Due to depreciation (the money you lose as soon as a car is driven off a forecourt) I’d almost never buy a new car. However, some relatives have done just this and I can certainly see the appeal. Not least the fact that there’s something special about all of it, from speccing up your vehicle, to choosing the colour – all the way through to sitting in for the first time and taking in that ‘new car smell’ (that’ll be the chemicals in the plastic then).
A new car should arrive with you in absolutely pristine condition – it should be free from scratches, rust, odd dents and of course foreign bodies. It should look, in short, perfect. Naturally, for a new car, it should also have very few miles on the clock. That’s a given. You’ll get the treat of either wearing the engine in nice and soft, or ragging it around depending on where you get your advice from. Most people, luckily I think, still wisely go for the former. Check your manual for further info on this.
I’ve got an interesting little anecdote before I begin my advice on what to look for with your new car, and it goes something like this. I’m in the market for a new used car, something a little bit special. I was lucky enough to meet a very honest dealer who said, “Please bear in mind, all of these cars are used”.
He then promptly showed me a car that had stone chips (they had been filled in but they were there) on the bonnet. He said “I don’t want to mislead you – what I’ll sell you will be mechanically 100%. However, it may have some cosmetic niggles. It is a quality used car though”. I wasn’t shocked – I am after all in the market for a used car. I rightfully responded with the fact that if I was looking for a Resprayed, overpriced car I would have went to a main dealer.
There, they would have probably made the car look cosmetically perfect but would have added a few grand to the price tag – pushing said vehicle out of my budget. This brings me nicely on to what get your beady eyes on when going for your brand new motor.
* Don’t get caught up in the excitement and rush through anything – it could be costly not only in terms of your wallet but also for what you end up getting.
* However you’ve settled and whatever you’ve signed beforehand, never just get out your pen. Take the time to have a nice long inspection for the car. At the end of the day, this is something that is no doubt costing you significant amounts of money.
* A new car should look exactly that – it should be clean, tidy and polished inside and out. Don’t settle for picking it up in the dark or wet. If you’re taking delivery at home, mark on the invoice (if you accept it in these conditions) that you haven’t been able to inspect but you will do so as soon as you can and will inform them of the outcome.
* Take the time to look at all panels, windows and tyres. Is everything looking as it should do?
* Any extras that you have specified should come with delivery of the vehicle, almost without exception. Have your copy of the invoice ready and go through it all. Does it have the 30 GB hard drive that you wanted? How about the optional 18 inch alloys? Did you choose the red or the orange stitching? Each of these options could well have added to the price tag, so make sure they’re in place when you pick up.
* When a new car is dropped off, it should be treated to a very special PDI. This is a pre-delivery inspection – basically a piece of paperwork saying the car is everything it is meant to be, the VIN info is correct and it’s all working. Your service book should have a stamp for this.
* Generally speaking, most cars come with two keys. You don’t want the dealer to have a spare or indeed your log book. Take receipt of all of this when you sign, along with all information related to warranty, servicing and any special dealer benefits. Naturally, you’ll want a contact name and number in case of problems.
The bottom line really comes down to this – whether it’s mechanical or you feel that your brand new car has been test driven before you’ve had a chance to get in it and make your driver’s seat your own, you really shouldn’t sign anything off. You have an extremely strong case if you keep your invoice and purchase records to show that the new car you want isn’t what is sitting waiting for you.
A word of warning – whatever sort of car you’re in the market for, you may well find it difficult to buy the very most basic option with no specced extras. I can’t remember where I saw the report but naturally enough, dealers are trying to up sell. Not only that, but it’s worth less to the manufacturer themselves (whoever they happen to be) if all they are producing is a tiny-model variant with no alloys and a single CD player.
For the time and the effort, I’d always recommend going that little bit further, even if it means saving up an extra month or whatever. For starters, unless you’re planning on keeping the car for life (these days that could well be in excess of 15 years based on engine life and average mileage of 12k) it’ll help resale values if you have some of what many people consider ‘the basics’. What are those and what colour should your new car be? Well there’s another article in itself.
In the meantime, if you’re lucky enough to have a brand new car, really do enjoy it. They are a marvel of the road and it’s the buying of those vehicles that allows the rest of us to see the decent stuff trickle down until we can afford it. New cars, I salute you (but only if you meet your purchasers’ options!)