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What Questions Should You Ask When Buying a New Car at a Dealership?

Buying a car from a dealership offers a host of advantages that can make the entire new car-buying process a more convenient, secure, and satisfying experience. Dealerships provide a one-stop solution for potential buyers, offering a wide range of vehicles, often with a variety of financing options and the assurance of professional service and support.

Dealerships can offer peace of mind, a streamlined purchasing process, and the opportunity to explore and test-drive different models all under one roof. But there are some questions you should ask the dealer before signing that bottom line.

What to Ask a Car Dealership

When purchasing a new car from a dealership, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you make an informed decision and get the best deal possible. Here are some important questions to consider:

  1. What is the Total “On-the-Road” Price? Ask for a breakdown of all costs, including taxes, registration fees, and any additional charges, to determine the final price of the car.
  2. What Financing Options Are Available? Inquire about the financing options offered by the dealership. Ask about interest rates, loan terms, and any special financing deals or promotions.
  3. Are There Any Manufacturer or Dealership Incentives? Check if there are any manufacturer or dealership incentives, such as cash rebates, low-interest financing, or special lease rates, that you may be eligible for.
  4. What is the Warranty Coverage? Understand the warranty coverage for the new car, including the duration and mileage limits. Ask about any extended warranty options.
  5. What Maintenance and Service Plans are Available? Inquire about prepaid maintenance plans or service packages and their cost. This can help you budget for routine maintenance.
  6. Can I Test Drive the Car? Always request a test drive to get a feel for the vehicle’s performance, comfort, and features.
  7. What Safety Features Does the Car Have? Ask about the vehicle’s safety features, including airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
  8. What Fuel Efficiency Can I Expect? Explore the car’s fuel efficiency and ask for estimates of the average miles per gallon (MPG) for both city and highway driving.
  9. What Technology and Infotainment Features Are Included? Check for features like touchscreen displays, navigation systems, smartphone integration (e.g., Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and safety tech (e.g., adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist).
  10. Is the Car in Stock or a Factory Order? Determine if the car you’re interested in is currently in stock or if it needs to be factory-ordered. If it’s a factory order, ask about the estimated delivery time.
  11. What is the Resale Value? While it’s a new car, it’s essential to consider its expected resale value in the future. Ask about historical depreciation rates for the make and model.
  12. Are There Any Additional Fees or Charges? Clarify if there are any additional fees, such as dealer documentation fees or delivery charges, that will be added to the purchase price.
  13. Can You Provide a Vehicle History Report? If it’s a new car from the dealership’s inventory, a vehicle history report may not be necessary. However, for used or demo models, ask for any available history reports.
  14. What is the Return Policy or Cooling-Off Period? Find out if the dealership has a return policy or cooling-off period in case you change your mind shortly after the purchase.
  15. Can You Provide a Full Vehicle Demonstration? Ask the salesperson to demonstrate how all the car’s features and functions work, including any advanced technology and safety systems.
  16. What is the Delivery Process? Understand the process for taking delivery of the vehicle, including any required paperwork and inspections.
  17. What is the Dealership’s Reputation and Customer Service Record? Research the dealership’s reputation and ask about their customer service and after-sales support.
  18. Can I Have a Copy of the Sales Agreement in Advance? Request a copy of the sales agreement in advance so you can review it thoroughly before finalising the purchase.

Remember to take your time, do your research, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions that will help you feel confident in your decision to purchase a new car from the dealership.


Related Reading: Click4Gap Guide to Buying a New Car in the UK


Other Things to Consider When Buying a New Car

Buying a new car is a significant financial decision, and there are several additional factors to consider beyond the questions you should ask the dealership. Here are some other important things to keep in mind:

  • Insurance Costs: Research the cost of insurance for the specific make and model of the car you’re considering. Insurance premiums can vary significantly based on factors like the car’s value, engine size, and security features. You should also consider gap insurance so you won’t get stuck with the balance of your load if the car is written off or stolen.
  • Road Tax (Vehicle Excise Duty): Check the annual road tax cost for the car. Some new cars may qualify for zero or reduced road tax based on their emissions and fuel efficiency.
  • Depreciation: Be aware that new cars typically experience significant depreciation in their first few years. Consider how this will affect the car’s value and your finances in the long run.
  • Fuel Type: Decide whether you want a petrol, diesel, hybrid, or electric vehicle based on your driving habits and environmental considerations.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Look at the car’s fuel efficiency ratings, as this can have a substantial impact on your ongoing operating costs.
  • Environmental Impact: If environmental concerns are a priority for you, research the car’s emissions and fuel efficiency to choose a more eco-friendly option.
  • Resale Value: Consider the resale or trade-in value of the car down the road. Some brands and models hold their value better than others.
  • Maintenance Costs: Research the expected maintenance and servicing costs for the car, including the availability and cost of spare parts.
  • Safety Ratings: Check safety ratings and crash-test results from organisations like Euro NCAP to ensure the car meets your safety requirements.
  • Parking and Storage: Consider where you will park and store the vehicle, especially if you live in a city with limited parking options.
  • Ownership Costs: Factor in costs beyond the purchase price, such as insurance, fuel, maintenance, road tax, and any financing costs.
  • Warranty Coverage: Understand the details of the manufacturer’s warranty, including its duration, coverage, and any conditions that may void the warranty.
  • Extended Warranty Options: Inquire about the availability of extended warranty plans to provide additional coverage beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Ownership Experience: Research owner reviews and feedback to get insights into the ownership experience of the specific make and model you’re interested in.
  • Special Features: Explore optional features and packages that may enhance your driving experience, but be mindful of their cost.
  • Resale Value: Some brands and models tend to have better resale value than others. Research the resale value of the car you’re considering to make an informed decision.
  • Test Drive: Take the car for an extended test drive to evaluate its comfort, handling, and overall driving experience.
  • Negotiation: Be prepared to negotiate the price with the dealership. Dealers may be willing to offer discounts or incentives, especially if you’re a repeat customer.
  • Ownership Costs: Consider the long-term ownership costs, including depreciation, insurance, fuel, taxes, and maintenance, to ensure the car fits your budget.
  • Ownership Duration: Think about how long you plan to keep the car. If you tend to change vehicles frequently, consider how depreciation may affect your finances.

Taking the time to thoroughly research and consider these factors will help you make a well-informed decision when buying a new car. It’s essential to align your choice with your budget, lifestyle, and preferences to ensure you’re satisfied with your purchase.


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