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What To Look For When Buying A New or Used Family Car

The time has come make a purchase on a car that meets your family requirements. You have logged on to DoneDeal but the choices appear endless and you need some help! Let us offer some advice. First things first, it's important to consider several factors to ensure you get a reliable, safe, and cost-effective vehicle. Here we take a look at some of the factors that come into play when making this decision. If you follow this check list, it will hopefully help you narrow the choices down to what could ultimately be, your new family car.

  • What should you spend how will you determine your budget?

  • Is a vehicle history report important and how do you obtain one?

  • Should I get the vehicle professionally inspected or is it necessary?

  • Is it important to check the bodywork thoroughly?

  • What safety features should I be concerned about if any?

  • How do you factor in the reliability of a car?

  • Is ok to negotiate on the price listed?

  • Should you compare multiple cars?

Determine Your Budget

Let’s kick off by understanding exactly what budget you have to spend. Don’t just include the purchase price of the vehicle but think more longer term by factoring in insurance, tax, and potential running costs. Will you need finance and if so, check between a number of providers to compare interest rates. Most reputable car dealers on DoneDeal will be able to offer you some form of finance but again, do the numbers.

Vehicle History Report

You keep hearing about vehicle history reports but what is this and how do you obtain such peace of mind on a used vehicle? Well DoneDeal has a built in Greenlight Verified Check on all cars listed online. It essentially marries the original ownership details with the logbook number to ascertain if the vehicle is what the seller says it is. A more comprehensive report can be purchased to check if the vehicle was imported, crash damaged, number of past owners or if it has outstanding finance. All essential for further peace of mind.

Professional Inspection

If you are not great under the bonnet it could be best to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car for any hidden issues. Take a test drive and pay attention to how the car drives and sounds. Listen for unusual noises and check the brakes, steering, and suspension where possible. It is always a good idea to seek a vehicle with a recent or long NCT certificate. Regular maintenance is a good indicator of a well-kept car. Check for records of oil changes, tire changes, and major services like timing belt replacement.

Check The Bodywork

Possibly not an issue on more modern vehicles but do look for rust, dents, scratches, and signs of repainting which might indicate past damage. Inside should get a thorough inspection also by checking the condition of the seats, dashboard, and electronics. Ensure all buttons and features work properly. A well kept interior is a good indication of how the past owners treated the vehicle.

Safety Features

As it will be a family car it’s imperative to make sure the safety features stack up. For little ones in the back, does it have ISOFIX points for child seats? The more airbags the better and perhaps check to see how the car stood up in original safety tests in the NCAP test. Again having good brakes and tyres can also be considered a safety check. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), and electronic stability control (ESC) are essentially standard on all vehicles for some time, so be sure they are active with no warning lights on the dash.

Factor in Reliability

It’s a difficult one really but by researching reviews and reliability ratings online you should be able to better understand if the vehicle was plagued with issues or not. Check if the model has had any recalls and if they were addressed. It is not uncommon for a car to be recalled for minor upgrades including software but it’s worth checking to see if they were carried out! If you are thinking of buying fairly new, be sure to check out some of the latest car reviews on our YouTube Channel.

Room for Negotiation

Always be prepared to negotiate based on the car’s condition and any issues found during inspection. Depending on how new the car is, the dealer might not have much movement on the price but he might offer extra warranty or perhaps a little more on a trade in vehicle if you have one. Either way it's always nice to walk away from a deal feeling like you got a fair result.

Compare Multiple Cars

Don’t settle on the first car you see; compare several to get the best deal. Again we are looking at a family car here. Are you happy with a small hatchback? Do you need the boot size and height of a Crossover or SUV? Think of your overall needs and how you will use the car. Should it be petrol, diesel or perhaps electric? All these factors come into play but it really depends on your planned usage of the vehicle. Taking the time to thoroughly inspect and evaluate a new or used car on DoneDeal can save you from future headaches and expenses, ensuring you find a reliable vehicle that suits your family’s needs. One final thing, if something feels off, don’t hesitate to walk away. Trust your instincts!


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