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Key factors to consider before you buy a car now – or wait until next year

Time is running out for 2022 – should you wait or take what’s on offer?


Couple buying a car

Couple buying a car

Couple buying a car

Judging by the big fall-off in new-car buying last month (down 17.3pc), a lot of people are going to wait until the new year to splash out.

However, there’s still bound to be some demand for August buying – if only dealers could get enough vehicles.

While some marques are reporting decent stock levels, others are bemoaning the fact they could sell a lot more, if they had them.

As I see it, there’s a number of things you should probably decide on over the next few days if you’re in the market for a new car in the near or medium term.

You’ve got to decide now on when you part with your money. It’s a big call, but August is a bit late to be buying new. Dealers are taking 2023 orders already, I’ll bet.

Critically, your answer may dictate a number of other areas of importance.

For example, it could mean either you do or you don’t get a major overhaul/service of your existing car if you have one.

But remember, you should always – regardless of sale date – make sure the car is safe and roadworthy for you and others.

Also, ask yourself if you feel you’re getting all the new car you want, and are you happy with only having this year’s reg for four or five months?

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You have time to think about things like that at this remove if you put off buying until January.

Otherwise, the decision is being made for you, and good luck with that.

It may also affect how you plan your finances. Right now, money is relatively cheap, but with interest rates rising across the board and more increases expected, it might be worth considering looking around at where you can get the sort of money you need at the best rate come January if you decide to wait.

That may involve doing a deal with your credit union or bank or something specific such as a PCP arrangement (some institutions do PCP for used cars too) for the new vehicle you’re ordering.

Make sure you know you can afford the repayments in all cases. The lender will check as best as possible, but you should be honest with yourself and err on the side of conservative in case of an unforeseen outlay.

Your decision to buy or not to buy now may also give you time to change your mind about what sort of car you should get.

For example, you may have planned on a petrol for now, but in the event of not going ahead this month or year, should you be thinking about electric? Or hybrid, and take the first step?

Are you sure you’re fully aware of the vintage of the new car you’re thinking of buying? Check if it’s really the latest version (facelifted or brand new), and not a previous one, as can often be the case.

You might read or hear about the new X, but maybe it won’t be here until October or November for the 2023 market and what you’re buying is the older version.

Even if you have ordered one, you should ask your dealer.

Buying secondhand is a whole different game as I’m sure you know, and sales are spread more evenly through the year, though there is quite a shortage of good stock.

If you decide to wait until next year, try following the general path just outlined for new cars, with one exception added – always buy from a trusted source.

Dealers often know of a good trade-in coming months in advance. Get your name down now.