When it comes to buying a car, even the most sensible and organised people seem to go into a complete panic, making stupid decisions and ignoring their own instincts because they are suddenly put under pressure in an uncomfortable environment.
The complete guide to getting a great deal on buying a car would fill a whole book, but since you’re probably here looking for immediate answers and advice on buying your next car, here are The Car Expert’s Ten Golden Rules on buying a new or used car. Follow these pearls of wisdom and you are far more likely to end up with a decent car – and get a decent deal on it, too.
Rule 1. Do not sign anything unless you are 100% committed to buying the car
Signing a form indicates you are legally committing to what that form says. In a car showroom, if you sign a form then you are generally agreeing to buy a car.
You don’t need to sign anything for a quote, whether it’s for a car or for finance. Any dealer that tells you that you need to sign anything “to hold the price until you make up your mind” is lying. You don’t need to do that. You are signing a contract to buy a car.
You may have to sign a test drive form to make sure you are covered for insurance purposes, but you don’t have to sign a vehicle order. If a dealer won’t allow a test drive without signing an order for the car first “subject to a satisfactory test drive”, walk away.
If you’re not 100% sure it’s what you want, or whether your significant other will like it, or if you haven’t got an insurance quote yet, or if you’re not sure it will fit in the garage, or for any other reason at all, don’t sign the form. Don’t be pressured into signing anything (see Rule 4 and Rule 9). Only sign when you are good and ready.
Once you sign a contract to buy a car, you have legally committed yourself to it and you can be held to it. Changing your mind after you sign on the dotted line is much harder than before putting pen to paper, and potentially much more expensive.
Next page: Before you reach for your wallet…