Here are 10 things you need to do when buying a new car
1. Decide what you need: not what you'd love or want (unless you've won the Lotto). Stick to your guns, because you will be tempted to spend more and a little can gradually become a lot.
2. Trim your options to three, maybe four cars. Take your time.
3.Check out the dealerships in your area. Remember you are 'buying' the dealer as well as the car. A good one means you have no headaches if/when something goes wrong.
4.Closely compare prices, equipment levels, fuel consumption, warranty.
5. Check to see what three-year-old versions of the cars are making on the used market. Residual values are part of your running costs. You'll realise that when you come to trade-in
6.Decide on your finances early in the process. Make sure you understand what is involved - be it a Credit Union loan, a bank term-loan or a PCP.
7. Even more important: make absolutely certain you 'stress test' the repayments. Allow for the fact that something could happen that could temporarily affect your ability to meet the payments. Don't 'go to the limit'. Leave yourself some leeway. Keep levels comfortable.
8. If you have a trade-in, don't be distracted by what one dealer is giving you over another. The only thing you need to concentrate on is the Cost of Change - what the deal (new and used) is costing you.
9. Test drive the car extensively and, above all, make sure it 'fits' you. I am surprised by the number of people looking to change after a year because a car doesn't 'suit' them.
10. Drive a hard bargain by all means; play one dealer off against the other if needs be, but remember they have to make a profit of some sort - otherwise they're out of business.