When it comes to buying a new or used vehicle from a dealer, you don’t want to realise that you’ve forgotten to ask something after the contract has been signed. You may not have even thought to query certain things, especially if you’ve never bought a car before. For instance, if you’ve not come across sales taxes before, you wouldn’t know to ask about them!
A vehicle will often be a large expense - for some people, it’s second only to a mortgage in terms of their most expensive finance agreement. So you don’t want to invest a lot of money into a car that comes with various catches. There’s no point putting down a lump sum if there will be problems later down the line.
To help you feel more confident in your new vehicle, and the agreement you sign, we’ve looked at five key questions to ask your dealer below:
1. How Much Will I Pay Every Month?
One of the most important things to confirm with both the lender and the dealer is how much your monthly instalments would be. This amount will be calculated using factors such as the price of the vehicle, your credit history and the interest rate you’re offered. It can be a good idea to go through the breakdown of your payments with the dealer, so you’re confident that you fully understand the agreement.
How many months you’ll be paying towards the vehicle is also a crucial question to ask. You don’t want to forget about any payments, and end up falling behind. And as many people only budget their car finance payments for a set length of time, you don’t want to get caught out. Ensure you know exactly how much you’re paying, and how long for, so that this can be factored into your outgoings.
2. What is the APR?
APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is essentially how much interest you’ll be charged each year. You’ve probably come across the term before, especially if you’ve taken out other forms of credit, but you might not fully understand what it means. Some interest, for example, is calculated using the original loan amount, while with other agreements, the interest rate is based on the current balance.
In some cases, the interest will be calculated from the purchase price of the vehicle. So if you were to borrow £8,400, and had an annual interest rate of 8%, the total interest spread over twelve months would be £840, or £70 a month. Overall, the lower APR, the less interest you’d be repaying.
3. Are There Any Additional Fees?
Another question you should ask the dealer is if there are any fees outside of the monthly instalments. For example, you may not be made explicitly aware of sales tax, registration and dealership fees, or financing charges. There are other additional fees that could be applied too, so go over the contract with a fine tooth comb.
Overall, you don’t want to be signing something that you’re not completely sure about. So you will need to review every line of the agreement, and discuss any costs or issues that concern you with your dealer.
4. What Does the Warranty Cover?
The warranty on your vehicle is basically the dealer’s promise to pay for replacement parts or repairs, within a set period of time. But a warranty rarely covers everything, in a similar way to car insurance. You may be able to get better coverage with a more expensive warranty agreement - if you’re interested in this, speak to your dealer about the options they provide.
And if you’re happy with the normal warranty, make sure you discuss all the ins and outs of the contract. Find out exactly what is covered, how long for, and if there are any exceptions. The last thing you want is to be handed a huge repair bill that you thought would come under your warranty but doesn’t!
5. Can I Trade in My Old Vehicle?
Unless you’re buying your first car, chances are you’ll be looking to get rid of your old vehicle when purchasing a new one. If you are hoping to trade your old car in, you should speak to the dealer about it as soon as possible. They’ll be able to guide you through the process, explaining how the transaction will work.
Of course if you want to get the best price for your previous vehicle, you may wish to ask around for other quotes. Do some research online too, working out the average price of your make and model. Even if you don’t sell the car through one of these sites, knowing how much your vehicle is worth will make it easier to haggle with your dealer.