New Peugeot 308 SW first drive review

Despite the growing sales of SUVs, there is still plenty of interest in conventional estate cars. There has been a rash of new launches recently, and the latest to enter the fray is the Peugeot 308 SW. Based on the existing hatchback, it’s the second version of the 308 family to go on sale, but also the first Peugeot to benefit from the company’s new Puretech petrol engines that will eventually appear across its full range.

With prices starting at £16,845, the SW costs about £1,100 more than the equivalent hatchback, and comes with the same choice of engines and trims. Among its rivals will be the recently launched estate versions of the Seat Leon, Honda Civic, Toyota Auris and Volkswagen Golf, as well as the long-established Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.

In terms of practicality, at least, the 308 SW is up with the best of them. There’s plenty of space in the front, and the boot capacity of 660 litres (which expands to 1,775 with the rear seats folded down) puts it ahead of its most obvious rivals. Best of all, it could hardly be easier to swap between the two configurations, as the rear seats drop down with the use of just one lever to leave a perfectly flat floor; and, they’re easy to raise back to the upright position again. It’s also neat that the luggage cover can be stowed under the floor when not needed, and that the sill is nice and low, making it easy to load and unload.

The quality inside is impressive, too, and if there are a couple of criticisms, they’re that the dashboard design – with a small steering wheel that you look over to see the dials – takes some getting used to, and space in the rear seats is a little tight if there’s a pair of six-footers in the front seats. However, as long the front seats aren’t pushed the whole way back, there’s enough room for a couple of adults in the back.

We’ve already been impressed by how the 308 hatchback drives, and if anything, the new SW is even better, as the longer wheelbase of the SW gives it a little more composure. It provides a fine blend of ride and handling, with enough firmness to keep the car well balanced and body roll well controlled through the bends, but not so much as to leave the car feeling uncomfortable over poor surfaces. On the contrary, on our test route in France, it was only over the worst bumps that the car felt at all uncomfortable.

Overall, the 308 SW is a good all-rounder, easy to manoeuvre around town, enjoyable once you’re beyond the city limits and composed on the motorway. Our only real criticism is that there’s a little more wind noise from around the windscreen pillars than we’d like at the motorway limit.

One of the car’s most impressive features is the new three-cylinder Puretech petrol engine. Although the 1.2-litre units may sound too small to power a car as big as this, the 128bhp version we tried proved very refined and gave more than acceptable performance. Its average economy of 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of just 109g/km will keep its running costs down, too, and will doubtless appeal to tax-conscious company car drivers, especially as it is cheaper to buy than the equivalent diesel.

That said, the diesel engines are also very impressive, with the 1.6 BlueHDi good enough to make you question the need for anything more powerful or expensive – especially when it has average economy of more than 85mpg and CO2 emissions of just 85g/km. It has plenty of power for everyday use, and the only real stumbling block is that it costs over £1,000 more than the equivalent car with the 128bhp Puretech engine.

Throw in decent equipment – every model has Bluetooth, DAB radio, air-con and cruise control, with all but the base Access also having alloys, a colour touch-screen, sat-nav and an electric handbrake – and prices that compare very favourably with even the latest rivals’, and the 308 SW looks as attractive a buy as it is a practical one.

All the new launches recently mean buyers looking for a compact estate car have never had it so good; and, if you are in the market, the 308 SW could just be the pick of the bunch.

Car Repair Loan

A car repair loan can help cover the cost of fixing a vehicle after an accident or breakdown. Since repairs are expensive, people often do not have enough liquid cash to have their vehicles fixed immediately. Because of this, a car repair loan is important for drivers who cannot afford to be without a car and do not have the money to pay for repairs in the short term. A repair loan is also useful in emergency repair situations or when asking family or friends for a loan is not an option.

What is a car repair loan?

Car repair loans are similar to any other loan, except the money goes toward auto repairs or the driver’s insurance deductible for accident repairs. Many people think that they will never need a car repair loan, but according to Lending Tree, newer cars with added features often cost more to repair. If a car has numerous airbags, advanced technology, imported parts or aftermarket add-ons, the repair costs can run in the thousands of dollars. Also, depending on the make of the car, what may seem like a simple repair can actually end up being quite complicated.

Car repair loans are best for extremely expensive repairs. A loan company will pay for the repairs and then bill the driver in affordable monthly installments. If using the money for an insurance deductible, the loan company will give the driver the money to use toward both the deductible and any needed repairs. If borrowers have money left over from the loan, they can use it to repay the loan or to pay for other (not necessarily related) expenses.

