6 tips to save money buying a car

Last Modified 16th of February 2021

Buying a car is one of life’s milestones – and milestones usually come with an expensive price tag. But not necessarily! Here are 6 tips to save money buying a car:

1. Comparison engines

Many places online offer comparison prices to help you find the best deals when buying a car. If you want to specify the makes and models of cars you are looking for, try Auto Trader or even eBay. They also allow you to set the price ranges for their searches – so you’re more likely to find a car that’s fine-tuned to your needs.

2. Do a vehicle check on each car you like

As many as 30,000 used cars per year are actually made from two wrecks which are spliced together. This is referred to in the trade as “Cut and Shut” and can produce death traps which you surely would never buy, if only you knew in advance. You can if you visit HPI Check so you can check the car’s history. Be sure the car’s not a write-off, stolen, or still has repayments on it.

3. Get a ‘green’ machine

If you want to do your bit for the planet, and you’re looking for electric or low-emission cards, you should know that you can pay much lower road taxes, and even get a free pass into London’s Congestion Zone charging areas. Many companies such as Ford, Honda and Peugeot, offer electric and bio-fuel cars.

4. Get a friend to help

If you don’t really know much about cars, you will find almost certainly that one of your mates does!  They will know what to look for, and usually be able to spot problems on used cars and potential future costs. In addition, their input might even get you a lower price – always be willing to haggle.

5. Be savvy

When buying a car privately, and not from a known trader (online or in the real world), be sure to check the vehicle carefully, for example with a magnet. Run this along the bodywork to look for repairs that are fibreglass or plastic and have been camouflaged well. If you look at the car in good light, see if parts are slightly different colours, which might indicate a less-than-happy past. Take a flashlight and a mirror to check the underside of the car as well, especially for rust or other damage. Anything that looks less than ‘near new’ can get you a lower price from the seller as well.

6. Get a good deal on insurance

When buying insurance, compare carefully the coverage and costs. Always find the monthly average “real cost” over 12 months, and use this to compare what insurers are really offering. When you get quotes from them, always state the price of your lowest offer, and the name of that company, to get the best prices as well. Don’t ever pay for a car until you have checked out the insurance costs as well. And if you want to save money long term, calculate the cost of loans or financing deals over the life of the car. The dealer’s finance options can be misleading unless you do the math. You might pay as much as £15,000 – 20,000 more than you need to over a longer term when compared to a lower-rate personal loan.