The internet is a paradise for bargain hunters looking for great deals on small items. But even people buying big ticket items can use the online world to bag themselves a bargain.
Is the price right?
The first and possibly most important thing that the internet can help with is making sure you don’t pay too much for your car. Online car buying sites such as Autotrader and eBay give you a quick way to look at listings for similar vehicles so you can see if the price seems reasonable, while services like Kelley’s Blue Book and Parker’s give you recommended price listings.
Knowing what other places are charging for a vehicle puts you in a much better position to barter for a bargain as you have the confidence that you can get it cheaper elsewhere, and you’ll feel comfortable saying no to a rip off price.
Is it what you think it is?
A car that’s not been driven much, never been in an accident and has been fully serviced and taken care of is more valuable than one which has clocked up a lot of miles and had some knocks and bumps. Some unscrupulous sellers will try and cover up problems or even outright lie about a used car’s history, but savvy shoppers can avoid these pitfalls.
Services like AutoCheck in the US and HPI check in the UK will tell you if the car’s been in any accidents and any other information about its history. You might decide that you can get a better deal on a car with a more colourful past, which is fine as long as you’re aware of the risks involved. It’s also wise to get a used car checked by a mechanic.
How are you paying for it?
If you pay cash for your car, you know that you’re only paying the price you’ve agreed for it. If you buy it on finance, you will be charged interest. Dealers offer finance with cars, but it’s often not the best package you can get. If you arrange your finance first you get more time to consider different deals, and it also means you know what you can spend when you go to buy your car. You’re less likely to be talked into spending more than you want to or paying high interest rates and fees.
Can you trust the dealer?
Buying a car isn’t the only stage of the process, and it isn’t the only time you can end up paying over the odds. If something goes wrong with your new purchase you might find it expensive to get it repaired, which is why it helps to buy from a reputable dealer and get a good warranty.
Sites such as Edmunds and Cardealerreviews can help you to make a decision that you feel happy with.