Whether you’re buying your first car or are a seasoned vet, knowing what to expect at the dealership can be a daunting task in itself. While you simply want to buy a vehicle that meets your needs, the salesperson, whether online or in-person, might have other things in mind.
But, dealerships are knowledgeable places. With their well trained and informed staff at your beck and call, as well as all the juicy insider information on new makes, models and what will better your driving experience, there are a wealth of questions you should be asking at the dealership. All dealerships will have the appropriate traders insurance policy, so you can be at peace knowing you’re in safe hands buying a vehicle. We’ve rounded up our top 7 to get you started:
What can I afford?
Perhaps the biggest dealbreaker, is how much you can viably afford. Without working out your budget ahead of the showroom floor, you could be left with visions of your dream Lincoln Corsair without the means to pay for it.
First off, create a budget. Highlight your monthly expenses, such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, tax, food etc. Then, create a rough (but reasonable) budget for road tax (if any), insurance, fuel costs, MOT, maintenance and repairs.
Armed with your detailed budget, enter the dealership. Talk to your sales rep about what you can afford, and they should provide you with better insight into the true costs of the car you want. From understanding Electric Vehicles, plug-in grants and ways to fuel your car, the dealer can help by explaining all the finer details of the car you’re looking to buy.
They may discuss finance deals to help spread the payment, but bear in mind, you are free to shop around for a finance package that works best for you outside of the dealership. Plus, if you have struggled to get a loan before, your chances aren’t going to increase with a dealer alongside you.
If you’re considering getting a car loan from a country like Australia, it’s important to research and understands the different options available to you. International banks and lenders offer car loans with varying interest rates, fees, and terms, so it’s essential to compare and find a deal that suits your needs and budget.
Instead, seek a reputable bad credit car finance specialist online. They will focus on your individual circumstances and find you the best deal that won’t break the bank, while rebuilding your credit score.
What’s the best price you can offer?
While haggling down used car prices is generally more widely accepted within dealership circles, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Now this question applies to the price tag on the window and any potential finance deals. Plus, there’s nothing stopping you from asking the dealer for their best cash price either.
But you need to do a bit of work before you get to this question. By simply running a general search on various comparison websites, you can discover for yourself the rough ballpark of how much you should be expected to pay at the dealership. This rule of thumb is for any car, model or make regardless of age.
What warranties are included, and what do they cover?
A month, six months, a year down the line, you might face a series of breakdowns, eroded brake pedals or even an electronic failure with your new car. Without a manufacturer’s warranty attached, this could set you back hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.
Before signing any deal, check out what is included with your new purchase. Although most warranties and any extra servicing are covered typically with a finance package, you’d be foolish not to ask.
It doesn’t stop with new cars either. Some dealers will offer an extended warranty and breakdown cover for second hand vehicles too.
Can I take it for a test drive?
One of the best ways to find out if this car is the one for you is to take it out for a spin. So book in your test drive straight away. Get a feel for how well it drives, brakes, accelerates, and how comfortable it is in each seat. How easy is accessibility? Can you see yourself in the driver’s seat?
With new cars, you can expect a fairly standard test drive. All you need to be mindful of is things like practicality and ease of drive. However, older vehicles have a history. So listen carefully for any clunky sounds or whirring engines, and don’t forget to do an emergency stop.
If at any point you make the conclusion that this isn’t the car for you, you are free to walk away, no strings attached.
Are trade-ins available?
Frankly, few car buyers have the upfront funds to purchase a vehicle outright. They will either need to rely on finance to cover any outstanding balance or use their existing vehicle as part of a part exchange or trade payment.
The bonus of trading your car at the dealership is that you don’t have to worry about selling your car privately. Plus, it can automatically bring the cost of your desired vehicle down, making it a far more worthwhile and affordable purchase.
Does the vehicle have a service history?
If you’re buying a car fresh off the showroom floor, it’s likely that you are the first and sole owner. However, if you’re looking at a secondhand vehicle, you need to ensure that it has a clean and well-detailed service history before signing on the dotted line. This is the best way to see how well the car has been looked after in the past and will give you a clearer picture of what parts have been replaced, and how well the motor has been maintained.
Cars with a full-service history typically retain their value better than similar models with a patchy or limited service past. If the dealer struggles to come up with sufficient paperwork, it’s time to walk away.
Has the car been MOT’d?
With any reputable dealership, you can pretty much guarantee that the MOT has been taken care of ahead of purchase. However, it’s worth checking out how much longer the MOT has before expiry to ensure you get the most for your money.
Getting your hands on your dream motor has never been simpler. Armed with the correct information and a series of questions to ask the dealer, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be driving away!