Never pay more than you should on your next vehicle. Cars are generally our second largest capital outlay after our homes, but a lot of people spend more than they need to when buying a car, which can mean thousands of pounds.
Whether you are looking to splash out on a luxury new saloon, or an old second-hand banger to give your child a vehicle to learn in, there are always significant savings to be found if you know where to look and how to ask. This guide outlines five simple pieces of advice that will help you to get the very best deal on your car, no matter what you’re looking to buy.
Set your budget in advance
Car salesmen are very talented in talking people into paying more than they had planned to get a slightly better model or a few extras here and there. If you set yourself a budget in advance then you are better prepared for the price negotiations and are more likely to avoid paying too much.
Think about “nearly new” or second-hand
New cars are a luxury item that lose a significant fraction of their value the moment you drive them off the lot. Buying the same model that is in perfect condition, only a few months old, and with under 1,000 miles on the clock can save you a significant sum.
Could you part exchange?
If you are looking to upgrade your car then you might be able to find the best deal by discussing a part-exchange with your car dealership. In these transactions, the dealership will take your current car off your hands and knock off a corresponding amount off the price of the car you are looking to buy.
It is up to the dealership how much they might offer for your car, but value my car tools should give you a useful guide for how much you should expect for a car of a similar age and model.
Buy at the right time
If you are buying a new or second-hand car off a private seller then the time of year may have little impact, but second-hand car dealerships have quarterly targets to meet and bonuses available. This means that towards the end of March, June, September and December the dealers may be more inclined to offer an extra few hundred pounds off the price to make the sale or will throw in some optional extras for free to sweeten the deal.
Choose a quiet day
There are a rush of people that head to car showrooms straight after payday to buy a new car, and with so many potential leads the salesmen will be less likely to offer any discounts. Generally try to avoid buying a car at the weekend with everyone else, as the fewer people around the dealership the more scope there will be for discounts or improved finance deals.
Buy an ‘old plate’
If you want a nearly new car but aren’t worried about having the newest registration on your car (it changes every six months anyway and you could always put a private one on) then there could be a good deal to be had on an ‘older’ model once the plates have changed. People paying full price for new cars want a new registration on the car, so if you are prepared to accept the older registration then there may be significant savings to be had the week after the new registrations go live in March and September.
Choose an older model
Car manufacturers tend to update their car models around every three years. Sometimes these changes are revolutionary, but most of the time they are iterative improvements on the model before and so if you are happy without the latest bells and whistles you should be able to find a deal on an older model of the same car.
Whenever you go, it is worth remembering that the sales people you are dealing with are also people with pressures on them, be that from targets or a desire to sell a certain type of car. In these situations, it is always more likely that you will get a better deal by being nice rather than bullish and confrontational.