Looking for a new set of wheels?

Check out our survival guide to buying a car

Buying a new car is a big decision – there’s so much to consider when choosing your car, to make sure that it’s the right vehicle for you.

The initial cost is a large factor – but it doesn’t stop there. The car’s age, size, weight, fuel and transmission type will all have an effect on your tax, insurance, and day-to-day running costs.

So whether you’re looking for a shiny new 13-plate, or a trusty second-hand set of wheels, make sure you do your research, with our top tips.

Decisions, decisions

Think carefully about which fuel type you go for. Diesel cars are a good option if you cover long distances – they usually cost more to buy, but generally have better resale values. Petrol might be better for you if you’re looking for a nippy runaround to drive on local roads.

Choosing between manual and automatic transmission will also affect your fuel consumption.

Red, white or blue? Choosing the right colour for your car could benefit when you come to selling it on.

New drivers may need extra guidance – check out our advice on buying your first car.

New or used?

Is it better to drive a new car straight off the dealership forecourt, or buy second hand?

Buying new
Buying a new car has some obvious advantages – you get the latest in safety and security, comfort, performance and fuel efficiency, and you get to choose the spec. But buying new comes at a price – the car quickly depreciates in value, and there are hidden extras to watch out for.

Not sure which model to go for? Read our latest car reviews
Find out how to break in your new set of wheels

Handing over keys

Buying used
Avoid the common pitfalls when buying a used car, and get it checked out before you buy.

A car data check will look into the vehicle’s history, to find out whether it’s ever been written off, reported stolen, had its mileage clocked, or has outstanding loans left to pay.

Make sure you don’t get stung by false appearances – our comprehensive vehicle inspections check the condition of the car, and give it a road test.

Read all our tips on buying a used car
Dealer or auction, private seller or online? Find out where to buy a used car

It all adds up

Don’t forget all the running costs that come with owning a car.

(24 October 2013)