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GEM publish consumer-boosting car buyers’ checklist

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 14:27
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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.

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