Types of Car Repair Loans

The two main types of car repair loans are loans issued through a bank or lending company and title loans, which are often issued through a pawnshop or “quickie” loan company. Standard loans through traditional financial institutions involve an application process and a credit check. Loan approval usually requires the borrower to have good credit. Some repair shops also work with financial institutions to supply repair loans to customers.

A title loan is borrowed against the title of the vehicle. Many lenders will offer a “no credit” or “bad credit” option for loans based on the value of the vehicle. Services like EZ Repair Loan allow car owners to call from the dealership to request loan approval. After receiving the proper paperwork and invoice for the repairs, the company either approves or denies the loan. Loan amount and payments are calculated according to the value of the vehicle, and there is no need for credit cards.

While title loans are preferable for people with little credit or bad credit, borrowers run the risk of losing the vehicle on unpaid loans. Should the borrower default on payments, the lender will take possession of the vehicle as repayment of the debt. Also, since there is greater risk involved with a title loan, interest rates are usually higher than rates offered by banking institutions, sometimes climbing into triple digits. When researching lenders, it is important for borrowers to understand the loan’s conditions, interest rate and repayment terms before agreeing to take the money.
Benefits of a Car Repair Loan

The main benefit of a car repair loan is being able to pay for highly priced repairs without needing to come up with a single lump-sum payment. The same is also true for high insurance deductibles that must be paid before insurance coverage takes effect.

Other benefits include:

  • Being able to improve the car with optional procedures, such as a new paint job or a detailed cleaning
  • Not having to charge the repairs to a high-interest credit card
  • Being able to pay for repairs without asking friends or family for money
  • Getting the vehicle back in a timely manner, instead of having to save money slowly for repairs

Car Repair Loan Disadvantages

There are also some disadvantages to a car repair loan. The biggest disadvantage occurs when borrowers take out a title loan, because control of the vehicle is taken away from the driver and is given to the lender. While borrowers may feel that the situation is not dangerous, missing only a few payments could cause the lender to send a repossession company to collect the vehicle. For people who borrow through a bank, missing payments can damage their credit ratings and have a serious effect on their ability to acquire loans in the future.

Something else to consider before taking out a car repair loan is the actual value of the vehicle. If the repairs cost just as much or only slightly more than buying a new or used vehicle, then taking out a repair loan may not be a smart financial decision. For example, if the cost of repairs is $6,000, but the value of the vehicle is only $4,500, taking out a repair loan for $6,000 is detrimental, and the driver is better off trading in or selling the old vehicle for a new one. However, for repairs that do not exceed the vehicle’s value, a car repair loan can be a good way to get car repairs done quickly and get back on the road.

Eight Steps to Buying a New Car – Part Two

Step 5: Try Negotiating a Lower Price

If you think you can negotiate an even better deal, you have another option: Request Internet price quotes from at least three local dealers. Take the lowest price, call the other dealerships and say, “If you beat this price, I’ll buy it from you.” The dealer almost certainly will give you a better price.

Some shoppers find this time-consuming and stressful, so consider whether the potential savings are worth the time and effort. It’s good to remember that a good deal isn’t just the lowest selling price. It’s a combination of the most streamlined, enjoyable shopping experience and the lowest total out-the-door cost.

Step 6: Review New Car Fees and Check Dealer Financing

Besides the cost of the car, you have to pay sales tax, registry fees and a documentation, or “doc” fee. Now ask the Internet sales manager or the dealership’s Price Promise contact to supply a breakdown of all the fees, or a “worksheet,” which lists the purchase price, the vehicle’s invoice and all related fees. Review the figures carefully before signing the sales contract.

Back in Step One, you were pre-approved for financing. But who knows? Maybe you can get an even better interest rate at the dealership. To see if that’s possible, you can let the dealership run a credit report and assess what interest rate you qualify for. If it is lower than your pre-approved loan, go for it. If not, you already have a good loan locked in.

If the price, financing and fees look right, it’s nearly time to say yes to the deal. But before you do, consider making the sale contingent on having your new car delivered to your home or office. This is a great time saver and allows you to close the deal in a relaxed environment.

