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Buying a new car, or a car thats new to you, can be a minefield. Women
are traditionally vulnerable to con men when buying cars, taking their cars
for a service or anything else related to motoring for that matter. Although
wed like to think that times have changed, and in the most part they
have, there are still car sales people waiting for an innocent looking female
to trot through the door. This applies to men too, so dont be offended!
At CoverGirl Car Insurance we want you to get the best deal, cheap insurance
and above all a great car. So, weve compiled a concise guide to what
can be one of the most expensive purchases youll have to make.
The first thing you will need to do is decide whether you want a new or used
car. You probably have a make and model in mind already, so its best
to do as much research into the car as possible. You can look in trade guides
and on the internet to get some ideas about the production and engineering
of your desired car. If you go to the dealer armed with this information
then you will know what to look for and will know about any parts of the
car that are particularly expensive to replace. Whilst doing your research
you could also look out for any common problems with your car. For example
certain vehicles have notoriously bad electrics and you could be left having
to pay a large bill to have them repaired.
So whats the best bet, new or used?
Buying a new car
Buying a new car gives you the peace of mind that your car hasnt been
rescued from an accident and cut and shut (more about this later).
Plus you dont have to worry about service history and recurring problems.
If you decide to buy a new car then you have three options. You can either
buy from dealership, from a broker or by personal import from Europe. There
are pros and cons to each option so you should look carefully at each to
decide whats best for you. The benefits and pitfalls of each are as
Dealership: Many dealers offer cheap finance schemes with frequent special
offers, you can take the car for a test drive and you also may be able trade
in your existing car. This is often a more expensive option so its
worth looking around.
Broker: It is often cheaper to buy through a broker and relatively easy to
organise. You may not be able trade your car in.
Personal imports from Europe: Cheaper in the majority of cases. However this
is not the easiest way to buy a car. Youll have to put in quite a bit
What to check when you collect your car We advise that you check your new
car over before you drive off the forecourt. There are a few key things to
That youve got a copy of the dealers pre-delivery inspection
Check that all lights, electrics, sound systems, alarms, door locks
and windscreen wipers work
Check for any scratches and check that there is no damage to the interior
Check youve got the spare tyre and any tools that are supposed
to come with the car
Make sure youve got the manual and service book
Buying a used car
When you buy a used car there are a few more pitfalls to look out for but
you can bag yourself a bargain if you look in the right place. It can also
be great fun deciding whether you want a sexy classic like an Alfa Romeo
Spider or a bargain run-around like a Ford Ka. Whether you chose to buy from
a dealer or from the private market youll need see the history of the
car. This is really important. You can either buy from a franchised dealer,
a used car dealer or privately. Here are some of the pros of buying from
Franchised dealer: One of the safest places to buy a car. Youll get
a great choice from a franchise. You can get used or nearly new cars. A
franchised dealership also might know the entire history of the car. They
will also provide you with a warranty, so if anything goes wrong you can
take it back and they will fix it.
Used car dealer: They will usually have checked that there is no bad history
or outstanding finance. Most dealers have an excellent reputation but you
should exercise some caution and again, do your own research about the type
of car youve chosen. You will usually get at least a 3 month warranty
from a used car dealer. But check to see what it covers. Service items like
tyres, exhausts and brake pads are not usually covered.
Private purchase: Best place for an excellent bargain. This is the riskiest
way to buy a car as the car could have been involved in an accident, and
might not belong to the seller. You should ask to meet at the sellers
home or work and ask the following questions:
1. Is it your car?
2. Has the car ever been in an accident?
3. Can I have a signed receipt?
Cut and shut, counterfeit parts, car ringing and clocking
Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous people out there wanting to make
a buck out of the innocent car buyer. Some of the tactics undertaken by an
unethical minority leave drivers with dangerous, illegal and unreliable cars.
Many cars are stolen and sold on or taken from accidents and patched up to
look like new. The following are some ploys that con men use to cheat the
Cut and Shut
This is when two cars are taken from a scrap yard after write off accidents
and welded together. This is extremely dangerous and potentially difficult
to spot. Look for mismatched panels, traces of paint on window seals and
door handles, mismatched upholstery and signs of serious repair work. It
is very difficult to spot a cut and shut but its worth a closer inspection
in case the person who carried out the work has cut corners.
These are fraudulent copies of genuine manufacturer branded components. They
are intended to deceive motorists and can be incredibly realistic. They are
however not intended to be safe. Their makers dont care about the potential
safety threat to future drivers. They have started to make fake brake pads,
discs and steering linkages. All of these could cause fatal accidents if
they go wrong. You probably wont have the opportunity to check parts
before they are fitted to your new car, but it is something you should be
aware of when buying a second hand vehicle.
This is where a stolen car has its identification number changed. The vehicle
identification number is taken from vehicles that have been written off in
an accident. By forging these details thieves can pass off stolen cars as
the genuine article to innocent car buyers. Once youve paid for a
ringer, its too late. It does not belong to you and if
it is traced it will be returned to the original owner, so you will lose
out considerably. You can look out for this by checking all documents to
see if they look forged. If there is little or no paperwork you should also
This is when the cars odometer is reduced to make it look as if the
car has not done as many miles as it has. This makes cars look more valuable
than they are. If the mileage of a car looks suspiciously low you should
look for other tell tale signs such as wear and tear to the pedal rubbers
All of the above are seriously detrimental to the buyer and will leave you
with a stolen, dangerous or faulty vehicle. If you have any doubts it is
advisable to get an independent vehicle inspector to check the car before
you buy it. This will avoid any potential fraud and will eliminate the risk
Buying a car should be fun. You could end up with the car of your dreams
- if you follow our guide. It really is worth checking for any discrepancies
before you make the purchase. There are many ways to check the history and
safety of the car so its easy to do and worth it in the long term.
Once youve bought your car youll need to insure it. Visit CoverGirl
Car Insurance www.covergirlcarinsurance.co.uk 0800 195 48 52 to get car insurance
exclusively for women.
Editorial notes: CoverGirl provide cheap car insurance for women. Great value
quotes are available online at www.covergirlcarinsurance.co.uk
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