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Tips and Advice on Vehicle Comparison
02 July 2022

Tips and Advice on Vehicle Comparison

The overall cost and how you feel about the car shouldn’t be the only factors that finalise your decision between the cars you’re choosing from.

Cars are big investments, so it’s important you compare all the factors before you commit to buying. Here are some of the most important things to consider:

What will you be using the car for?

To ensure you’re getting the most for your money, think about your daily routines, how much you’ll use the car and what you’ll be using it for.

You don’t necessarily need a cumbersome, fuel-guzzling 4x4 if you’re just driving around town most days, instead, a small petrol hatchback could be a more economical and efficient choice. Additionally, electric cars may be good to drive in congestion charge zones such as London, while diesels are great options if you’re having to cover a lot of miles.


Cost of maintenance

Every car will come with maintenance costs. Legally, you have to have your car serviced yearly, and doing regular maintenance checks in between can be extremely beneficial. Some cars will need more maintenance than others; for example, electric cars have fewer moving parts so there's less that can go wrong mechanically.

If you’re buying a used car, check the service history records to see what has had to be fixed regularly in the past, to identify what may need fixing in the future. Then, do some research on the average costs for these repairs.

You can also ask the dealership, whether you’re buying used or new, the average yearly maintenance costs for the model you’re interested in. If you’re buying new, also check with them what the maintenance intervals are within the first 3 years of ownership. 


Depreciation risk

Depreciation is probably the number one factor to take into consideration when comparing vehicles. Depreciation is how much value your vehicle will lose over the course of ownership. It’s especially important if you’re considering purchasing a brand new car, as new cars lose the majority of their value in the first 3 years of ownership.

Depreciation can affect how much you get for your car if and when you come to sell it, and if you buy on finance over a long period, with the added rate of interest, you could end up paying more than your car is actually worth.

A car’s depreciation rate depends on the make and model of car, mileage and condition. To estimate your car's expected depreciation, you can use tools on sites such as Edmunds.com to find out your car’s estimated fair market value, and subtract this from the sale price (minus any extra admin fees). 


Does it come with a warranty?

If you’re buying a brand new car, most of these will automatically come with a manufacturer’s warranty. The length of the warranty will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer though, so it’s important to double-check these. 

Used cars don’t typically come with a warranty as standard, however, this does depend on the dealership you’re buying from. Some dealerships already supply a 3-6 month parts and labour warranty with the sale, or you can purchase a warranty as an added extra.

Check the age & mileage

This mainly applies if you’re buying used. If the car is a few years old, and there’s high mileage on the clock, usually this isn’t cause for concern as long as the vehicle has been cared for properly. If you can see evidence of a full-service history and reasonably faultless MOT history, then this shows the vehicle has been properly maintained by previous owners and probably has a lot of driving life left.