Buying a Car in 2023? Six Things You’ll Need to Know

Published on 16 February 2023

New year, new car? Traditionally, many people think about changing their cars in the months of January or February. New cars are coming online with fresh ‘23 plates and more used cars are becoming available too, as trade-ins make their way to forecourts.

Whether you’re thinking of buying a secondhand or brand-new car, there are a few key questions you’ll want to ask as well as important factors you’ll need to consider. Much has changed in the car industry over the last few years, but we can help get you up to speed.

  1. There Isn’t as Much Choice as We Would Like

The supply of cars into the Irish market has slowed significantly in recent years, due to a combination of challenges including Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and logistical delays in international shipping. As a result, you might find it tricky to get the make and model you need, and even harder to get the colour, specifications and mileage you want. If you’re not in a rush, you may be able to wait a while for the right car to come along. But if you’d like to purchase a car soon, you might need to reduce your list of requirements to widen the net a little.

  1. Prices are Still Quite High

As a result of this lack of supply, car prices have been rising to unprecedented levels. A report released by DoneDeal in October 2022 said that the rate of car price inflation “now stands at 67% comparing March 2020 to September 2022.” This means that car prices rose by two-thirds in that period — a big change for those of us who are used to cars depreciating in value over time.

The upside to this is that your trade-in is probably worth more than you think, although you might find that any saving is offset by a higher cost of purchase. Even with prices at an all-time high, it may still make sense to change, particularly if you’re currently battling high running costs. Our Liberty Consumer Spotlight survey, carried out with RED C Research & Marketing, confirmed that almost 1 in 4 potential car buyers are seeking to reduce their petrol or maintenance costs.

  1. You’ll Need to Work out an Accurate Budget

Buying a car is different for everybody. You might be hoping to pick up a bargain older vehicle or you could be considering splurging on a sports car. What matters is that you’re sure of how much you can spend.

When working out your budget, make sure to factor in all the extras. These might include a charger for an electric vehicle or a different child seat for a family SUV. You might need to invest extra money in bringing a used car up to a safe and NCT-ready standard with new tyres or a replacement part. Brand-new cars can attract delivery fees or other related charges, so take a closer look at the small print before you purchase.

Don’t forget to also check out how much your road tax, motor insurance and annual servicing will cost, as these can vary significantly.

  1. It’s a Good Idea to Research From Home

In the past, buying a car meant traipsing from dealership to dealership to view the stock and negotiate a price. Nowadays, with websites such as, and, you can view thousands of cars from the comfort of your couch.

This is a great way to short-list options, bookmark favourites and start a dialogue with the salesperson via email, instant chat or phone. Try to make sure you’re comparing like-for-like, particularly in terms of fuel type, transmission and spec level as each of these factors can have a big impact on price.

Remember to compare your options if you’re shopping for an electric vehicle (EV) too, as this is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Our Liberty Consumer Spotlight survey revealed that 49% of potential car-buyers are considering purchasing a fully electric or hybrid car.

  1. Still, you Can’t Beat a Visit to a Showroom

If you’re in a position to call into a showroom or visit a dealership, you’ll probably find it a worthwhile experience. There’s nothing like physically sitting in a car or taking it for a test drive to figure out if it’s the right one for you. This is especially important if you have specific needs.

Call ahead to make sure, but most dealerships are happy for you to bring specialist equipment to the showroom so you can see how it fits in a vehicle. These might include child seats, golf clubs or a wheelchair. You’ll also be able to spend some time chatting with the salesperson, who will usually have the answer you need — or know where to find it.

  1. Warranties are as Important as Ever

An extra benefit of visiting a showroom is the opportunity to get a sense of what the after-sales service is like. Because they involve many moving parts, almost every car will eventually cause you headaches, ranging from faulty bulbs all the way to expensive engine problems. However, not every car comes with a warranty or guarantee, and if it does, they tend to vary in terms of duration and cover.

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’re aware of what after-sales care is available, and inform yourself of your consumer rights under Irish law. It’s not always possible, but it’s a good idea to make sure the car you’re thinking of buying has a recent NCT disc and a good service history. That way, you can reduce the risk of something going wrong.


Car Insurance With Liberty


Whether you purchase a 2023 plate or a secondhand vehicle, sitting in a new-to-you car is a great feeling. Whatever you choose to buy, and wherever you choose to go, Liberty Insurance offers custom-built cover, fast claims and up to 25%* off when you quote and buy your car insurance online. It’s that easy with Liberty.

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*Up to 25% online discount applies to new private car policies only. Maximum discount €300. Subject to minimum premium and applied before optional covers.