10 key questions to ask yourself and your dealership before you buy a car

If, like Dan and I, you’re thinking of trading in your wheels, have a look at the most important things we found it helpful to think about for our family car, and how we prioritised the questions to ask yourself and your car dealership.

5 questions to ask yourself

If you’re as busy as we are you’ll probably want to limit your test drives to a small number of models. These questions helped us do just that:

  • 1. What’s my budget?
  • 2. Do I want a used or new car?
  • 3. What’s the most important aspect of a car to me?

The budget is always the starting point: work out what you can really afford, and don’t forget running costs. This may help answer the other questions. For example, for us, we’d prefer a new car because reliability and new technology innovations are important, but we’d be prepared to sacrifice newness if we can save money by getting most of what we want from a car that’s only a couple of years old and is in good condition.

One of the most important aspects of a car to us is the ability to safely fix 3 child seats in position as (despite the madness of living with our current two kids), we’re thinking of expanding our family fairly soon. We need to know the new car can accommodate the bigger car seat size we’ll need as the new baby grows. So we’re looking for a zippy city car that’s modestly priced, with 3 ISOFIX points in the back.

So far so good. We moved swiftly on to:

  • 4. Where’s my nearest dealership?

I was keen to find a reliable firm that’s not too far away. Time is always at a premium so that way we can minimise our initial shopping time as well as time later getting to and from servicing visits.

We booked to see the friendly guy at our local Perrys dealership, as recommended by my brother, so we could answer our last key question:

  • 5. Does this car make me happy when I test drive it?

Our Perrys expert explained that a good reaction on a test drive was the main thing. He really helped us focus on how we felt about the models as we buzzed about. Was it zippy enough pulling away from junctions? Were the cabin and controls comfortable to use? How did the steering feel? Perrys also pointed us to their handy summary of things to consider on a test drive.

5 questions to ask your dealership

So we had it all narrowed down by now to a final two cars. To choose between them, we found these questions were the most helpful:

  • 6. Is this car ex-demo?
  • 7. What does the included warranty cover?
  • 8. Are there any fees involved?

Ex-demo cars can be a great buy. They’re usually well cared for, high spec models. So not only are they a good price, they also include the nice things like leather seats and fancy wheels that were otherwise relegated to our ‘nice to have but not essential’ list.

It’s always important to get the details of the warranty because it doesn’t guarantee everything and the terms can vary enormously. That’s not something I’d realised before. Perrys always includes a warranty with each new and used car and they clarified the terms for our two models there and then, including what car parts and so on it covered. They also offer extended warranties so the option’s there to extend the time period that key items are covered for.

Our budget being tight, it was important to find out if there were any fees involved. Perrys give really competitive costs for buyers but it’s important to know that all dealerships operate separately regarding fees so it’s worth being aware of these upfront.

Next thing to get straight was:

  • 9. What support can the dealership offer after buying?

We were pleased to find that Perrys have great aftercare services including official parts, MOT, tyre replacement and repair work, and full servicing. You can even buy a service plan to give you ‘fixed price servicing’. And they make sure their people are well trained and deliver really good customer service, as we found on our test-drive visit.

By this time we’d had a nice cup of tea and made our car choice. We were dying to take the new motor home there and then. So the last question was:

  • 10. Can I drive it away today?

And the great news is – with Perrys you can! Seven days of free insurance is provided following a brief HPI check for any outstanding finance or insurance issues and car scams.

I hope this list of questions is as helpful to you, in buying your next car, as it was to us – and remember, if you have any other questions, ask the experts at Perrys!