Step 7: Sign the Paperwork

This step will take place at your home if you have the dealership deliver the car, or at the dealership if you prefer to pick it up there. Either way, make sure there are no dents or scratches on the body or the wheels. Check that all the equipment is included, such as floor mats, owner’s manuals and rear-seat DVD headphones. Your new car should also come with a full tank of gas. If anything is missing or needs repair, ask for a “Due Bill” that puts this in writing.

In cases of home delivery, the salesperson arrives with all the necessary paperwork. If you opt to pick up your car at the dealership, you will sign paperwork in the finance and insurance office, where the finance manager may try to sell you additional items. These typically include extended warranties, fabric protection or additional alarm systems. These extras can often be purchased elsewhere for less. One product that can have real value is an extended auto warranty, which provides peace of mind to many buyers and could save you money in the long run. Remember, though, that its price also is negotiable and you can always buy it later. You can learn more about the products offered by the finance manager in “Negotiating a Dealer’s New-Car Add-Ons.”

Review the contract carefully and make sure the numbers match the worksheet and that there are no additional charges or fees. A good finance manager will explain each form and what it means. Don’t hurry. Buying a car is a serious commitment. And remember, there is no cooling-off period. Once you sign the contract, the car is yours.

Step 8: Take Delivery of Your New Car

You are probably eager to begin driving your new car. But this is an important step: Let the salesperson give you a tour of your new car. This could include showing you how to connect your smartphone to the car’s Bluetooth system and learning how to use other important features and safety devices. Yes, you can review all this in the manual later, but it’s quite helpful to get a hands-on demonstration. If you don’t have time for a complete demonstration when you sign the contract, ask to visit the dealership a week later for this important step.

As you drive away, there is only one more thing to do: Enjoy your new car.

Eight Steps to Buying a New Car

The following steps will show you how to locate, price and negotiate to buy the new car you want. Using this information could save you thousands of dollars on a new car and make the process quicker and enjoyable. It also puts you in charge of the deal-making process — and that feeling of empowerment is a good one.

Step 1: Get Approved for a Car Loan

A powerful first step in the car buying process is to get approved for a loan. (If you have decided to lease your new car, things proceed a little differently, so please read “10 Steps to Leasing a New Car.”) Getting approved for a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender will show you what interest rate you qualify for. If the interest rate offered is unexpectedly high, you will know that there are problems with your credit history that need to be resolved before you move forward. Getting approved in advance will also mean you can negotiate at the dealership as a cash buyer, which is much easier. You can still accept dealership financing, but getting approved before you even walk into the dealership will be the bargaining chip to get you the best interest rate.

Step 2: Price Your Car and Your Trade-in

Everyone knows that the price of a new car is usually negotiable. But how much of a discount can you expect? You can see the price of the car you want to buy, and also the price of your trade-in, if you have one. Choose the make, model and year of the car you want to appraise and follow the prompts. TMV adjusts the new car price for the available incentives. TMV for your used car shows the current market value if you sell it to a private party or trade it in at the dealership.

While TMV already factors in incentives, it is also possible to separately review the latest incentives and rebates available for all new cars. Perhaps you’ll find an even better bargain on a new car you had not considered.

Step 3: Locate Your New Car

As you search for your car, keep in mind that the more flexible you can be about options and color, the wider the range of the vehicles you’ll find for sale. Being flexible will also give you more leverage to negotiate a better price, since you are not emotionally connected to one specific car.

Select the make, model and year of the car you want. You’ll then get a page that displays several actual cars for sale in your area, along with Price Promise offers (more about Price Promise in the next step). Click on the link “Find Cars for Sale Near You” in the upper half of the screen. You then will make selections about options and color to get a more complete list of matching cars available for sale. Once you find the exact car you want, the next step will be to contact the dealership.

Step 4: Use Price Promise and Dealership Internet Departments

Now that you are approaching the deal-making phase of the process, here’s more about a good pathway for buying a new car: It assures car shoppers a guaranteed, up-front price on a specific car.

Look for Price Promise offers on the car of your choice, print out the certificate on the page and you are ready to go to the dealership to conclude the deal. It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure the car is still available. Here are other tips on how to use Price Promise to buy your next car.

If there’s no Price Promise offer on a car you want, shopping through a dealership’s Internet department will save you time and money. You can easily communicate with the Internet manager by phone or e-mail.

We know that many people are drawn to the traditional way of car buying: visiting showrooms right off the bat. If you go this route, you should assess the car salesperson who is working with you before moving forward. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable and sense that you can trust this person. If you do feel comfortable, set up a time to test-drive the car if you haven’t already done so. (It’s a key step in finding the car that’s right for you.) Before you head to the dealership, review all your notes and bring them with you.

