What to look for when buying a new car

Buying a car is always a big deal for most of us. And whether we decide to buy a car out of need, or just want one, we would like to have a car that will fulfill all our needs, be it practicality, safety, reliability or comfort. So whether you have your eye on a used compact hatchback or a brand new sports car, it's important to look at a few aspects regarding car purchase that could make a lot of difference a few years down the line.


Used Cars

If you have your sights set on a particular car model because it appeals to you in several key areas that others just don't , but at the same time, it's asking price is a bit too steep, you could look at the going the used car way. However, this is a tricky decision as it involves a lot more risk than buying a new car. Firstly, you would have to look at the source. Who is the seller? Is it a used car dealer or someone you, or a friend of yours knows? If it's the latter, chances are, you can have a look at the vehicle and discuss it's usage in detail with the actual owner or user of the vehicle. If it is the former, you have to be more alert and have someone who you know to be an informed enthusiast with you at the time you pay a visit to the dealer. Either way, there are several things you need to keep in mind and ensure you get answers for.

Yes, the miles on the clock are important, but there are ways that can be very deceiving. But before you worry about mileage, ask for the service history. Check the bills or receipts for any major change of parts, or perhaps an accident job. If their is any indication of a job of those sorts, walk away. If however, you can obtain detailed service history that shows that the car has indeed been serviced at an authorised service center, and that periodic maintenance has been taken care of on a regular basis, you can rest assured that you will end up with a good, well-used car, and not a lemon.

Secondly, get the details for the number of owners, and find out who has been using it. The car could have been used by a professional, like a doctor, to commute from home to their workplace, and back. This would tell you that the car has been sparingly used, more or less. If, however, the car was registered to a rich businessman who gifted it to his son on his 18th birthday, you can also presume that the car has had it's share of competitive driving. The car model can be a certain giveaway here, but it's not always the case. Whatever the case, take the car for a spin, show it some straights and corners alike, and while you do, listen for any sounds of stress to the engine or suspension. A free revving engine means it is healthy. A choke here or a splutter there, and it could indicate some expensive forthcoming problems. The suspension should also not produce any squeaks, thuds or rattles around corners. If it does, it could either be a minor issue with the bushings, or it could mean expensive replacement parts.

Don't let all of these factors get to you as these are a few quality checks you can do while you have a look at your potential next car.


New Cars

If you are looking at a new car, there are certainly less things to worry about as you know you will be the very first owner. But, again, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on that car that will ensure you get the best possible deal, and get a car that will hold it's value well.

A new car may look squeaky clean and shiny in showroom condition, but in reality, it is a car model manufactured by an automobile company and put up for sale. Although you may have arrived at that car via a few website reviews, or by a friend's recommendation, whether they use one or not, or even if it is a model you have your heart set on, remember that it will cost you a lot of money and you need to look at it practically. When was the current model of this launched? Find out when it first arrived to showrooms, and when the company plans to introduce a facelift, or a replacement model. If it is new, it will cost you initially, but will retain it's value better. If it has been a while, you can probably get the dealer to offer you some free accessories or a better finance or lease plan. If however, the car is due to be replaced with a new model soon, you can extract a discount, or free service package or extended warranty, that will make up for the value you will inevitably lose a few months after purchase.

Another point to note, with a little more research, is if the car is a brand new model that has spawned off an all new platform. If it is, chances are there can be some shortcomings in the design or drivetrain that will only surface once a few others have used the model, and reported any such shortcomings to the manufacturer. If there are, you may be looking at a recall, but more importantly, you do not want to end up with a faulty part that can lead to a malfunction on an unknown scale.


The manufacturer and their car lines speak volumes about the quality and reliability of the car. Look around, ask, question and then make your decision. It is best to be well-informed and then make the right decision, rather than rush in and end up disappointed. And always maintain your car. Remember, you take care of your car, and you car will take care of you.