Top tips when buying a car at Christmas

We provide the top tips on buying a car at Christmas

This year has been crazy for us all and most will be relieved when midnight strikes on December 31 to signify the change from 2020 to 2021.

But, in the meantime, we still have Christmas to look forward to, despite the introduction of tier 4 in most parts of London and the southeast and the reduction of the five-day window to mix households in tiers 1-3 to just Christmas Day.

Whether you’re staying in with your immediate family or planning on visiting another household to share your time with, depending on your respective tier, we’re sure that the festive period can be as memorable, peaceful, and enjoyable as it normally would be.

It has been more difficult to get out and about this year to buy gifts for our loved ones. With all the restrictions that have been put in place due to lockdowns and tier systems, getting to the shops while keeping yourself safe has been challenging.

With that in mind and the fact everyone deserves to end this year on a high, it could be the perfect time to think about purchasing a new car, maybe as a treat for yourself or for a child that is close to passing or has recently passed their driving test.

Check your deal now

Holiday periods are traditionally a good time to buy a new car, with many dealers trying to wrap up sales before they finish for Christmas. This is coupled with new models being rolled out in the new year, so if you’re looking for a bit of a bargain, now could be the opportune moment for you.

Dealerships tend to be at their quietest between Christmas and New Years’ Day too, so they are often more open to discounts to meet their end of quarter targets.

We have provided you with our top tips on buying a car around Christmas, and how to get the most for your money.

What type of car are you looking for?

Before you make the decision to buy a new car, you need to know what you want and need. You don't want to be going into a dealership blind and potentially making yourself vulnerable to a worse deal than you’d have hoped. If you go in confidently with the type in mind you’d like, you are already going to be one step ahead of the game.

It’s worth browsing the internet for car reviews once you’ve narrowed down your choices to see what the experts are saying to make it easier for you to make your decision. 

With the impending ban on the purchase of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030, it could be an ideal time to start thinking about the future and going electric. There are hundreds of options available to you right now and could be a smart investment for the future, as well as helping to make the planet greener.

If you aren’t interested in electric just yet, then the world is your oyster. There are many variables such as engine size, miles per gallon, fuel pricing, practicality, accessories, and how it compares to rivals that you’ll seriously want to consider before making your final decision.

How much you should be paying?

Christmas time is a perfect time to buy a new car but can also be costly if you are unsure of what you want. 

It’s easy to be dazzled by the big sale signs and percentage reductions but sometimes it’s not all it seems. Prices can be raised in the short term before a big fire sale later on.

It might be a good idea to visit the deal calculator section of Car Credible. Here we provide a simple, accessible, and trusted service where you can add any current vehicles you own to potentially trade-in, plus how much you would like to pay per month if you are looking to go down the finance route. We can then provide you with what you should expect in terms of monthly payments, how many years it’ll take to pay, and much more.

You can take this information to your car dealer and they can find you the right car that fits within your budget, putting you in control and therefore you shouldn’t succumb to any unexpected fees. 

Running the car

A lot will depend on the type of car you buy, whether it be petrol, diesel, or electric. 

A diesel car will historically cost more to run but generally has better miles per gallon and takes less time to depreciate. For electric cars, it’s very much dependent on the accessibility you have to charge stations. You can request your local council build one by your home or you can visit your local supermarket or public car park where they have an abundance of charging stations. Not completely ideal we know, but as we get closer to 2030, these will be popping up all over the place as the electric revolution ramps up.

Paperwork and all the boring stuff

It might not be what you want to do the day after you’ve smashed all of the turkey, pigs in blankets, and mulled wine, but ensuring you have all the paperwork for your current car and its service history is critical. 

This will help you if trying to part-exchange your car and to help with any finance being transferred over to the new one. You can incur charges if you lose your servicing log, so ensure to always keep it in a safe place for when you do come to buying or switching to a new car.

You will also want to spend some time reading the t’s and c’s when you do agree to buy a new car, just to make sure there aren’t any hidden fees that you will be expected to stump up down the line.

Test test test

It’s the obvious thing to do when buying a new car, but a test drive will really help to seal the deal for you. This will allow you to test the capability and functionality of the car and just to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself in for.

Even if you are buying a used car, it’s worth asking the seller to allow you to have a drive around before you commit to the purchase.

Likewise looking around the car for any damage will ensure you aren’t paying over the odds.

Check your deal now

Perform mini-tests if buying a second-hand car such as performing an emergency stop to see if the brakes are in good condition. Reverse, turn sharply, and accelerate (not all in one manoeuvre…), to see if the clutch, driveshafts, and accelerator are all working the way they should.

And finally, even if you have a dream car in your mind, if the price isn’t right or it’s a little disappointing when you experience it in person, don’t be afraid to walk away. 

You don’t have to make the sale so don’t be pressured into anything by the dealer. They are essentially a salesperson trying to meet targets and will do anything to get you to sign on the dotted line. 

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