How to save money when buying your next car

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Let’s face it, everyone loves a bargain! Buying your next car is a really exciting time, but what’s even more exciting is getting the best deal possible. UK Car Finance have put together a list of simple ways that can save you money when buying your next car.

Happy family riding in a car

Depreciation cost and how to avoid it

What is depreciation cost? Simply put, depreciation cost is the difference between the value of a car when you buy it and when you come to sell it. Depending on the make and model, depreciation can drop between 15-33% in the first year but can even drop by up to 50% in the first three years! The cost for each vehicle is different depending on a number of factors and there are many reasons why some car depreciates faster than others.

  • Miles on the clock – the more miles a car does in a year, the faster it will depreciate.
  • Reliability – some cars are known for being more unreliable than others
  • Number of owners – the fewer owners, the better!
  • Take care – if a car has been looked after then it will be worth more when you come to buying it or if you’re reselling.
  • Size matters – bigger cars usually cost more to run and maintain which speeds up the depreciation rate
  • Regular service – a car that is up to date with its service requirements and has a solid service history will depreciate at a lesser rate

Best way to sell your current car

If you’re looking to get rid of your current car to make way for a shiny new one, you might not know the best way to make as much money as possible. If you’re getting your car from a dealership and want to get rid of your current car at the same time, the easiest way to do this is a part exchange. However, you’ll probably get less for it. Also, there isn’t usually room for negotiation in a part exchange. If you choose to sell your car privately, you can choose the price and whether or not you negotiate it so it gives you more control. However, it can also take up a lot of your time! Make sure you’re accurate in your listing, whether it’s in the local paper, on online trading site or through social media. Another way to sell your car is through car auctions, however it is risky if you’re bothered about how much money you make from it. You can’t guarantee how much the vehicle will go for in an auction so you may get less than you were hoping for. Some small charges also do apply to certain auctions so do your research before you decide on how you’re going to sell.

Calculator your car costs

If you’re looking to buy your car with cash, on finance, with a credit card or with a personal loan, you should budget all your spending first to see how much you can save during the process. Work out how much you can afford to spend on a car and then factor in the additional costs such as car insurance, road tax, fuel, breakdown cover, maintenance costs such as MOTs and services, and any unexpected repair costs.  If you’re looking for a car on finance, why not use and online car finance calculator to work out what loan you can afford? By simply setting your monthly budget, duration of the loan and what your credit score is, you can calculator the amount of loan you could be offered and then browse cars within your monthly budget!

When’s the best time to buy?

The time of year can be very important and also depends on what you’re looking for. Want a convertible for the summer? Buy it in the winter or spring when the demand is lower and you will usually get a cheaper deal! Why not plan for winter and get your 4×4 in the summer months? Demand for bigger and more ‘winter proof’ cars usually start in autumn. Also bear in mind that new registrations come out in March and September each year, so usually dealerships will want to shift some old used stock at a lower price in February and August! If you’re buying from a dealership, the sales team tend to have weekly, monthly and quarter targets. You may be more likely to be offered a better deal if you catch them at the right time e.g. end of the working week or month!

Think it over

There are lots of things to consider when buying your next car. We’ve covered budget, selling, depreciation and when to buy, which may seem like a lot already! But don’t worry, we just want to make sure you make the most informed choice possible. Whichever buying process you go for, make sure you get the best cash, loan, credit card or car finance deals possible! Also, take a test drive (or five) to help make up your mind. You may have the perfect car for your budget but then find that its terrible to drive. Shop around before you commit to anything and take a few days to think about it. Our top tips are to do your research, think it over and don’t rush into anything!