A GUEST BLOG written by Criena Davies, Advertising Manager at McCarthy Cars.
Buying a used car can be a very daunting experience for many women. Despite our battle for equality (largely successful to date), we still experience occasional bouts of sexism when we’re out shopping for a new car.
Assumptions that we don’t really know what we’re talking about and are easy to walk over are made far too often. This is why we need to do our homework in advance; to know exactly what we want so that the only thing taken for a ride is our lovely new car!
With so many places selling cars these days it can be an overwhelming experience but if you allow yourself the time and take it ‘step by step’ you can make things a lot easier on yourself.
Buying privately or from a used car dealer?
Your first decision might be whether to buy from a dealer or from a private seller and whilst the lower price of the private sale might look very attractive if things go wrong with the car afterwards you have no legal comeback at all. Whereas, professional used car dealers, like McCarthy Cars, will offer you warranties and security just in case something unforeseen goes wrong with your new car after you’ve bought it. Another reassuring factor is that most used car dealers will have thoroughly checked and prepared the car for sale, charging you a fair price based on its condition.
Unless you have a specific car in your mind, buying privately can be a time-wasting nightmare and I write from personal experience. I have spent days looking for a specific car in the past whereas if you contact a Certified Used Car Dealer, either in person or via their website, they will probably have most cars and car types in stock. If you tell the salesperson what you are looking for, chances are they will be able to help you find the right car, whether it’s a zippy hatchback, roomy estate or executive saloon.
Doing your car buying homework
It is very important to know exactly what you require from your new car in advance, even if you don’t have too many specifics in mind. Perhaps you have a large family, so you need lots of space? If it’s your first car you will need to consider tax and the ever rising cost of insurance… If you know exactly what you need, you will not get side-tracked by any sales patter that a salesman might use to sell you a car that isn’t right for you.
A few things to decide before you start your search is whether you want an automatic or a manual car, the number of doors and seats, a petrol or diesel engine and the engine size itself.
Location may be the next thing to consider. Do you want a local dealership or are you prepared to travel for the right car and deal? If you find a car online that you like, make sure that you phone the dealer in advance to check that it’s still available to save a wasted journey.
If you pick a professional used car dealership, like McCarthy Cars, they may offer a pick up and drop off service, to collect you from the nearest train station for example. In most cases and with some advance planning, you should be able to drive away the same day. Another factor is when the dealership is open – we are open 7 days a week, until 7pm for example. So make sure you pick a car dealership that fits your busy schedule.
Dealerships that employ women are also a good sign of course. It’s reassuring to see a friendly face on arrival and it isn’t just women who feel at ease with a female face!
Now that you have your car buying shortlist you can start the exciting bit, looking for the best car, knowing precisely what you want.
Buying advice to check the car is as good as it looks
It’s always good to do your homework in advance, so if you have access to the internet a HPI check on the vehicle will confirm that all is above board. Most reputable dealers will have already done this, so ask to see a copy of this before committing to anything. Have a good check round the car, inside and out, to make sure it is as described. Try out the radio and any onboard technology for example. Take a lengthy test drive and make sure you feel comfortable in it. By all means bring a friend along for moral support. Some used car dealerships may let you drive the car on your own if you feel up to it in an unfamiliar location. But either way, never be afraid to take your time and ask as many questions about the car as you like, even ones you think might sound a bit silly. It’s better to be thorough and ask too many questions than too few then getting the car home and realising that you should have asked this or that at the time.
Finally you’ll get a feel for the dealership when you visit, and the people who work there. Do you feel comfortable there, do you feel like you can trust them, and most importantly, do you feel special and valued? You want to know that you are buying a car from a business you can trust so that, if you need to contact them about the car afterwards, that you’d feel comfortable doing this in the knowledge that they’ll take any concerns seriously and do all they can to resolve the issue for you.
I hope my car buying advice will help you buy the right used car in future AND enjoy the car shopping experience.
About Our Guest Editor
Criena Davies firstname.lastname@example.org is the Advertising Manager at award winning car dealership McCarthy Cars with busy branches in Croydon and Clapham. Criena is involved in the entire car sales process from the time the new cars arrive until they leave with their new owner. This involves promoting each car via the company website, using customer newsletters, social media channels and YouTube videos where appropriate. Customer feedback is paramount and proof that McCarthy Cars is getting things right for so many customers, including women drivers.
McCarthy Cars also carries out a range of garage services and both Croydon and Clapham locations are members of FOXY Choice’s female friendly approved garage network, the only one of its kind in the UK.