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The ten golden rules for buying a car

Buying a new or used car? Follow these pearls of wisdom to get the right car at the right price.

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When it comes to buying a car, even the most sensible and organised people can go into a complete panic. They make stupid decisions and ignore their 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 for buying a new or used car.

There’s nothing in here that is complicated or difficult, and we will show you how anyone can get a great deal on a car. You don’t have to know anything about cars or car finance, you just have to trust your own judgment and ask questions whenever you don’t understand something.

Follow our golden rules and you are far more likely to end up with a decent car – and get a decent deal on it, too.

Rule 1. Don’t sign anything unless you are 100% committed to buying the car

Signing a form indicates you are committing to what that form says. In a car showroom, signing a form generally means you’re agreeing to buy a car – and it’s usually a legally-binding commitment.

You don’t need to sign anything for a quote, whether it’s a price for the car or a quotation on car finance. Any dealer telling you that you need to sign something “to hold the price until you make up your mind” is lying. You don’t need to do that. You are probably 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 let you test drive a car without signing an order “subject to a satisfactory test drive” beforehand, walk away.

If you’re not 100% sure that this car is the one 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.

Do your homework first and make sure you have all your ducks lined up in a row before committing yourself. Don’t be pressured into signing anything (see Rule 4 and Rule 9) by anyone. Only sign when you are good and ready.

The Car Expert ten golden rules - don't sign a contract unless you're 100% committed
The most important of all the golden rules – don’t sign anything unless you are 100% committed to buying the car!

Once you sign a contract to buy a car in a car showroom, 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 beforehand, and usually much more expensive.

Next page: Before you reach for your wallet…

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.