It wasn’t that long ago that buying a new car involved flicking through the classified section in your local paper or picking up an Autotrader, before making countless phone calls to garages that had already sold the cars, wrong numbers and kids who didn’t know when daddy would be home, but did know that they liked the car because it was purple and big, like Barney.
Then, once you’d done that, you’d find yourself travelling all over the place to see the car, only to find that it looks nothing like the tiny picture in the magazine, and those ‘genuine miles’ mentioned in the ad were probably done underwater, judging by the amount of rust on the body work.
However, with the arrival of the internet, searching for a new car has become a great deal easier. With just a click of a mouse, you can find fuel consumption numbers, reliability tests, check owner’s clubs and forums to see what real people think, as well as a glut of other information about the vehicle.
Car sales websites are a great start--no longer restricted to tiny squares of information, ads are comprehensive and detailed, often featuring multiple pictures of the vehicle in question and more technical detail than you can shake a stick at--and quite often they’re updated in near real-time, which means that you’ll spend less time fruitlessly ringing around only to find dead ends where cars have been sold.
Of course, there is another approach to finding your new car. If you’re on a budget and want to find out which cars fit into the lowest insurance or tax groups you can do so, before visiting the classifieds with that information in hand. Insurance quotes are no longer an issue either--rather than ringing around countless insurers trying to find the best price, price comparison sites will let you check how much cover will cost you, and also allow you to tweak those applications as you do so--maybe experimenting with adding your partner or child, for example?
The more you know about the car you’re going to look at the better--after all, forewarned is forearmed, and you might find something out that you might never have dreamed of checking that could save you a bundle in the future.
As mentioned previously, checking an owner’s club for the type of car you’re going to buy can also be a great help--they know better than anybody which bits are likely to fall off, what that squeak is when you turn right in third, and what’s most likely to break and when.
This article was brought to you buy Moneysupermarket.com's Car Insurance team.