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Hotlist: money-saving steps to finding and paying for your car


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WE all know buying a car is a major event, yet we can overlook important details. It is easy to get carried away with the excitement and that’s where you can lose hundreds of euro, if not more. Here are some tips to make sure you get the car that suits you best – and the least expensive way of paying for it.

1. Be ultra-careful you don’t get carried away and start thinking about a car you’d love to own, rather than the car you really need.

2. You will be tempted to spend more on higher-spec versions of new models. Be careful. A little can gradually become a lot, so keep your budget in mind.

3. Take your time deciding what you need but do trim your options to three or maybe four cars. That keeps great focus.

4. Check out the dealerships with the brands you are interested in. You are buying the dealer as well as the car. A good one means no headaches if something goes wrong.

5. Be ruthless: compare prices, equipment, fuel consumption and warranty.

6. Above all, if you have a trade-in, the only gauge to go by is the cost to change – how much the gap is between what the new car costs and the value you get for yours.

7. Check what three-year-old versions of the cars you’re interested in buying new are making on the second-hand market. That will tell you how well, or otherwise, they are regarded. Depreciation is a big factor in how much it costs to keep a car on the road.

8. Make sure you get the best finance deal, be it a Credit Union loan, a bank term-loan, a PCP, HP etc. Compare and bargain. You could lose hundreds of euro in higher interest rates if you don’t. Research last year found 27pc of buyers do not know the interest rate on their deal. Hard to believe. Even a 2pc in the difference could mean paying hundreds more.

9. Make absolutely certain you ‘stress-test’ your repayments. How would you be fixed if something happened to affect your ability to meet the payments?

10. Give the cars on your shortlist a test drive. Make sure they fit you in terms of seating, access, driving position etc. Better to be sure than sorry.

11. Try to shop locally – give your nearest dealer a chance. Faraway hills are not always greener.

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