Buying a new carChoosing, ordering and taking delivery of a new car can be a enjoyable thing, but there’s more to it than walking into a dealer and signing on the dotted line. We show you how to buy the right car, the right way.

Choosing the right car

Big, small, fast or frugal, there’s a new car to suit everyone. But with so much choice, it can be hard to narrow down your choices.

It’s vital you can afford that shiny new car, but the price on the windscreen is just the starting point. You’ll need to work out how much you can afford a month, if you’re buying on finance, and you’ll need to estimate how much your fuel, tax, insurance and servicing will cost.

You’ll also need to choose something that fulfils your needs – a small hatchback will be no good for towing a large caravan or carting six passengers.

How Auto Trader can help:
Choosing the right car
Setting your budget
Comparing new and used cars

Test driving a new car

Dealers expect buyers to take a new car out on a test drive before purchase, and unlike used cars, new ones don’t require a mechanical mind to check them out.

You will need to make sure the car is what you’re looking for, so make sure you have a decent drive on a variety of roads and try to put it to the test. If you need a big boot, try filling it with your usual cargo, squeeze the kids into a family car, or take a big, comfortable cruiser on a motorway run.

Paying for your new car

You’ve found your perfect car, so you’ll need to pay for it. There are many different ways to pay, each with their own advantages, so it’s important to understand them – choosing the wrong finance package could leave you paying over the odds.

Hire purchase, Personal Contract Purchases (PCPs), personal loans or hard cash are just some of the options. Which is best depends on your circumstances, how much the car costs and the size of the repayments.

How Auto Trader can help:
Understanding car loans and finance
How to pay for your car
Checking your credit rating

Doing the paperwork

Once you’ve come to an agreement on price, equipment and delivery times, it’s time for the paperwork. Dealers will supply forms and invoices much like any other retailer, but you’ll need to ensure you come away with manuals, service history booklet and the V5C logbook document.

Keep them all safe because you’ll need them when you come to sell.

Returning a car

The vast majority of new car purchases go without a hitch, but occasionally you might find something has gone wrong.

There are some golden rules to arrive at an acceptable outcome: tell the dealer as soon as possible, keep conversations friendly and document all contact, keeping all letters and emails. Never refuse to pay finance – the lender could repossess the car, or any assets the loan is secured on.

As a new car buyer, you are protected by some far-reaching laws, so seek advice from your local citizens’ advice bureau or a recognised trade body.

How Auto Trader can help:
Returning a car
Useful contacts