BUYING a new car can be daunting and there are plenty of decisions to be made, ranging from what car you’re going to buy to which colour it comes in and the mod-cons you want included.
So when it comes time to closing the deal, you want to sign the papers and be on the way with your new car, right?
Well before you sign away on that little dotted line, make sure you’ve asked the car dealer (and yourself) these questions:
CAN YOU DO ANY BETTER?
Don’t settle for any price. Negotiate and if the dealer isn’t willing to budge, be willing to go and see what other dealerships are offering.
WILL YOU THROW IN A FEW ACCESSORIES?
If the dealership won’t budge on the price, and you still think it’s the best you’re going to get, ask them to throw in a few accessories such as a set of floor mats or mudflaps, and so on.
CAN I TAKE IT FOR A TEST DRIVE?
This is one of the most important steps to buying a car. Before you can fully know if the car is right for you, you first have to experience it in its entirety. Drive it at highway speeds, and in stop-start city traffic to test it properly.
DO I LOVE IT?
On paper, the car might tick all the boxes and suite your practical needs, but if you don’t love driving it, it’s going to be a long and tedious relationship. Buy something that covers your priorities, but make it something that you also love to drive.
WHO ELSE HAS DRIVEN THE CAR?
Sometimes, especially if you’re buying a demonstrator model, the car may have been driven by other people. Make sure you know about it and inspect the vehicle accordingly. You don’t want to drive out with a new car that’s already done a few handbreak turns and sideways skids.
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
This isn’t referring to the cost of the car. It’s worth finding out if the car has had any damage to it during the transit process. Has it been repainted, any parts replaced, and so on. If nothing else, it might chop a few numbers off the price tag.
WHERE’S THE CLOSEST SERVICE CENTRE TO MY HOUSE?
If you have to drive to the other side of town a couple of times a year just to get the car serviced, it’s going to become a real hassle, really quickly.
HOW LONG IS YOUR WARRANTY, AND WHAT DOES IT COVER?
Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and what your car is covered for in the warranty to save any surprise costs down the track.
WHAT’S THE TOTAL PRICE FOR THE CAR?
The dealer may tell you the cost of the car is $20,000, but that doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll be paying at the end of the day. By the time you add on interest, commission and any hidden costs, you could be paying a few thousand dollars more than you had expected. If repayments are broken down into monthly amounts, keep your eye on the big picture and make sure you know exactly what you’ll be paying at the end of the payment period, particularly if you want to pay the car off early. Also ask for the invoice so you can see what you’re paying for and avoid getting stumped for any hidden costs.
IS THE CAR IN THE DEALERSHIP?
Last but not least, know where your car is coming from. Is it already sitting in the dealership’s yard, or is it coming to you straight off the boat? This way you can make sure you’re only buying a car that’s guaranteed to arrive by the date you want to make it yours and drive it home.