In most cases second only after buying a home, A car will be potentially the second most expensive purchase you make in your life. This is obviously if you buy a new one, However, second-hand cars can be just as expensive if not done right. I am going to give you some great tips on how to save money buying a car.
There are a series of things that need to happen before you start searching for cars and certainly before you start parting with any money. You need to use your head otherwise you could get your fingers seriously burnt.
So what are the things we need to do and think about before making a purchase? Once these have been decided then we can look at saving money on our purchase.
Ask yourself why you are looking at getting a car. Is it because you need one or just because you want one. Is it your first car or is it to replace one that has seen its last days out on the road.
Many of us, me included are all too guilty of buying something because we want it and not because we need it. This is so easy to do as we do love to treat ourselves. However, when buying something like the magnitude of a car it can have serious impacts on our finances.
So when you have worked out why you are looking at getting a car and you are happy that you are getting it because you need it the next thing to think about is can you afford it.
Can I Afford It?
It seems obvious right. Believe me, it isn’t, I have some young guys at my work and one of them is paying £2000 a year on car insurance because he wanted a car with a big engine despite being only young. Crazy.
Work out the amount you have to spend on a car. Also factor in insurance costs and fuel and running of the vehicle. I appreciate this can only be an estimate at the moment.
If you are young just know that you will have to make some sacrifices when it comes to the choice of vehicle. Also if you have not got the best insurance history this will also impact the kind of vehicle you choose. You might have to look at the cheapest cars to run as opposed to the new ford mustang right?
You will also have to think about whether to choose a petrol or diesel car as this can impact your spending per month and the overall cost of the vehicle itself. The diesel vs petrol price wars could come into play.
When it comes to how to save money buying a car lets take a look at what you actually need.
What Car Do I Need?
So without thinking of costings or color or engine size or any of that kind of stuff, the first way of saving money buying a car is to work out exactly what your needs are when it comes to the vehicle you require. If you buy the car and it fulfills all your needs then you have already saved.
Do you need a large boot?, Smaller cars are cheaper to insure and easier to park. Does it need to be a 5 door for passengers or is it likely to be just you, If so plump for a 3 door as they are cheaper.
Do you do drive in a relatively flat area or is it hilly? This could determine whether you get a 4 wheel drive or not. Is it hot where you live?, Do you need air con or can you live without it?
Just think about the journeys you take and the way in which you drive and then decide what kind of vehicle you need. Trust me this will save you loads.
Now that you have decided on what type of vehicle to buy you need to know the best tips on how to save money buying a car right?
Top Tips For Buying A Car
The Best Time To Buy A Used Car:
Is there a best time to buy a used car?. Yes. If buying from a dealer it is a bit easier to get a bargain. Here in the UK new registration models are released in early March and early September. This means that just before this time dealers are going to want to free up some space on the forecourt.
They do this by slashing prices on some of the models that are already sitting there. Also, there are quarterly sales targets to meet so when you know when these dates are this can help you as well. A bit of digging on the internet would help with this.
Timing your visit to the dealership is also crucial. A rainy Wednesday afternoon is going to be a better time to grab a good deal than a sunny Saturday morning. If the showroom has been quite then the dealers are more likely to get you a good deal.
Also when the question of how to choose a car comes up a dealer can be quite helpful as they will be able to steer you towards the right car when you tell them your needs.
When buying from a private seller it isn’t quite as easy to get a good deal based on timing but you can pick quieter periods when there are fewer people looking for cars. For example school holidays or the Festive period.
Cheapest Cars To Run
One of the things people tend to focus on when buying a car is the initial cost. Of course, if you keep the car for many years then the cost of running it year on year can be almost as great. This is something to bear in mind when looking at how to choose a car.
You ideally want the car that is going to meet your needs but also the cheapest one to run in that particular section you are looking at.
Petrol Or Diesel Car:
There has always been a long-standing argument over which is better the petrol or diesel car. It changes as well based on diesel vs petrol price. At the moment especially in the UK petrol prices are at a reasonable level. Unless you are doing galactic mileage it makes sense to get a petrol car.