Body Kits Personalize Any Vehicle

The summer is about to arrive, and if you haven’t taken care of your car yet, it’s certainly time to start. Sure, you can leave your money at the car wash and hope to get the looks for that shiny piece rollin’ out of the wash. Or, you can put your money into body kits that transform your ride into an extra-ordinary car on the streets. Do you think this sounds like a great idea and you need some inspiration? Take a look at the following most common custom body kits for different makes and models.

A Mustang body kit accentuates the individual style of a Ford Mustang to the max. You can get single components like side view mirrors or rear spoilers, or go for a full body kit. Like the Volkswagen Golf body kit and the Ford Focus body kit, the Mustang full body kit comes either as an air dam kit or a front fascia replacement. The air dam kit gives your ride an aggressive and sporty look with its air dam, side skirts, rear spoiler, and rear valance. The front fascia replacement includes a mesh, side skirts, rear valance, a single exhaust, and a rear spoiler. Now imagine how your Honda, Acura, or Chevy would be transformed with a Prelude body kit, Integra body kit, or Camaro body kit!

So, you schlepp your car to the service station and tell the guy: “Hey, put the Cavalier body kit on my car.” Perhaps, you hear something in reply like: “Dude, you gotta wait in line. I needa get this Neon body kit done first, then it’ll be the 300ZX body kit, then the RSX body kit. You gotta wait!” Body kits are very popular these days, so make sure you get yours first and make an appointment at the repair shop fast.

Individualizing your car is nothing new, however, with prices dropping on auto styling accessories, it’s the perfect time to look into all the fancy side view mirrors, spoilers, fender flares, bumpers, and roll pans. Making your ride as unique as possible shouldn’t cost a fortune and should get you excited every time you look at your car- with a body kit, you’ll do your body good!

Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes Online

Driving without auto insurance is illegal. Some people do not see the importance of getting auto insurance since they think that being careful while on the road is enough. This is mostly true for younger drivers. Even if you are careful on the road, there are other drivers who are not so careful and they may be the ones who cause the accidents. When this happens, having car insurance really helps. That is why it is very important to get auto insurance.

Auto insurance doesn’t come cheap. The auto insurance companies have different plans for vehicles of various makes and models. Aside from this, the terms of the agreement are also taken into account. The wisest thing to do when searching for auto insurance is to compare the terms from different insurance companies. This may take some time if you are planning to visit insurance companies in person. An alternative to this is to research cheap auto insurance quotes online.

There are a lot of websites that offer free services to aid you in finding the right insurance policy to get for your car. These services are easy to use. You just have to type in some data regarding your vehicle and other information such as your zip code and you will be able to get the quotes instantly. Be sure to research the companies first to check if they are legitimate. Afterwards, you can proceed with getting the quotes. Work with several insurance companies so that you can get the best deal without having to spend a lot of money for your car insurance.

In other websites, you will just have to fill out an insurance quote request form. After submitting the form with all of the vehicle’s information, you will be getting several car insurance quotes from different insurance carriers that are available in your area of residence. Searching for cheap quotes online is as easy as this.

Choosing the cheapest option may be your first priority but comparing the terms in the policy is also important when getting car insurance. Do not just go with the cheapest option that you have. Go with the plan that you will mostly benefit from and then look at the prices that different carriers offer. When you get all the insurance information, it will be easier for you to choose a plan so that you can be sure that you are getting the best insurance coverage at the cheapest prices.

Getting a Payday Loan for Your Car Emergency

Buying a car is easy if you have the money, but the truth is the purchase price is just the beginning of your auto expenses. After you get it, you will also need to take proper care of it.

There are many necessary expenses that come with car ownership. Especially if you just purchased a used car. Of course, the best idea is to plan ahead and always have money for eventual repairs, insurance payments so your can drive legally, and foreseeable expenses. If, for instance, you have an accident and you need money to repair your car fast, but you’re broke at the moment, there is a way to quickly get the money you need so you can get your car back on the road. Payday loans. With a payday loan for autos, your emergency can be solved easily and immediately.

A payday loan is a loan that is made for a very short term and it is perfect for emergencies like this one. In order to get one, you will need to go online and look for a lender or you can also look for one offline. There is a form that you will need to complete. You also need to provide proof of current employment, as well as provide federally issued I.D. When you do, you will get the money in your account in less than twenty four hours generally, sometimes in as little as an hour.

