Before you buy

10 January 2008

Before you buy

Name Julian Suche
Subject Discount heaven

I copied an e-mail to 10 dealers asking for a Freelander 2 TD GS Auto with metallic paint, mats and privacy glass.

Within 12 hours, eight were fighting for my business. My original quote was about 520 per month on a PCP, and one came back with a quote, including Supaguard and Gap insurance, of 455 per month - a saving of 12.5%.

The total price came to 24,124, about 8% less than the What Car? Target Price. It was a painless experience.

Name Eric Robinson
Subject The importance of shopping around
I bought a new BMW 320d and got a great deal because I took the trouble to shop around. I presented my local dealer with a copy of a quote from an internet broker, which he couldn't quite match.

He did, however, get pretty close and I got a good price for my old car as a part-exchange.

I feel I got the best of both worlds: a great price and the security of dealing with a local franchised dealership.

Name Subin Paul
Subject Getting a good deal
Take time to research - it's vital to be patient. There's lots of information on the web. Make up a shortlist - not just the cars, but the dealers who you think will give you a good discount.

After all that, you should be able to get a good deal, even if you're not good at haggling.

Name Tony Tootill
Subject History checks
Always validate the history of a used car. Professional checks for credit and accident damage should cost about 30.

Check all electrical items are working, and never buy a car without the correct paperwork. Be sure to check the owner's address.

Name Nick Hannant
Subject Brochure requests
When I last bought a car, I made a shortlist and requested brochures from all the manufacturers to get as much information as I could.

Those that didn't send me brochures, I rejected. If they can't be bothered to send a brochure, you can hardly expect them to offer a decent service.

Name Phillip Fields
Subject Buying used
Check every little detail before buying a used car - that means everything from the windscreen washers to the head restraints.

It may seem over the top, but even minor faults can end up costing you a lot of money.

Name Robert Hawthorne
Subject Use your head; don't rush
It's often tempting to buy the first car you see, but don't.

Take a look at a few cars before making a decision. That way, you'll have a good idea of what's available within your budget.

If you're looking at a second-hand car, make sure you give it an HPI check and full inspection before you part with your cash.

Name Troy Dunstan
Subject Know your subject
Don't listen to what the salesman tells you when you're buying a car. Do you own research by reading magazines and be sure to check out the experience of other owners by using the internet.

You'll rarely get an unbiased viewpoint from a salesman.