Knowledge is power and it will help you when buying in 2018
Advice desk: Just so you know
First off, please note that Advice Desk queries I told people would be answered this week have had to be held due to production reasons.
They will appear in the first supplement in January. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you understand.
In the meantime, thank you for all your queries and kind comments over the year (there's plenty still coming and we are delighted to help).
Just so you know, we try to pick the four or five most representative questions each week and give as detailed an analysis as possible in the printed supplement each Wednesday.
I also reply privately to many, many queries on a regular basis. Sometimes they get stacked up, which explains the strange hours you might receive replies.
One lesson Aidan Timmons and I have learned this year is how important that little bit of knowledge can be for so many readers.
We've had dozens of people come back to say one tiny bit of information helped them enormously.
Buying a car is a huge decision and we agonise over our advice a lot because it is your hard-earned money on the line.
It is an old saying that knowledge is power, and it has never been truer of car-buying today as there is such a huge volume of new and used vehicles to choose from.
There are also now so many different sources from which to choose.
Our advice is always underpinned by the belief that you should check out, and be happy with, the company or person you are dealing with too.
We have said it a million times, so we'll go one more: buy the dealer as much as you buy the car because if something goes wrong that's when the good ones step into the breach.
Buying a car privately is risky. Always be ultra-cautious.
We can only urge you to have any prospective purchase (and vendor) checked out thoroughly, be it through word of mouth or, preferably, a good history check company.
We can give you as much advice as possible about a car, but you've got to reduce the element of risk at your end too.
But for now, as we look forward to another exciting year, let us wish you all a safe Christmas and a wonderful new year.