Tips from the experts: Buying a new car

The latest of the Institute of Advanced MotoristsDrive & Survive series of tips and hints for the modern driver has finally dropped.

This week the organisation has shared some advice about buying yourself a new car. Yes, to some it may seem like second nature, but to others this advice is rather useful.Simon Elstow, the IAM's head of training, offers the following advice to buyers:

• Decide on the type of your car you need. Do you need a car to ferry the children around? Or if you make lots of long trips you need to think about luggage space. Make sure your choice fits the purpose.

• Know your budget. How much you are able to spend? Think about potential insurance and other running costs as well.

• Check for any hidden extras – such as additional charges for number plates and delivery.

• Check the running costs before you buy. Diesel cars offer better fuel economy but are more expensive. Don't forget car depreciation; think about how much the car will depreciate in its first three years and how this will affect the price if sold second-hand. Road tax is related to carbon emissions so the lower the emissions, the better.

• Once you've decided on budget, make sure you know how you will be financing the car. Most importantly, stick to your budget.

• Test drive. You need to find out if the car is comfortable and suits your needs.

To compliment his advice Elstow commented: "The new registrations are released in March, so some people will be thinking about a new car. If you are - buy a car with the latest safety technology and aim for five Euro NCAP stars. They rate cars according to how safe they are, with five being the best. But before you take the plunge, do the research."

If you're looking for more driving or automotive tips, the IAM has set up The site is full of advice on range of topics, from driving at night to what to do in adverse weather conditions.
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