Whether it is your first ever car or the next in a long list, buying and keeping a car has to be one of the best feelings you can get. Okay, so maybe you can’t afford a brand-new Ferrari just yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching for the stars. This short article is all about how you can find an awesome vehicle that doesn’t break the bank and still gives you that lovely feeling when you open the curtains first thing in the morning. So, follow these proven tips and pretty soon you too could have the car that everybody else wants.

Do some research

Before you head off to the nearest car dealer, make sure that you have a good idea about what type of vehicle floats your boat. There are dozens of cool forums that talk about pretty much every car on the road. Use the search engine to find the one you really want and then spend some time reading up on the finer details. You can find some hidden treasures this way but also uncover some lemons that have broken many hearts. If you know a friend who has owned the same model, see what they really think a few years later. They have no reason to lie and, unlike some car salesman, will be happy to vent about the car’s problems to anyone who will listen.


Before you can look seriously for a new ride, ensure that you have the funds in place to see the deal through. It’s not hard to see what the typical prices are and if your bank balance baulks at the idea of spending that much, maybe you need to look for something a little cheaper? The great thing about the used auto market is that there usually something for every budget. If you own a car and are thinking of selling or trading it in, it may be worth spending on a valet to get a little more. Weigh up the options before settling on an amount that you need to invest. It may make more sense to sell privately and then you will have the upper hand when the time comes to drive a hard bargain.

Private or dealer?

This is a choice that tends to divide many opinions. If you decide to stay on the car dealer route, you will be buying with some confidence. They usually offer some kind of parts and labour warranty on the vehicle. Most dealers prefer to stock newer models though, so you should bear that in mind before making the visit. Private sales are great for bargains but remember that there are plenty of wrecks out there. It pays to bring a friend who knows their way around a car. It could save you a lot of money and hassle further down the line. If you don’t have a buddy who can help, do some more research and check out all of the problem areas for the car you are looking at. The rule is that if you take your time, both sources can be as good as each other.

Word on the street

Tell your friends and workmates that you are on the lookout for a new ride and they may have some good news for you. Lots of people don’t sell their cars the traditional way and prefer to wait for someone just like you to come along. These are often the best deals but remember that you should still check the car over just the same. It does save time and usually a bunch of commission that is added onto the price of that showroom princess. So long as you remember to check the finer details, there isn’t any good reason not to follow up on this type of lead.

Less popular

Everyone loves the idea of driving away in a popular brand but how about those lesser known models? Some of the Far Eastern car companies are creating some awesome rides with an even bigger bang for your buck. Check out the spec and take a closer look because you could be passing by a better deal than you ever imagined. Remember though to research the cost of spare parts though just in case they hide a nasty premium. So long as they have a main dealer in the country, you should be golden.

Test drive time

The biggest mistake you can make is to take your intended car for a test drive and treat it like a baby. You really do need to drive it like you already are the owner. How else will you know if there are any hidden problems? We’re not suggesting you do doughnuts around the carpark but at least floor the accelerator a little and see what it can really do. Give the breaks a workout also and listen out for any weird noises. Test the air conditioner and all of the windows as repairs will not be cheap. If the car salesman isn’t happy for you to drive it for at least 30 mins, tell then to take a hike. They are probably hiding something, and you will be doing yourself a favour by walking away.

History matters

Hey, if you got this far and are still interested, you must be onto a winner. But before handing over the cash, take a closer look at the paperwork. This doesn’t lie, and everything needs to make sense. Dates should match and any accidents will show up so long as you use the likes of CarFax and CarProof. The seller doesn’t need to know that you took this extra step and they shouldn’t really care unless they are hiding something ugly.

Do the deal

This is the last step but don’t lose focus. You’ve already got a budget but try and strike a better deal. Remember that you will have to pay for insurance and fuel costs won’t be cheap. If the seller starts acting up, walk away because there are plenty of other bargains to be had.