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Your simple guide to buying a car

Motoring 3 months ago

To help you along your car buying journey, we’ve compiled a straight forward list of answers to all the usual questions and concerns around buying a car.

How long will the process take?

If you have the money, the paperwork can be completed in just a couple of hours. If you don’t, a car loan from Hitachi Personal Finance can be a quick and easy solution. Our online application takes just minutes and with an instant decision, you could have the money in your account within 48 hours. A cash purchase, as well as being the most convenient way to buy, can also put you in a stronger position when it comes to haggling on a price. Check out our top tips on bagging a bargain.

Should I buy new or used?
This is a really common question and, though the answer isn’t black and white, knowing the pros and cons of each option and exactly what you’re looking for you should help you come to a conclusion fairly quickly. But what are the pros and cons? Our helpful infographic gives you all the facts you need to help you decide.

Should I part exchange my old car or sell privately?
This is really a question of convenience vs. savings. First things first, get a valuation on your car using sites such as Parkers, Auto trader and WhatCar?. Once you’re sure you have an idea of how much your car is worth, you can start doing your homework. See what the dealers are offering you for a part exchange and have a look at other cars similar to yours, in terms of both style and condition.

If you’ve got your eye on a specific used car, it might make sense to part exchange with the dealer as this won’t slow down the process or put you at risk of someone else coming in and buying it from under your nose while you wait for yours to sell. If you’re in less of a rush or are buying a brand new car, you may have more time to wait it out and sell privately, leaving you a little better off financially.

When should I start looking at insurance?
Insurance is usually straight-forward and fast to arrange once you’ve purchased and taxed your vehicle. However, the sooner you start looking at insurance, the better, as it may influence your decision on which car to buy.

How do I get it taxed?
Arranging for your vehicle to be taxed is quick and easy, particularly now you don’t need to display a disk. Simply visit

How do I know what car is best for me?
Unfortunately, there’s no quick answer to this, the best thing you can do is research. Make a list of the things most important to you, from the look to the performance, and go from there. Go to as many show rooms as you can and treat Google as your new best friend. But remember, buying a car is supposed to be enjoyable, so enjoy it.

Should I take some for a test drive?
Yes! Always test drive a car if you’re thinking of buying it. You’ll never know how comfortable you’ll be in it unless you do.

How much will it cost to buy and run?
Unfortunately, this is not as simple as knowing the upfront cost. It’s important to understand what it’s going to cost over its lifetime, not just on the day you buy it. For details and tools for working out everything, from depreciation to fuel costs, check out our tips for buying a used car.

Should I go for diesel or petrol?
It really depends on what’s important to you. If you’re looking for a cheaper car to run, diesel goes further per gallon than petrol, even though it costs more to buy at the pump. Diesel cars are generally more expensive to buy, however they tend to hold their value slightly better than petrol ones in the first few years. If your decision is based on which is a nicer car to drive, there’s no way to tell other than test driving both to see. The table below should give you an idea of the general pros and cons of each*.




Fuel cost per gallon



Miles per gallon



Upfront cost






Maintenance costs



Tax and insurance costs



*Info from Whatcar?

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.

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