Payday loans cannot be rivaled in terms of the ease of getting funds. They are sometimes instant cash advances. In fact, they are designed for people with no credit or bad credit and no other way to borrow money. That is one reason the interest rates are higher than other types of loans. It’s really important to only use a payday loan in a real emergency, like when your car breaks down and you have no other way to get to work.

Be sure and know how you are going to pay the loan back when it comes due in a week or two. If you don’t pay it back when promised, the fees, penalties and higher interest rates can add up very quickly. In several months, it is very possible for the amount you owe to be double the original loan amount.

Lenders will extend the term of loans if you make the request before the money is due.

Now you know how to handle your car emergency repairs with payday loans for autos!

How to Check the Car Engine When Buying a Used Car

Whether customers are purchasing a vehicle for the first time or whether they have had experience with automobiles in the past, it is essential for each buyer to check a car’s engine when searching for a used car. The car may seem perfect, but without a dependable engine, it will likely serve as nothing more than a driveway decoration. Luckily for those who are not automotively inclined, checking an engine is very systematic and can be done by following a number of simple instructions that pertain to different parts of the engine or to specific occurrences. Potential car buyers need not feel overwhelmed if they follow the tips that are presented in this guide. They do not have to be expert auto mechanics to sort out the lemons from the true gems, as there are many websites, auto parts stores, car service shops, and online retailers like eBay that can help aid buyers in finding a used car that has a healthy engine. Simple steps like checking the odometer,, opening the hood, driving the car, examining the recently driven vehicle, taking a closer look at the engine, and conducting final research can all ensure that a car that a customer is considering buying is worth its asking price.
Check the Odometer

One of the most simple and easiest things to do when searching for a used car is to check the odometer. If the engine has powered the vehicle for more than 100,000 miles, that car’s lifespan is most likely coming close to an end, and it is often not worth the cost of buying a used car if it has very high mileage. Though the parameters of the term “high mileage” is often disputed, many consider it to be 155,000 miles or greater.
Open the Hood

Another step that buyers can take is to lift the car’s hood and check for any indication of poor care, such as dents, damage, or rust. Start the vehicle and pay close attention to see that it starts properly and without any stalling or hesitation. The engine should run smoothly after it has been started. If there is any unusual noise, including grinding, knocking, and pinging, they could be signs that a larger and much more costly issue. Noises can indicate wear on the internal engine parts. Buyers should note, however, that pinging and rattling are normal if the engine is a diesel engine.
Drive the Car

Buyers should make sure that they test the vehicle by driving it on both town or city roads and on highways. They should take notice of any abnormal vibrations or whether the car seems to have trouble accelerating or decelerating. Sometimes if drivers know that they would like a certain model of vehicle, it is helpful to test drive several on the market (both new and used) to compare the way that each one runs and to know if any aspect of the vehicle seems abnormal.
Beware of Smoke

If there is any smoke coming from the engine, that could be a bad sign. Buyers should watch for a smoking engine while the car is accelerating. A little bit of black smoke is normal for a diesel engine while starting it. However, blue, black, or white smoke most often is a sign that the engine is in need of repair. White smoke with a sweet smell, for example, could indicate that the engine has blown a gasket.
Hazard Messages on the Instrument Panel

A car’s instrument panel should not have any warning signs that indicate that the engine needs to be checked or that the oil pressure needs to be adjusted, for example. Many salespeople will try to talk the customer out of their concerns with these hazard messages, citing a default with that particular model and stating that there is no issue. Unfortunately, if a car is up for inspection and those hazard messages do appear, it is the responsibility of the owner to fix the problem so that the message is not present. Doing so can cost drivers more money.

How to Check the Car Engine When Buying a Used Car – Part Two

Examine the Recently Driven Vehicle

Once drivers have finished test driving a vehicle, they should park it in a level spot and, once again, open the hood.. They should then turn the car off and check under the vehicle for any leaks. The use of a flashlight can help with this task. The lower part of the engine and the transmission may be somewhat wet, but no oil drips should be present. Prospective buyers should note that if the air conditioner has been running, water coming from the drain tube is to be expected.
Check the Oil

