Hello, I’m Honest John and I’ve been answering people’s car queries in the Daily Telegraph for 18 and a half years and for the last 12 years I’ve been running my own website www.honestjohn.co.uk
Do your research
Before you get out into the market do your research, the internet is a great friend to anybody buying a car now, because you can look up every car, they can look at what goes wrong with them, they can look at what people are asking for them both from dealers and privately so, they can know exactly where they are before they actually enter the dealership.
Work out your budget
Work out how much you have got to spend, how you can comfortably afford on the car, the last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with a big debt on a depreciating asset.
Plan before you visit
Go into the dealership with a plan, don’t wander in aimlessly, because then they’ll spot you walking in and you’ll be mincemeat to them.
You’ve got to know exactly what you want; you’ve got to know exactly what kind of car you want, what you want from the car, what you want its running cost to be, what you want its insurance to be and most of all, how much you are going to pay for it.
Get the most out of the test drive
So when you go out on your test drive you are trying to find out how you get on with the car and it’s always a good idea to stop somewhere on your test drive.
Get out, fiddle about with the car, open the bonnet, open the boot, mess about a bit, check whether it’s got a spare – do all that sort of thing – and then get back into the car and start it up and drive it again, because the second time you drive a car you find out things that you didn’t realise the first time you drive a car, you feel much more familiar with it the second time.
Go in clued up
Well, you’re not exactly walking in to a den of thieves but they know a lot more about negotiating than you do, so the more ammunition you’ve got, the better.
If you’ve researched prices, what private people are asking for cars, what other dealers are asking for cars, you are in a much better negotiating position.