up you won’t have to look into borrowing money to buy the car you want. This means that you can buy the car without having to worry about monthly repayments, interest rates or ownership.

3)      What other costs do you need to consider?

Don’t forget, as well as the sale price, there are other costs you will need to think about when choosing a car such as fuel and fuel efficiency, insurance, tax and servicing. These will vary depending on the type of car you buy, so it’s worth considering these costs before you make your decision. We have information on how to save money on your car’s running costs here.

4)      Where will you buy?

Always remember that your consumer rights vary depending on whether you buy from a car dealer or private seller. You have the much greater protection when you buy from a car dealer. The person selling the car through a private sale is not acting as a business and therefore the purchase is not covered under consumer law. We have lots more information on buying from a dealer or private seller here.

5)      Have you checked the car history?

As well as checking that the car is in a good physical condition, there are some more checks you need to do before you buy it such as car history, registration and paperwork checks. There are a number of companies who can do this for you for a fee, you should search online to find the right service provider. This will show previous recorded odometer readings, insurance claims, if the car has been used as a taxi and details of any crashes. Motortax.ie offer a service by which you can see if the car has changed hands within the last three months which could be a warning that there is a problem with the car. Finally, check that the car has all the proper paperwork such as the Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC), the service history/log book, NCT details and a valid tax disc. Everything must be present and correct, or you should walk away from the deal.

See our car buyer’s guide for more information on buying a car.

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