8 great tips to help you when buying a car

<b>WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:</b> Buying a car in 2016? Make sure you are informed and know when the best time is to purchase. <i>Image: iStock</i>
<b>WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:</b> Buying a car in 2016? Make sure you are informed and know when the best time is to purchase. <i>Image: iStock</i>

Cape Town - If you want to buy a car straight out the box or something second-hand in 2016, there are things you need to know.

Dial Direct Insurance says you can do all your research on a vehicle you’d like to buy from your home - making you well-prepared to negotiate the best deal when meeting with a dealer or private seller. Below follows some more tips from the company.

Be informed

John October from Dial Direct said: “There are so many models and types of cars on the market, it can become confusing. The more informed you are the more in control, confident and relaxed you will be about your purchase.

Know your needs and priorities, says the insurance company. Some questions to bear in mind are: Will you be doing a lot of mileage? Is it a family car? Do you prefer a smaller vehicle or something heftier? Will you need a lot of boot space?

October said: “Trends in 2016 include hybrid vehicles which are promoted as more 'eco-friendly' vehicles. The price of petrol is a big issue so fuel consumption is often top of mind when choosing a new car.

“It’s crucial to remember that a car is not an asset. They depreciate year by year. So, you need to work out if it’s worth it for you to buy a vehicle on higher purchase with interest or to rather buy what you can afford in cash.”

Buying a new car during certain parts of the year can get you a better deal because of incentives. Automakers use incentives to balance inventory or to clear out excess stock of certain models. It can depend on the launch date of a new model.

October advised: “There are two ‘best times’ to buy. The end of December is a good time because dealers are motivated to cut prices and break year-end sales records. Another good time to buy is July through October, as dealers sell off cars at lower prices to clear space for new models.”

Here are some more tips for buying a new car in 2016:
  • Do your research. If there’s a car you’re interested in buying then read up on it (there are many car buying guides and reports online) and make a list of questions to ask your dealer or the seller.
  •  Read as many reviews on the car as possible by the experts to make sure it’s the right vehicle for you.
  • Always take the car for a test drive on suburban streets as well as a highway to see how it handles.
  • Always compare prices. It’s very important to be aware of 'good' prices or 'special offers' as there is usually a catch to these. Often when dealers give you what seems like a great price, they have even more incentive to make up profit on other parts of the deal.
  • Be careful of hidden costs when signing the contract and brush up on the tactics that sales people use.
  • If you are buying a used car, every manufacturer has a certified pre-owned programme worth checking out.
  • Never rush into buying a car on impulse. Go home and take time to reflect.
  • Questions of eco-friendliness, fuel consumption and depreciation are key, so is that of buying a less expensive car cash or a more expensive one with interest.
  • Factors like the time of the month, time of year, or launch date of a new model could get you great deals.

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