TRIAL: Always test drive before purchasing
GEM Motoring Assist are helping consumers negotiate a motoring minefield by producing a car buyers’ checklist.
Drawn up by GEM’s Road Test Editor, David Motton, the checklist covers effective research, proper test driving, taking on the salesman and allowing decision time.
A GEM Motoring Assist spokesperson said: “Buying a car can be an overwhelming and daunting process.
“Knowing the difference between a good deal and a rip-off usually requires you to have done your research, while the clever tactics of the salesman can lure us into parting with a lot more of our hard-earned money than we might have expected.
“But, in today’s cash-strapped environment, it’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re getting a good deal for your car purchase.
“Knowing what questions to ask and what pitfalls to look out for will help to ensure that you only buy a car that will best suit you and your needs.”
Here is the car buyers’ checklist produced by GEM Motoring Assist:
Firstly, create a shortlist by asking:
- What do you use your car for?
- Will that use change during the years that you plan to keep the car?
- How much can you afford to spend on buying and running the car?
Then, do some research:
- Compare specs and prices on manufacturer websites so that you can narrow down your shortlist
- Read professional reviews by experienced motoring journalists, as well as owner reviews and customer satisfaction surveys
New or used?
- Bear in mind that a new car will probably include a much longer warranty and will be equipped with the latest safety features
- But, a used car will cost less to buy and will hold its value better than a new model of the same price
Visit a dealer:
- Get the most from static demonstrations of a car’s features – also check the head and legroom, boot space, and move the folding seats
- If buying a used car, check that the electrical equipment is working properly, examine the bodywork for dents and scuffs, and look through the service history
Take a test drive:
- Before you set off, get comfortable – adjust the seat, wheel and mirrors
- Preferably drive on dual carriageways, as well as urban routes, to find out what the car is like at different speeds
Test the car’s performance by asking yourself:
- Does it ride bumps comfortably?
- Is the engine as responsive as you expected?
- Is it quiet or noisy at speed?
- Is all-round visibility good or do thick windscreen pillars get in the way?
- Do the brakes work smoothly?
- Does the car pull to the left or right?
When you’re ready, shop around:
- If buying a new car, research the deals offered by new car brokers
- If buying a used car, look for similar cars for sale online and take copies of any ads with comparable cars at lower prices
- Never worry about walking away from the deal if it doesn’t feel right
At the collection point:
- Once the deal is finalised and you collect the car, check it over thoroughly
- Bear in mind that a new car may have been damaged in transit, or extras that you specified may not have been fitted, while a used car may have picked up a scrape or scratch while being moved around the forecourt
- Make sure the service booklet, owner’s manual and warranty documents are included
Image courtesy of Toyota UK, with thanks.