Guide to buying a new car in 2018

By Liberty Insurance Ireland on 16 February 2018

Buying a new car in 2018?

You might have noticed the 2018 181 registrations on shiny new cars. It’s no surprise when you consider that there were 37,125 passenger car registrations in January and 39,003 in January 2017. It’s easy to get your head turned and feel an onrush of car envy with today’s models with an abundance of electronics and driver aids. But before you rush out and impulse buy, there are some serious considerations to take into account.

When to buy
Firstly, if you really must have that 2018 registration, you don’t have to buy in January. You can take time and study all the January offers in the comfort of knowing that there will be more or less the same offerings come July for the 182 registrations. If you’re going to spend thousands on a new car, you may as well take the time to find the right car at the right price.

What to buy
Choosing the right car can be tricky as there are so many good-looking vehicles out there. Make a checklist of what you need in car. Do you drive on the open road or in commuter traffic? Do you need a run-about or are you ferrying kids to and from school, sports activities, various classes and kids’ clubs? Pick the car that best matches your checklist.

Choosing the right fuel type is essential too. Ireland has had a love affair with diesel cars since the motor tax and Vehicle Registration Tax systems were modified in 2008 making diesels seem like a good option. However, more efficient petrol engines have meant lower tax bands and better fuel economy for Irish drivers switching back to petrol. Diesels are meant to be driven over long distances and if you force them into commute style driving, the filters can clog up and they are expensive to repair. You need to be driving a minimum of 20,000km per annum to think about driving a diesel.

One of the more popular ways to finance a new car is with a Personal Contract Plan (PCP) through your dealer. This is where you pay a deposit, and pay 36 monthly instalments at very low interest rates. At the end of the 3 years you can choose to refinance the car, trade it in for a new model and start the monthly instalments again or, simply hand back the keys and walk away with no car. You will not own the car until the final payment is made on the outstanding amount.

The other option is to go with a credit union or bank loan and while these loans can be quite competitive, the interest won’t be as low as a PCP. However, you will own the car straight away.

Second-hand Cars
Not everyone can afford a new car so going down the second-hand route may well be the most affordable option for some. The market for used cars has become highly competitive with an abundance of cars from the UK flooding the market. Sales for new cars have fallen by more than 10% since 2016 as the value in used cars has boomed.
One option for consumers is the ex-demo model car. Some dealers will offer a year-old car that has been used as a demonstration model on a PCP deal. The car will look, feel and smell new, but, at a more affordable price.

If, like most other people, you don’t know your dipped lights from your full lights, the best advice is to go to a reputable dealer when buying a used car. They often will provide a warranty with the car.

If you choose to buy off a private seller, then you will need to have your wits about you. The car will have to be history checked to see if it has been involved in any accidents. A mechanical inspection will also need to be undertaken and this will require a knowledge of cars. If purchasing from a private seller, you will need to oversee the transfer of registration papers, and double check the next NCT is indeed due when the seller claims it to be. Ask to see all paperwork upfront, before handing over any money. Pay by bank transfer or cheque/ draft where possible, so that your payment is trackable.

Finally, what about insurance?
To avoid any unexpected surprises after you’ve bought the car, you should find out how much your insurance policy will be before you buy the car. With Liberty Insurance, you can get a car insurance quote online in as little as two minutes.

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