Is it time to buy a new car?

For most households, a car remains the second most expensive purchase they’ll make after their home – and that applies whether you’re looking at outright cost, monthly payments, or even ‘renting’ – which contract hire and lease agreements are, in essence.

First of all, do you really need to change your car at all? Unless it’s actually letting you down, the shift from fossil fuel to electric cars is a lot closer than you realise; if you need to finance your next purchase, you could be locked in as better deals are waved under your nose.

If your car has been reliable but is just older than you’re used to, treat it to a proper service. If you’ve got a trusted mechanic – ideally not one that also sells cars – ask their opinion about suspension, clutch or automatic gearbox as well as the engine’s condition. If there’s no rust, all the gadgets work, and the mechanical parts are healthy you may as well keep running it.

So when should I buy a new car?

If your car is all about transport, when your car needs repairs or fails the MOT and the bills exceed its resale value. Or, if the MOT implies structural rust. Tyres can cost more than some cheap cars, but they’re tyres – a consumable.

What time of year is best to buy a used car?

If you want the widest selection of fresh, recent trade-ins, look around March to April, September and October, when the new plates come in. For the best bargains, look in the months before – January and February are cold, dark and dealers will want to clear stock for the new trade-ins they hope will appear, and July and August many families are on school holidays and trips abroad, and don’t want to spend money on used cars.

Personalization with Private Number Plates

Private number plates offer a unique opportunity to add a personalized touch to your vehicle, reflecting your individuality and style. These distinctive plates, also known as cherished plates or personalized registrations, allow you to customize your car’s license plate with a combination of letters and numbers that hold personal significance to you.

One of the primary appeals of private number plates is the ability to create a bespoke identifier for your vehicle. Whether you opt for your initials, a meaningful date, or a clever phrase, private plates offer endless possibilities for customization. This customization not only adds a touch of personality to your car but also sets it apart from others on the road.

Moreover, private number plates can be a savvy investment. Unique combinations or plates featuring popular initials or words can appreciate in value over time, making them a desirable asset for collectors and enthusiasts. Additionally, private plates can enhance the resale value of your vehicle, as they are often seen as desirable features among buyers.

Beyond their aesthetic and financial benefits, private number plates also offer a sense of exclusivity and prestige. By displaying a personalized plate, you make a statement about your individuality and attention to detail. Whether you’re driving a luxury car or a modest vehicle, private plates add a touch of sophistication and uniqueness to your ride.

Cars last longer, and are more reliable than ever, in 2024

Okay, the average car enthusiast might come up with a list of reasons as to why they need to change or get another vehicle, but for typical drivers looking for transport first, changing a car means getting used to new controls, new features, and if buying used, a period of learning to trust the unfamiliar purchase. So, if you’re feeling that your car is ‘getting on a bit’ like the musican Sting and are worried it’s going to let you down, it’s worth remembering that cars are built to much higher standards than they were 20 years ago.

Take a look at the cars around you and you’ll see 56, 61, and even 51 plate models looking relatively fresh and clean. Those cars are well over ten years old, and yet the classic tide marks of rust, pools of oil and tell-tale backfires and rattly exhausts are largely a thing of the past, only found on very neglected examples. Part of that is the influence of scrappage schemes, but there are still lots of cars over 15 years old on the road in daily use without a second thought from the owners.

That means that timing a change of vehicle can be crucial, and there are plenty of factors to consider before browsing cars for sale nearby and dreaming of new adventures.

If your car does need replacing, short deals on new cars are the cheapest

Manufacturers don’t want a lot of second-hand, but valuable petrol and diesel cars coming back to the showrooms after 2030. So, most PCP and lease deals for non-electric models are pushing buyers towards two-year offers, with the idea being that those cars will sell on conventional finance in 2025-2027 and the new-car buyer will come back for an electric model.

If your family need changes, go up a size as soon as you need to, but don’t be too quick to drop down. Large, practical cars come in handy for lots of lifestyles. Plus, if you use a site like Invoice Pricing to help you find the dealer who bought the car for the cheapest, you should be able to get a good deal on this big purchase. 

A used car could be cheaper if you want to go electric

Look at that deposit. And the monthly payments? To give a car back after two years? What can you find second-hand for say, the deposit and a year’s payments? If it’s a similar size and class of car and less than ten years old, buy from a reputable used car dealer and you should get three years out of it easily with routine servicing. And you’ll still be able to trade it in, and won’t have the worry of keeping a new car pristine to hand back after such a short period.

Cheaper electric cars are coming – and you might want to be ready for that deal

Holding onto your car means when the best deals on electric cars start to filter through, you won’t be tied into a finance or lease contract. There’s a lot of pressure on car manufacturers to make affordable EVs and get back to the high-volume sales they used to enjoy, and that means low monthly payments. And as always – buy a convertible in winter, and a 4×4 in summer, if you anticipate wanting one for long-term ownership. Demand for these fair-and-foul weather friends surges at the first sign of sunshine or snow, but no one wants a ‘leaky’ cabriolet in November or a thirsty off-roader in June.

And if you’re considering a modern classic or investment, buy it when you can afford to lose that money and the car is one you love. Values can shift dramatically, but if your money is buying memories, happiness and experiences that doesn’t seem like such a risk. Auctions are now so well-publicised that they often exceed retail for similar privately-sold cars.

In conclusion, opting for a used car could prove to be a more economical choice, especially if you’re considering transitioning to an electric vehicle. While the initial deposit and monthly payments for a new car lease may seem daunting, exploring the second-hand market unveils a plethora of cost-effective options. By investing in a pre-owned vehicle from a reputable dealer, you can secure a car of comparable size and class, less than ten years old, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with routine servicing. With proper care, a used car can provide reliable transportation for years to come, offering a viable alternative to the short-term commitment of leasing. So, before committing to a new lease, consider the value and longevity that a quality used car can offer.

Author Profile

Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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