Yes, diesel engines can be more economical but they are more expensive to buy in the first place and can be more expensive to fix if problems arise. Added to the fact that the road tax is more expensive and also there could soon be extra fees to be paid for making diesel cars into major cities and all of a sudden that petrol vs diesel car issue seems to have been solved.
For me, it is petrol all the way and if you are looking at how to save money buying a car then this is a good place to start, Buy petrol.
Great news guys, with cars the smaller the better! That’s right if you are looking to save when buying a car the smallest one that fits your needs will save you money.
Not only are they generally cheaper to buy but smaller cars will be amongst the cheapest cars to run as they use less fuel and they have smaller tires which are cheaper as well not to mention all the parts that may be required to fix them when they go wrong will cost less.
The added bonus with smaller cars is also they are the cheapest cars to insure and the cheapest cars to tax as well.
All in all the smaller the better.
As with the smaller cars when it comes to the cheapest cars to run then you have to go for the smaller engines. They use less fuel and therefore save you money. If it is a city car you are after then a small engine is perfect.
Smaller engines will also cut insurance costs which will keep your monthly bills down.
This can hurt you when it comes to saving money by buying a car. Here is an example. My wife has a 3-year-old 1.4ltr VW Golf. Her road tax is £30 per year because the vehicle produces low emissions.
I have a 1.4 ltr Vw golf too but mine is 15 years old so it has higher emissions due to the engine technology not being as good as my wifes. I pay £200 per year.
Check the Co2 output of the vehicle you intend to buy as this will have a dramatic effect on the cost of your yearly road tax.
Protect Your Investment:
No matter what car you choose to buy it is a large investment of money and you need to make sure you protect that investment as this if something goes wrong you could lose a lot of money.
Make sure you get an HPI check. Yes, they cost you a little bit of money but the amount of money you could lose if you end up buying a car that has been stolen or has finance remaining on it is immeasurable.
A simple HPI check can check for the above issues as well as if the car has been involved in any accidents and this can all be done very quickly and for a small cost.
Some second-hand car dealerships will do an HPI check for you at no added cost which is handy but for the small amount, it does cost it is worth every penny.
Paying For The Car:
Make sure however you pay for the car that some of the cost gets put on to a credit card as this will give you added protection should something go wrong down the line.
A friend of mine had paid £5000 for his car and he had put £1000 of it on his credit card. 6 months down the line the engine had a massive failure which would have cost him £3000 to repair. The credit card company paid him in full for the car as he had paid some of it on the card.
Credit card companies are just as liable as the company you brought the car from if something goes wrong. So pay a little on your card if you can to add that extra level of protection.
Although you have to pay for servicing making sure it is regular will prolong the car’s life and therefore save you money in the long run. Oil changes and coolant changes help protect the engine and therefore protect your investment.
If you have your service book stamped this will also help keep resale value at a peak.
What To Check When Buying A Second-Hand Car:
One of the things people don’t include when looking at how to save money buying a car is the pre-checks you should make. Most people don’t really know much about cars and their inner workings which is why it is useful to know what to check when buying a second-hand car.
Firstly get in the vehicle and check every button and knob works and controls what it is supposed to control. If anything doesn’t work either walk away or haggle for money off.
Windows, radio, aircon, lights, seats, wipers. Absolutely everything that can be operated needs checking.
Next, get out and look around the vehicle bodywork. Get down level with it and check along the whole of the side of the vehicle looking for badly painted areas or dents and scratches. Anything that can give you wiggle room for a reduced price.
Look under the bonnet. You may not know how to strip an engine but you know whether it has oil or coolant leaks just by looking for the signs. Walk away if it has either.
Check for repairs to bodywork, this is easy to spot. All bodywork gaps should match so where the wing meets the body should be the same size gap both sides of the car.
Check-in wheel arches for overspray. If a car has been sprayed the wheel arches are often overlooked when it comes to covering them to protect against paint so these often have small amounts of paint sprayed into the arch. A sure sign it has had damage repair.
Buying a car can be one of the most expensive things you can buy so any way of saving money is going to help. Good luck in your hunt for a new car and I hope you have easy motoring.