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New car buying tips

Dealing with car dealers can be daunting, but not if you go in with a clear understanding of your needs – and your rights. Here are seven points that’ll give you the upper hand in the heat of battle.

Forewarned is forearmed

Know what you’re looking for before you walk into the dealership. The Internet is an excellent research tool and can arm you with everything from prices and specifications to independent reviews. If you go in prepared, you are in a much better position to start wheeling and dealing.

Alternately, do not let the dealer bamboozle you. If you are unsure of something, or confused by jargon, do not sign anything until it has been clearly explained to you – either by the salesman or by an independent source, such as the Internet.

Which options do I need?

Be aware of the standard features. Often dealers will have a display or demonstration car with optional features fitted. Nevertheless, if you don’t want those features, don’t let the dealer push you into paying for them.

Don’t waste your money on unnecessary dealer-sourced rust-proofing – most cars today are rust-proofed by the factory and offer significant protection against corrosion. Likewise, expensive paint and upholstery protection measures are not necessary today with good quality anti-fade paints and quality materials employed by most manufacturers.

Agree on a price

The recommended retail price on most cars these days is exactly that – recommended. Unless it’s a new model or in high demand, most dealers will be prepared to negotiate to some extent. That’s why it’s crucial to shop around.

Ask for a drive-away price – that’s the figure you’ll be paying to leave the dealership, complete with the dealer delivery charge, registration and stamp duty.

Ask for written quotes, so that there is no misunderstanding if you do decide to go ahead with the deal.


Different times of the year can prove more fruitful when it comes to bargaining with a dealer. Dealers are set monthly and quarterly targets by car manufacturers, so they’re often prepared to crunch a deal more towards the end of the month or the end of a quarter (March, June, September and December).

Extended Warranties

Be aware of extended warranties. Often they are offered by a specific dealer and are not transferable between dealers. Read the fine print, as they are usually a way to force you into servicing your car with that dealer.

And finally…

Organise insurance before you leave the dealership. Many of these dealers do have a scheme that can allow them to register and get your vehicle insured at the same time before handing it over to you. You may wish to explore if this is applicable from the dealer you are doing business with. The last thing you want is a smashed new car and no coverage.