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The leading dispute resolution body for the automotive industry have released their top 10 tips for new car buyers, which will help you to find the right car for you.
Bristol Street Motors

Top 10 Tips for New Car Buyers from The Motor Ombudsman

Top 10 Tips for New Car Buyers from The Motor Ombudsman

The leading dispute resolution body for the automotive industry have released their top 10 tips for new car buyers, which will help you to find the right car for you.

With the new “72” registration plate set to be released next month in September, you may be considering upgrading your wheels to one of the latest models.

Though buying a new car can be challenging, from deciding which make and model you want right down to the specification and the finance arrangement you choose to pay for it.

That’s why the Motor Ombudsman, the Ombudsman dedicated to the automotive industry, have shared their top 10 tips for new car buyers to help you make your decision, and find the perfect car for you.

Read on below for all the advice you’ll need for your journey.

1. Explore your options

A new car is a considerable investment which will cost you a lot of money, meaning that you should take your time and not rush the process. It’s important to make sure you’ll be happy with your new vehicle, which is why the Motor Ombudsman recommends you shop around and explore all of the options you might be interested in.

A good way to do this is through test driving vehicles you like the look of. Just because you like the look of a vehicle doesn’t mean you will like driving it, so it’s important to experience how it feels to drive the car and whether it suits your preferences.

Not only that, but you should also explore your retailers and make sure you are buying from one who adheres to The Motor Ombudsman’s Vehicles Sales Code. This assures you that the business operates with high standards of customer experience, meaning you are far more likely to have a better experience.

2. Stick to A Budget

As you will already know, the costs for your vehicle will go beyond the initial price you see at the dealership. For a better experience, you’ll need to have a budget in mind and stick to it, making sure you can cover all the costs to be able to enjoy your new vehicle.

You’ll have to bear in mind the running costs such as service and maintenance which will be associated with your chosen vehicle, and even factor in costs for petrol or electricity usage if you go for an electric vehicle.

When buying your new vehicle, you should take some time to consider the finance options available to you so that you can spread the cost according to your budget. You might benefit from incentives like free insurance, road tax and breakdown cover depending on your chosen vehicle, though these will only be for a limited time.

3. When Online

The Motor Ombudsman also encourages you to remember that when buying online, your experience should be no different to going into the dealership, other than there is no physical visit to the showroom. Known as a “distance sale”, when you buy a car online this will be overseen by legislation which covers each and every stage of the process. This legislation is the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

This provides a 14-day money back guarantee if you change your mind and wish to return your car, starting from the date of delivery. It’s worth noting that there may be deductions however depending on how much you have used it.

4. To EV or Not to EV?

Next up in the Motor Ombudsman’s top tips for your new car journey is to consider whether to go electric. With electric vehicles becoming increasingly popular and a government ban set to kick in on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2035, you may wish to consider making the switch.

There are lots of models to choose from with more joining the market every day, so you will have plenty of choice. You’ll also benefit from incentives such as zero road tax since they don’t produce any harmful emissions, and your running costs will be lower since you won’t have to pay for petrol.

If you do decide to buy a new electric vehicle, there are several things to take into consideration. You’ll need to have dedicated off-street parking with a charging point and the appropriate charging cable installed, with plenty of public charging options nearby for on-the-go.

5. Which Spec Is Best?

The organisation also highlights a key benefit you’ll receive when buying a new car, which is choosing the specification. Since you’re the first to drive it, it’s all yours! And there will be a range of specification options available with your chosen vehicle.

All you need to do is decide which of these is best for you and suits your preferences. You’ll be able to decide the engine or battery size, colour and transmission.

6. Towing Your Limits

If you plan on towing anything with your vehicle- whether it’s a horse box, trailer or caravan- the Motor Ombudsman also provide some useful advice. You should make sure that any equipment required for towing can be fitted onto your vehicle.

You also need to know what your maximum towing load will be with the vehicle you’re interested in to make sure it will be able to safely transport your load. If you’re new to towing and unsure, or simply need a reminder, there are some training courses available from providers in the UK.

7. The Wait

Naturally, you’ll be eagerly excited for your new car to arrive, counting down to the big day. Though the Motor Ombudsman gives a helpful reminder about deliver times to keep in mind when marking your calendar.

The reminder is that the automotive industry is still facing delays due to component shortages and the unprecedented semiconductor chip demand globally, meaning that your car could take a little longer than usual to get to you.

If you need a new car urgently, then it’s worth keeping this in mind when making your decision, as different manufacturers will work to different schedules in the building process, meaning any delivery dates you receive could change.

To plan ahead, you should read all documentation that you are given carefully so you understand what you’re agreeing to with the purchase of your new car.

8. Changing Technology

As you’ll expect, the technological features and systems you get with your new car will depend on the make and model you choose. You may have a touchscreen infotainment system to control your car’s technological features, or manual dials on your steering wheel.

Not only that, but the way that your car’s systems are kept up to date will also vary. For this, you should check with your sales executive how you can do this yourself if it’s required. For some new cars, you may not have to do anything at all with handy manufacturer ‘over-the-air’ updates which will update everything for you.

It can be worth checking this to make sure that features such as your sat nav are kept up to date with the latest road changes and information, and if your car’s features are controlled via a smartphone app that your phone is compatible.

9. Your Warranty

The great thing about buying a new car is that most manufacturers will offer a warranty. This will vary in length (e.g from 3 to 7 years, or up to 100,000 miles), and will cover you in the event that you experienced any defects with your vehicle which may be the result of a mechanical fault.

Though not the most interesting read, it may be beneficial for you to have a good read through the warranty policy on offer with the car you are interested in, as there will of course be some exclusions, namely wear and tear on your tyres or brake discs.

Some warranties are also available specifically for paint and anti-corrosion with a new vehicle, which are shorter than your standard warranties. Electric vehicles may also come with a separate warranty covering the battery.

So make sure you pay attention to any warranty information when shopping for a new car, as it pays to know how you’re protected.

10. Good to Go?

When the big day arrives, it’s understandable that the new-car excitement will probably override everything else. However, The Motor Ombudsman makes a very good point to remember when going to collect your new pride and joy.

Check it over! It’s as simple as that. You’ll have paid a good deal of money for your new vehicle, so you need to make sure you’re happy with it before driving away. This includes checking that the car has been prepared according to your order, includes the handbook and all relevant documents, and that you know how everything works.

Spend some time walking around the vehicle and ask your sales executive to run through the key controls before you drive off the forecourt and enjoy your new vehicle.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said:

“Buying a big-ticket item, such as a new car is a significant commitment. It is therefore important that consumers spend time doing their research to select both the right car and retailer, spend within their means, and plan ahead both in terms of longer-term affordability, and when they will need a new car due to the extended lead times.”

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