In order to check the oil, buyers should locate the oil dipstick and pull it out. They should then wipe the oil onto a rag and note its color. If the color is a light brown to clear, that is a positive sign. Clean or full oil does not, however, always mean that the engine is in good shape. The dealer could have changed the oil recently, so it is important to take that into consideration. However, if the oil is dark or black, that could indicate negative consumption of oil by the engine. The exception is with diesel engines, where black oil is normal. Carbon deposits along the length of the dipstick, which show up as dark stains, is also a negative sign. A light gray colored froth may be a sign of the car having overheated, as water has leaked into the engine, or a gasket could be blown. Customers should never purchase a vehicle that has overheated, as it can create major problems.
Take a Closer Look at the Engine

When taking a look at the engine, prospective buyers should consider whether the engine itself looks clean. Oftentimes, dealerships and private sellers will remove any previous signs of leaks or buildup by steam cleaning the engine. Buyers should look for remaining stains that could indicate fluid leaks. Repairing gaskets can be costly and if they are leaking, it can be a costly process to have to undertake. If there are new spots of silicone in the gaskets or if there are areas that have been repaired (which are known as spot repairs), it could lead to the need for future replacements down the road. The engine may even need to be taken apart to replace these gaskets, which can be very costly. Buyers should note, however, that water coming from an air conditioning compressor is very normal if the air conditioning has been running. In order to check the engine, a flashlight can be shined inside the oil-fill cap to look at the internal surfaces. If there is any kind of buildup or sludge, it can be indicative of negligence in terms of oil changes and maintenance.
The Timing Belt

Buyers should try to determine whether the timing belt has been changed. Usually, timing belts need to be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles and are an added cost of buying a used vehicle when the buyer is expected to replace it. Buyers should make sure to ask sellers if they have receipts. Timing belts are usually difficult to view because there is a cover protecting them and obstructing them from view.
Signs of Neglect

Bulging gaskets, loose wires, and stripped or dry and cracked belts are all signs of a bad engine. If these issues are present, the engine has simply not been maintained properly. If buyers are unsure about what a bulging gasket looks like, for example, they should be sure to search for pictures online so that they can identify this problem.
Conduct Final Research

If a vehicle presents itself as not having any problems that a buyer is not willing to assume responsibility for, the car’s history records should be checked. Prospective buyers can request a report of the vehicle’s history using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Cars with a history of bad accidents or flooding should be avoided. If a car has had a history of overheating, it should be avoided whenever possible, as well. Buyers should also make sure that the odometer has not been reset by the seller to mislead them into purchasing a car with fewer miles, and, therefore, less chance of needing costly repairs.

If a seller states that repairs have been done, buyers should ask for the receipts and records of such work. A record of regular oil changes is a great tool in allowing customers to feel confident about a used car.

Lastly, once drivers have decided that an engine is satisfactory, given the above criteria, they should consult a third-party mechanic. This mechanic can perform an inspection and be able to tell a driver whether the engine is in acceptable condition, and if their inferences regarding the engine were correct. Having an inspection performed on the vehicle can be costly but could ultimately save customers money, as the mechanical inspector is able to accurately determine the worth of the vehicle.


So much of checking a car engine when buying a used car can be done by novice customers as long as they are knowledgeable about what is normal and about what can indicate a problem in an engine. Once buyers are educated, there is no excuse to be ignorant of car maintenance. Doing so not only allows customers to be more informed, but it also facilitates the better care of their subsequent vehicles. Ruling out vehicles with too many miles, vehicles that have been in accidents or overheated, or vehicles whose engines show signs of mistreatment, and having a trained third party mechanic inspect the vehicle are all ways to make sure that the experience of buying a car is an enjoyable one. Customers should remember that signs of mistreatment can manifest in many ways, ranging from the presence of sludge to a tapping sound in the engine. Buyers should remember to be observant. They should not forget to ask for any paperwork indicating previous work done, including oil changes. Following the simple procedures that have been presented in this guide can help to ensure that buyers do not end up purchasing a vehicle with a bad engine.

Buying A Car – How to negotiate a car sale

Haggling over the price of a car is an essential element of the buying process, so knowing how to do it properly could save you thousands of pounds.

If you’re buying a new car from a dealer, the bigger and more expensive it is, the more profit there is built in for the manufacturers – and the more potential there is for you to save.

If you’re buying a used car from a private individual, the laws of supply and demand are even more on your side. Millions of used cars are sold every year. It’s a buyer’s market.

British people are typically characterised as poor hagglers, so here are a few simple pointers to help you become an effective negotiator and clinch a great deal.

Knowing the market – either dealer or private – is hugely important.

