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How to buy a car in five easy steps

20th January 2021 Print

Stylish, performance-driven and dare I say it, practical, the cars arriving at the dealership have never looked so good. What’s more, the dreaded haggle match with the salesperson has been sidelined for the knowledgeable, research savvy consumer. 

Everything, as they say, is only a few clicks away. Your perfect set of wheels down to the best financing options are all accessible online. Meaning, no more waiting around on a forecourt and almost instant loan approvals. From typing away on your keyboard to sitting behind the wheel, you can drive away with your new car in some cases on the very same day. 

Want to know how to buy a car in five easy steps? Read on to see how:

1. Check out your financing options

You might be itching to get straight on down to the dealership but finding out what you can afford first will make budgeting much more straightforward later on. Paying monthly instalments not only makes owning a new car more manageable, but it opens up a more comprehensive range of vehicles for you to choose from. 

While breaking down your budget, you need to consider the following:

- How much money can I pay upfront? This covers any potential deposits or keeping your monthly payments down to a minimum. Whatever you put down, make sure you are not overstretching your budget!

- Fuel costs

- Road tax & insurance

- Repairs & maintenance


Most warranties cover a range of the repairs and maintenance costs, as well as saving you money in the first few years. It’s worth checking out the fine print before choosing the right deal for you. 

Want to take the financing plunge but worried about your credit score? You can even finance a car with a poor credit score. In today’s ever-evolving industry, everyone needs to start somewhere, and the good news is, many finance companies have recognised this too!

2. Do your research

Now that you have your finance approved, you can begin the next leg of your buying journey - finding your dream vehicle! With your budget margins set, all you need to do is keep an eye out for reliability and how much it is to insure. Other than that, the world’s your oyster. 

While online, you can check out everything from consumer reviews to industry expert opinions on pretty much every car on the market. You can see vehicles in action on the roads and can even take a virtual tour. 

3. Find a quote online

Once you have a general idea of what you are looking for, or even found “the” car for you, you can search for a quote online. Not only does this give you a rough ballpark to aim for, but you can use this as a guideline if you choose to walk onto the showroom floor. 

With the world at your fingertips, you can order your chosen car online to arrive pretty much on your doorstep (or the closest dealership!) This way, you can cut out the middle man entirely and avoid the awkward salesperson banter. 

For most of us though, seeing a vehicle in the flesh is all part of the fun. 

4. Book in a test drive

“Try before you buy” is an age-old mantra that has turned the tide on many purchasing decisions. Buying a car isn’t a small purchase after all - it is a major one! So book in a test drive at your nearest dealership. 

A test drive reveals a lot of things about a car. While behind the wheel, you can see how the car handles and performs at speed, how spacious it is, all while making sure that there are no little dings in the paintwork. If you don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel at this stage, this isn’t the vehicle for you. 

What’s more, if you are buying a secondhand car, there are many extra things to look out for, even if you are at a reputable garage. Make sure you pay attention to the brakes, the steering wheel, and listen to the engine. Have a once over of the outer and inner bodywork. Ensure all the safety features from the safety belt to windrow wipers are up to scratch. 

If your whole buying experience is done online, a test drive is 100% the most crucial step in the buying process! 

5. Signing on the dotted line

You’ve chosen the car, you’ve taken it out for a spin, and it’s even featured in your dreams. That car is all but yours, but you need to sign the paperwork before its finally in your hands. 

Now you need to pay attention. When you are handed the final paperwork at the dealership, read every word. Make sure that everything in that purchase agreement matches the agreement you have made via email or over the phone. If you notice something that isn’t quite right, do not sign. At this stage, you still hold all the power. You can walk away if you need to. 

With that in mind, make sure you check:

- Your financing: if the dealership offers you a better deal, check all your Ts & Cs and go for it

- Warranty: This may surprise you, but you can turn down the extended warranty. These days, most cars are way more reliable and are less likely to spend as much time at the garage as previous models. Again, do your research first. 

Happy with your deal? Go for it! 

Buying a car has never been easier. With the world of motoring at your fingertips, you can get everything from your financing to driving away with your dream car on the same day!