Cars. Big things, wheels, get you from A to B. Yep. I don’t find them very exciting, but, I do admit they come in useful.
I’ve bought one or two in my time since that old Fiesta. The first time I bought a car from a proper dealership I took my then boyfriend with me to pick it up. The salesman said to him: “So are you treating the lady to new wheels then?” I’ve learned a lot about sexism since then but, sadly, not all that much about cars.
I still don’t know enough to know what you can learn from kicking tyres or peering under the bonnet. Buying a car – every time is an act of faith. It’s essential that you find a dealership with salespeople (sadly, I have yet to meet a car saleswoman!) you can trust. Here’s how you can find one:
Ask your friends. Everyone who’s got a car – which is pretty much everyone. Ask them why the chose it, who they bought it from and why. You might get a list of who to avoid like the proverbial. Same goes for places to sell your car.
Suck it and see. Visit the car showrooms. How do they make you feel? Did someone come to greet you? Gut instinct is always worth paying attention to. For example, KAP Motors stock an extensive range of used cars in Brighton. You can also check the stock and book online before you get there.
Ignore your gut instinct. Buying a car is a logical and rational process. It pays to keep a tight grip on this and ignore the charm and smarm of even the most polished sales people.
Do your homework. The internet is your friend. Use it to learn about the kind of car you might want and the places you could buy it from. Take notes if necessary. (I have to do this because, like quantum physics, while I’m reading about it, it all makes sense, but the moment I look away, it’s gone).
Respect honesty. Does the salesperson tell you about the down-side of the vehicle you’re interested in? Do you get the idea that they’re interested in what you need rather than their commission? This matters.
Take your time. It makes sense – if you’re being rushed to decide, then something smells a bit fishy. There are a gazillion cars out there, so even if it’s true that this one will be gone by next week, there are others. It’s one of the MoneySavingExpert’s top pieces of advice.
Take your time – part 2. When I chose my current car, I was busy, hectic and failed totally to do the necessary research. The result is that I’m lumbered with a car that, at best, I feel ‘meh’ about. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good car, just very meh. If I’d thought about it and shopped around, I’d have found something that brings me a little more joy.