If you’re in the process of changing your car, you want to be sure you’re buying from a dealer you can trust. One that isn’t going to patronise you just because you’re a female, right?
Females often draw the short straw when it comes to customer service at dealerships. Possibly because some staff think we don’t know what we’re talking about when it comes to buying cars. Sadly some dealerships still try to hoodwink us or sell us a vehicle that may not be what it seems.
The truth is that if you are buying a car, you need to make sure that the dealer includes the Significant Seven – seven extremely important elements that will help you pick the bangers from the bargains AND provide the ultimate peace of mind to you as a motorist.
So without further ado, here they are:
1 A full background check
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects. Without the background check being done, you won’t know whether the vehicle has an outstanding finance arrangement, has been stolen previously, was written off and then given a new identity, or whether there are discrepancies with the number plates or VIN/chassis number. The background check (often referred to as a provenance check) is the ONLY way to guarantee that the vehicle is exactly what you would expect it to be and if anything is flagged as unusual, DON’T BUY IT no matter how good a deal it is.
2 A safety inspection
A safety inspection is the only way to rule out any accident causing defects, which could put you and other road users in serious danger. Typically, dealers carrying out safety inspections will check all the items covered during an MOT, including but not limited to whether there is sufficient tread on the tyres, the operation of the headlights, oil levels, seatbelt operation and checks for windscreen damage and worn brakes. It is the only way to make sure your new car is actually safe to drive in the first place.
3 A comprehensive warranty
Sudden mechanical and electrical failures cause financial difficulty for many people as it’s often hard to have a contingency motoring budget in place when the cost of living is so high. If you purchase a vehicle that doesn’t come with a warranty, then you will be at risk of facing repair bills which could run into thousands of pounds – a typical engine replacement will set you back over £2,000 alone! Remember to ask the dealer what level of warranty cover is included, the duration and claim limit, and make sure that it covers as a bare minimum the engine, gearbox, timing belts and ECU (electronic control unit) as these are the most costly to repair.
4 Recovery breakdown
A comprehensive level of breakdown cover should at minimum cover you for home and roadside repairs and assistance, and an onward destination service. If you have a warranty in place then you could claim for the tow-in charges and car hire as part of your claim liability, but always ensure that you get this authorised first of all by the warranty company. If you are planning to take the vehicle abroad, remember to check how many days of EU cover are included, and whether you will need to pay an excess if you make a callout.
5 A mileage verification
A mileage verification goes hand-in-hand with the background check and many dealers will automatically include it so remember to clarify this with them once they’ve completed said background check. If the mileage on the odometer doesn’t match that in the V5 document, then it may have been ‘clocked’ (mileage reset or wound back) to give the appearance that the vehicle has travelled less than it actually has, cloned or it could have a hidden past.
6 An independent price
Unless you happen to carry around a car valuation retail price guide, then you are unlikely to know what is determined a ‘fair’ price for the vehicle you are about to buy. To make sure that you are not paying over the top, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the dealer and use a valuation website such as www.usedcarexpert.co.uk before you visit the dealership who will provide three independent valuations based on the make, model, age, mileage and even geographical location of the vehicle you are intending to buy.
7 A dealer buy-back promise
Most dealers will take your vehicle as part-exchange when you come to change it again as they want you to come back, but there are some that won’t. Make sure you get a written guarantee that the dealer will purchase the vehicle back from you regardless of its age, mileage and condition which can be used as part-payment for your next vehicle.
For more information please visit www.safeandsound.co.uk.
‘Safe and Sound’ is endorsed by motor racing legend Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who says “If you buy a Safe car, you’re going to make a Sound investment. I am pleased to have my name associated with ‘Safe and Sound’; it is a winning product for motorists in the UK.”