Taking a Test Drive & Haggling over Price

One of the most important things to do before you agree to buy a car is to take it for a test drive. This is your chance to see if you actually like driving the car, as well as to check for problems that you haven’t yet noticed. Usually you can expect to be allowed to drive the car yourself. Sometimes the salesman may accompany you, sometimes you will be allowed out on your own. Make sure you take your driving licence with you and that it is up to date – no licence = no test drive.

Things to look for on a test drive

Steering – does the car handle as expected, or does the steering pull to one side? If it doesn’t feel right, it could be a sign that the wheel alignment is off or there’s an electrical fault.
Noises from the engine or brakes – it could be a minor issue or just the age of the vehicle or it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Either way, you should investigate further if something doesn’t sound right and talk to the dealer about it.
Comfort – is the car comfortable to drive – good seating position, good visibility
Controls – you should also check that you can reach all of the controls and that you know how to operate key functions, such as lights and windscreen wipers. Check all controls are working especially the aircon if fitted.

While you’re out on your test drive, look at as many different things as you can and keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right. There’s no point paying for a car that you’re not 100% sure about. Don’t be afraid to raise issues or that you might look fussy or silly. If you don’t ask now it’ll be too late!

How to haggle over price

How to negotiate the price of a used car is something a lot of people worry about. In fact, it is very simple. With the wonders of the internet, it is easy to get a realistic market value for any car. Bearing this in mind, it is much easier to avoid getting ripped off. You also should also have a maximum budget in mind.

There’s no pint in offering a silly low price. Be reasonable make it a good price with a view to a quick agreement.

Be aware that some dealers say that they have priced the vehicle at the correct price compared to other cars on the market and they will not negotiate but will match another price from elsewhere. Of course the exact same vehicle with exact same mileage probably doesn’t exist, so this is a bit of a con!

If this is their policy – the price is the price, then see if there are any extras you can negotiate eg next MOT free,  next service free or free road tax.

At the end of the day if you can’t get the car you want at the price you want then you should be free and willing to walk away.