So I've finally done it, I've got rid of my little KA and upgraded to a brand new second hand car. An impending MOT and a list of problems with the KA pretty much sealed the deal - I didn't want to pay to fix it when I was thinking of buying a new car in the next six months so I was forced to speed up the buying plan.
And realistically, as sad as it was to see Bug the KA driving off into the sunset, I was so ready for a new car.
I started looking online and then realised I literally had no idea what I should be looking out for, or what I should be avoiding. Today I'm sharing what I learnt, so that buying a new car becomes easier and less of a hassle.
1. Pick a reputable garage - I don't think there is anything worse than the idea of buying a car, and days or hours, the engine couching and spluttering and then cutting out. Now I'm not saying that this will happen with a car from a small independent garage, but generally speaking it seems that the warranty from the known garages is bigger than those the smaller garages.
2. Have an idea of what you want to spend - Go to the garage with a game plan and only look at the cars that fall inside your budget. I fell in love with a beautiful car on the forecourt of the garage with would have been perfect, but it was two grand too expensive. I would genuinely have had to sell a kidney to afford it.
3. Have an idea of the size or model you want - It's pretty simple. Otherwise you'll spend hours wandering round and round/surfing the internet without actually getting anywhere.
4. Keep the mileage low - The lower the mileage, the less miles the car will have done, and in theory the less likely the engine will have parts worn that will need replacing. That combined with the fact the car should last longer, makes whatever you choose to buy a much better investment.
5. Check the brake pads for a lip - Shove your fingers behind the hub caps and check the brake pads don't have a huge lip on the edge. If they do, steer well clear as this means you'll be replacing the brakes before you even realise.
6. Check the front and back number plates match - If they don't, its proper dodgy, and not even worth you buying it. My guess would be that the odd plates would be the least of your problems.
7. Pop the bonnet - My mechanic brother gave me the complete lecture about checking for a clean engine. Start by looking for leaks around the engine. Check that the nuts (I guess that's what they'd be called) look like they haven't been unscrewed in a long time. Better that than anyone fiddling with the inside of the engine!
8. Always test drive - How are you seriously able to tell what a car is like without taking it for a test drive? You may even find that you do't like the way it feels and rule out a certain model or make because of it. Spend the drive listening for knocking or rattles, try the brakes and window screen wipers to make sure everything is in proper working order.
9. Have a peak at the foot pedals and ignition - If they look like they've seen better days, then there's more of a chance that the car was owned by a boy racer, as silly as it sounds. I would avoid that because realistically I want a car that hasn't had the engine regularly pushed to it limits.
10. Find car you like and remember to ask about the fees - Nothing worse that finding your dream car then finding it isn't as affordable as first thought because of the hidden fees.
What do you think? Is there anything else you'd check for when buying a car?