Brand new or almost new?
Maybe it’s an odd question – after all, who wouldn’t want a brand-new car? However, there’s quite an important word the car salesperson probably won’t mention to you: depreciation. As soon as you drive off the forecourt, your brand-new car is instantly worth less than you just paid for it. In fact, the AA reckons the average new car sheds around 40% of its value in the first 12 months.
Here’s the good news for savvy buyers: depreciation can make nearly-new models much, much cheaper than a brand-new equivalent. Think about it as letting someone else pay for that initial depreciation.
The manufacturer’s warranty could be a life-saver
All new cars come with a guarantee. That means a main dealer should be able to fix manufacturing faults – the majority of warranties last for a minimum of three years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first) according to Carbuyer.
If you’re buying used, check to see how much of the warranty is left – it could help you avoid some big repair bills. Remember though, even the best warranties don’t tend to cover wear and tear items like tyres and brake pads.
Most of us aim for trouble-free motoring. So before you rush off to the showrooms, check the reviews on car websites to make sure the model you like doesn’t have a reputation for breaking down.
Vroomm, vroom. What size engine do you need?
A car with a large, powerful engine might be great for acceleration or pulling heavy loads, but that may be where the benefits end.
Frankly, a big-engined car will likely be expensive to buy, fuel and maintain. Then there’s insurance: this can be eye-wateringly expensive, especially if you’re young. Picking a car with a small engine – say, around 1.0 litres – can help keep insurance costs down. Other features, like auto emergency braking (AEB), could help you save money on insurance too.
When’s the best time to buy?
If you’re after a new car, you could look for dealers offering discounted pre-registered or demonstration models, or special manufacturer offers. Some believe that dealers offer their best discounts at the end of a month or quarter, when they’re under pressure to meet manufacturer sales targets, so it could be worth keeping this in mind.
With new registrations out in March and September, there’s often a glut of used cars available. Dealers are usually keen to get them sold quickly, so be prepared to haggle for the best deal!
Do you have a B account? If so, here’s how it can help
Savings Pots are a great way to save towards a deposit or the full cost of a car. Put a little, or a lot, away every week or month – whatever works for you. It doesn’t take long for your savings to build up when you stick to your plan. And putting in a little extra when you can will get you on the road even sooner.
More tips on buying a car
Honest John - Down to earth information about buying
What car - With new registrations out in March and September, there’s often a glut of used cars available. Dealers are usually keen to get them sold quickly, so be prepared to haggle for the best deal!
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