If you’re buying privately, find out what similar cars are going for, set your price and then negotiate to that point with the seller. Auction websites are a good source of pricing information, if you refine your search to a specific model, year and mileage and then take an average.

Start at a low opening price, but be realistic. Let the other person negotiate you up to a price you’re both happy with.

Waving cash in the seller’s face used to be a recommended technique for cutting a sharp deal at a low price, but now that electronic banking is easily done on the spot, either through a smartphone or laptop, there’s no need to compromise your personal safety by taking along large bundles cash.

The key to buying from a dealer is knowledge – knowing what you want, and what the salesperson wants.

The simple job of car sales staff is to maximise profit. The knowledge they use to achieve that is to charge you as much as possible for the car they’re selling to you, and to give you as little as possible for the car you’re trading in.

You don’t have the benefit of expensive sales training, but being in a buyer’s market does give you a massive advantage. It’s your money, and you can choose to take it to any one of the thirty or so other manufacturers operating in the UK. In a depressed market, any dealer with one eye on sales targets is almost certainly rather more aware of your financial mobility than you are. Know this, and use it to your advantage.

Do your homework before you arrive at the dealers. Know exactly what it is you’re looking to buy, and what the costs of the options will be. Don’t be talked down into a lower-specified car unless the price reflects it. There’s no harm in letting yourself be ‘talked up’ from the car you say you want, to the car you actually want.

If you’re buying a secondhand car from a dealership, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of whatever warranty is included. Arguing about warranty conditions in a claim situation will be difficult after the event.

Before you start negotiations, make sure you’re aware of what sort of discount the dealer is likely to offer on the car you’re interested in, and then compare it to the corresponding What Car? Target Price.

What Car? Target Price researchers get price information from dealers nationwide on a daily basis. The Target Price is the price, after discounts, that their research indicates should be achievable for a car. It’s a ‘real’ price that’s being offered somewhere in the UK by a real dealer.

This Target Price is an invaluable tool for any car buyer. Take a copy of the latest What Car? magazine into the dealership and point to the figure in the Target Price column. Then invite the local dealer to look it up on his own terminal. It’s a good plan to do the online comparison as well as the print one, and in that order, because the online Target Price is likely to have changed since the print magazine went to press.

If the dealer refuses to match the Target Price, call the TP team on 0845 272 6000 to find out where that deal is available. You don’t have to care where your new car comes from, because the servicing and warranty is not ‘attached’ to the supplying dealer and you’ll be paying a delivery charge for the car anyway – even if you live next door to the dealership.

Information is currency. You can’t have too much of it. Brokers, internet companies and car supermarkets also publish price information online. Make a note of the price they’re offering your car at, ideally printing out the relevant pages from their websites and taking them along to the dealership. Use these only sparingly as visual aids though, because the dealer will deflect them as irrelevant and a bogus comparison.

Many car industry sales targets are set on a monthly basis. The car you buy or don’t buy could make or break that target. If you make your visit towards the end of the month, you will almost certainly find it easier to squeeze a bigger discount out of the dealer, in the form of either a reduced price or the free supply of options.

Don’t be tempted to try and establish a ‘matey’ relationship with the sales person, either. The friendly atmosphere could lull you into thinking you’re getting a great deal, when in fact the ‘mateyness’ is being used to ‘work’ you into a weaker position.

Take the emotion out of the situation – you’re at the dealer to buy a car, not make friends. Adopt a professional and detached approach, stay poker-faced, and keep calm. You’ll get a better deal if you make the salesperson earn their commission.

Don’t come across as a ‘messer’, though. If you look like a serious buyer who’s ready to do a deal, a decent salesperson should respond. If you’re getting close to a deal, say that you’ll buy a particular car at a particular price – but only if they agree to that price there and then, and in writing.

Don’t be charmed by special offers in the showroom. Supermarkets are full of two-for-one or three-for-two ‘special offers’ which don’t stand up to closer examination. You have all the time you need in the showroom to check offers slowly and calmly to see if they’re as good as they look.

They’ll usually be tied to cars that are hard to shift; sometimes the car may be about to be superseded (see ‘know your market’ above), in which case you’ll take a large and instant depreciation hit as soon as the new one comes out. If you’re fixed on that special offer car, you might be better off aiming for a bigger discount instead.

Don’t be afraid to leave if you can’t reach a deal that makes you happy. There’s always another car, always another deal.

Never pay more for a car than you have to. Play the game – and play it to win.