Car HistoryBuying a car

15 Questions to ask when buying a car

Published: 07/20/2021

Buying a car, new or pre-loved, is a substantial outlay for any of us. It’s a big decision. At Peter Hanley Motors we have been privileged to accompany and advise our valued customers in choosing their next set of wheels. The criteria used when purchasing a car varies from driver to driver. Some people are budget focused and will be tempted to buy anything that has the right price tag, even if that vehicle doesn’t meet other important driving needs. Some motorists fall in love with alloys and infotainment systems while others just want that particular colour car. For the most part, car buyers know exactly what they don’t want and have a short list of ‘must- haves’ when choosing their new motor.  However, it can become overwhelming on the forecourt, particularly when there are so many great value cars to choose from.  

Here is a list of 15 questions that you should ask before buying a car and listed in no particular order of importance.

  1. Can I afford it? Can I afford the repayments? Is it in budget? Maintenance, motor tax and fuel bills should be considered when doing the sums before a purchase. At Peter Hanley Motors, we have very competitive finance available and we will always talk you through the financial side of car purchase in a practical and honest way. If you do fall in love with a car outside your allocated budget it might be time to re do the figures. Here, the head must rule the heart and if it can be done after that, well Happy days!
  2. Is finance available?  Most motor dealers deal with numerous financial institutions and will negotiate a car loan for you. There are of course, many other options from the bank to the credit union or a generous relative, but many motorists choose the car dealer option as a convenient and no hassle form of finance. Ask whether the car you choose is eligible.
  3. Insurance? This is a tough one for many young drivers. Read more about first time insurance here. At Peter Hanley Motos, we usually recommend that first time drivers organise the insurance before the car, just to avoid any disappointments and to keep in line with any stipulations the insurance company may put on the age or type of car. Check that you choice of car will be easy to insure.
  4. Is this the car for your lifestyle? A cute convertible won’t have space for a twin buggy. The sales team here can advise which car will fulfil your family and driving needs best, whether you have a growing brood or an empty nest or whether you are on the road the whole time to GAA training etc or just taking the car out for an hour on a Sunday. Choose a car that suits your needs.
  5. Fuel Type?  This used to be a fairly simple question. (Petrol or Diesel?) but the options have advanced quite a bit in the past few years. Petrol, Diesel, gas, electric, hybrid or Phev?The choice is very much dependant on your life style, Check out the differences here and see our comprehensive range of cars to choose from.
  6. Fuel efficiency?  The running costs of the car and fuel consumption is a factor in this.When considering the type of car and cost of fuel, you may opt for a larger initial outlay on the vehicle itself so that long-term running costs are cheaper as in the case of electric or hybrid cars. Or you may just fall in love with a ‘gas guzzler’ and enjoy the ride.
  7. Maintenance and Repair/replacement costs?  Some cars are high maintenance and others are solid workhorses. All need the regular service and some TLC. on a regular basis. Consider the reviews for the model of vehicle you choose and the cost and availability of parts and repairs and get some good advice you’re your trusted car dealers if you have doubts.
  8. NCT, Car History and Road worthiness?  Buy your car from a reputable source.The world is full of horror stories of car purchases that went terribly wrong. A valid NCT goes some way towards assurances of road worthiness, but it is always advisable to have the vehicle checked by a mechanic. A comprehensive car history check can go a long way to avoiding the pain of a bad buy.At Peter Hanley Motors, we provide a full DNA, Motor industry standard Car history Check with every car
  9. Warranty? Check out what warranty comes with the car and what it covers.
  10. Logbook and Service History?  The service history of the car will show how much the car was cared for (or not) by a previous owner. A look at the logbookwhile viewing the car will also let you know how many previous owners there were. If none are produced, then caution is warranted for sure.
  11. Mileage and age?  If buying second hand, check the mileage against the age of the vehicle. While cars with high mileage may still run well, it is an indicator of the life span left on the car. It also shows whether the vehicle has run out of extended and factory warranty.Older cars with high mileage generally cost less and often can keep running well for many years, if taken care of. Mileage and age need to be carefully considered with each particular car.
  12. Is the seller reputable? Don’t buy a car from an unknown source buy from a reputable and reliable company. Late night sales in dark car parks don’t inspire confidence and while there are many happy and successful private second-hand car sales, the opportunity for a scam or a dodgy buy is much higher than from a trusted seller.We have been in business for over thirty years. That is the kind of stability you need behind your car purchase.
  13. Is everything working? Check the lights, seat belts, wipers, seat adjustment and radio. Be pedantic and particular about this.While no one likes a tyre kicker, you can hold the boot back and just take a good look at the wear and tear on the tyres. check the wheel arches. Look for signs of oil leaks. Check that there is a spare tyre.
  14. Motor Tax Costs? Irish motor tax costs vary greatly, and it is worth checking out how much your new dream vehicle will cost annually before you decide to buy.
  15. Keys? A surprising number of used cars only have one key available and while that is not an issue on the happy day of purchasing, it becomes a very expensive issue when that one key is lost. Two keys are needed. Disreputable sellers often only have one key and unfortunately use the second key later with disastrous consequences for the new owner. Not something that you ever worry about when buying from a reputable dealership.

Buying a car is the second biggest investment you will make in your lifetime, so it’s important that you are well informed and happy with your end choice. Trust your instincts, get good advice and you will be motoring off with a smile on your face. 

Peter Hanley Motors is a registered
member of The Society of the Irish
Motor Industry

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