You don’t buy a car everyday but when you do, make sure you buy the right one. There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing a car such as mileage, if it’s a used car, fuel type, size and price.
The primary criterion should be the size. There’s no sense in buying a large car if you don’t really need one. Unless you have a big family and travel a lot, there’s no point of buying an estate or SUV. A bigger car will always have higher fuel consumption and higher maintenance costs. Choose a car that’s as small as possible for your needs because it will be more fuel-efficient.
The second thing to take into consideration is the fuel type. Petrol cars are usually cheaper and have a better acceleration but at the cost of a slightly higher fuel consumption. The difference is not very big but if you’re the type of person that travels a lot, the difference will become significant in time. At the opposite pole, diesel engines are more fuel-efficient and considerably more durable but have a higher price. It is up to you to determine whether that price difference is justified or not, based on your needs.
The transmission type is also important. A lot of people consider automatic transmission because they’re considerably easier to use and in some cases the initial buying price of a car with an automatic gearbox is lower. However, the maintenance costs of an automatic gearbox are considerably higher compared to a manual gearbox so, from the financial point of view, manual transmissions are more convenient.
Front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? The answer is simple: front-wheel drive, unless you specifically need to choose otherwise for a certain reason. Rear-wheel drive cars are generally harder to control so unless you’re not already used to such cars, you should probably choose otherwise. All-wheel drive is usually found in SUVs and, even though it might come useful in some situations, the higher acquisition and maintenance costs along with the increased fuel consumption makes this an unprofitable choice unless you really need it.
A used car may also be a good deal if it meets certain criterions. A good idea is to bring a mechanic with you that will be able to carefully inspect the vehicle and tell you if it’s a good pick or not. A lot of cars look perfect on the outside but have several mechanical problems that will eat up a lot of money. Carry out as many tests as necessary and always ask for the entire service history to make sure the car wasn’t involved in a severe accident and fixed. If the owner fails to provide you with the complete service history or something seems suspicious, move on to avoid getting scammed.
Purchasing a car is a big financial commitment so take the time to consider the points mentioned here to ensure you make the right choice for your budget and lifestyle.
Euan Blair is writing on behalf of SMA Vehicle Remarketing, the largest independent car auction group in the UK. Our Leeds car auctions take place six days a week at our auction centre in Cross Green Business Park. We also have car auction centres in Kinross, Edinburgh, Birminghamd and Newcastle.