Things to remember when buying a new car

With the scrappage scheme coming to an end, sales of new cars are expected to drop. Scrappage sales accounted for nearly 20 per cent of all new cars bought since the scheme began in 2009, and once it is over, the fall in demand could provide car buyers with the chance to pick up a bargain.

New registration plates come in on the 1st March and 1st September every year in order to boost car sales. This would indicate the best time to get a bargain on a new car is just before the new registration plates are introduced, in late February or August.

This will be the time when dealers are desperate to get rid of older registration cars to make way for the new plates, making it easier for you to get more money off.

However, if you’re looking for a car at any time of the year, there are certain things you can do to help you get the perfect deal on a new car.

We’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when you’re ready to buy a new car.

Be prepared

Before going along to the dealer, decide on what car you want. Preferably you will already know what make and model of car you want to buy. You will also need to consider whether you want a petrol, diesel or an alternatively fuelled car.

The next step is to do some research on the chosen car. Use the internet to find out the expected price of the car – this gives you a better idea of how much you should be paying and how much it may be possible to get taken off the price.

Check here for all the best car deals online before you head to a dealership.

Buying a new car is probably the second most expensive thing you’ll buy after a house, so shop around online to find the best deal you can.

At the dealership

First of all, keep the maximum you want to spend in mind and don’t go above it. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the deal is not exactly right for you.

When talking to the dealer, be friendly (but not desperate!) and make it known you are interested in buying a car if the deal is right. A dealer who thinks they may have a sale will be more open to negotiation.

Always try to haggle. Most dealers will have a range of acceptable prices for a car, it is up to you to try to get the best one. If the dealer asks you how much you are willing to pay for a car, state a lower amount than you actually are.

Test Drive

Always test drive a car to make sure it suits your needs. A good test drive should last as long as 30 minutes on a variety of different roads.

While on the test drive, ensure the driving position is comfortable and practical. Once in the car, check the visibility when driving and parking.

The engine should be quiet and smooth and there should be no excess smoke or rattles when the car is being driven. Similarly, the steering should be smooth and responsive.

Use the time on your test drive to ask questions and find out a bit more about the car.


If you are trading in the car, don’t overestimate or underestimate the car’s value. Try to be realistic, and get a value based on mileage, condition and age of the car.

When agreeing a price, try not to be confused by finance deals and other offers. Always focus on how much you will be paying for the whole package.

Before finalising the agreement, make sure you’ve checked over the warranty carefully and arranged delivery or collection of the new car.

Check out our guide on ways to finance your car here