Budgeting is the first and most important step when buying a car. Which car best suits you at a price you can afford? Then research online or via specialized magazines to find reviews, advice and budgeting tools, to help work out exactly how much the running cost of the chosen car would be. Next go to test-drive the car, as it is important to get a feel for the car you are considering purchasing. Inspect the exterior of the car by checking the tires, the suspensions, the bodywork panels, the doors, the exhaust, and look under the bonnet and on the floor to spot potential oil leaks. Inspect the interior of the car by checking the steering wheels, warnings symbol lighting, mileage, and electrics.
WHEN WAS THE CAR LAST SERVICED? Ask when the vehicle was last serviced, if it is belt driven and when the cambelt was changed. If the service is due, you can either negotiate a discount or ask the dealer to change it / service it for you.
THE CARS WARANTEE? Ask if the car comes with a warranty. If so, which warranty and what extended warranties are available? Try and work out how you can save some money on the purchase price and get a better warranty. You cannot buy warranties for the same low price that dealers can, but might get more value by asking for a better warranty to be included in the purchase price.
WHEN WAS THE VEHICLE LAST TESTED? Look into your state's emission test requirements. If applicable, ask for all paperwork and results from past emission tests.
COULD I BRING A MECHANIC? Ask if you can bring a mechanic with you to view the car with you. There are a lot of honest dealers out there but there are also some rogues. A full check can give peace of mind with an inspection on a ramp including a jiggle test that highlights any worn suspension parts.