Decisions, decisions: factors to weigh up when buying a car


Buying a car is a serious process and there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration before parting with your hard-earned cash, on what may well be the second most expensive purchase that you will ever make – buying a house or property being the most expensive of course. It’s a big outlay of cash with lots of considerations and with so many options. Buying a house might be more expensive but there tend to be fewer options available. The options with cars are almost infinite, it feels as though there is a lot of pressure to get the choices right. Here are some answers to questions you may or may not have asked yourself.

Manual versus Automatic

This is a tough one to answer and the truth is there are no rights and wrongs. If you spend a lot of time driving in traffic or if you have no feel for mechanical things, then an automatic is for you. Alternatively, if you want to get the best performance out of your engine or you want to maximize fuel economy then manual is the way to go. There are suggestions that replacing the clutch is an expensive process, and granted, it is not cheap, but it doesn’t happen often. It is also a process that you could do yourself if you fancied a challenge. A quick Google search for a phrase that incorporates the car model and part type, try something like, ‘Subaru Forester clutch’ as a starting point and you should very quickly be moving in the right direction. So yes, there is a chance that you might need to switch out the clutch kit at some point but the chance of that happening is no higher than similar issues in an automatic.

Petrol versus Diesel

Petrol is more explosive and as such it allows for higher speeds. It is also easier to find petrol at filling stations, but diesel delivers better fuel economy and diesel engines tend to be both more robust and hardier. Traditionally petrol is the fuel of choice, but the reality is the question should no longer be petrol versus diesel, it should be fossil fuel versus electric. And although they are still quite expensive the truth is that the car of the future is hybrid or electric powered. So start thinking that way.

Does the colour matter?

Colour can make a difference but this is a question that is down to personal preference. Studies show that most cars are white or silver. This is largely because they reflect the light best and are therefore cooler. But that also means that they are harder to find in a parking lot. Metallic paint is the hardest to match if you need to do a spray job and red cars are reportedly the most frequently crashed – but that probably says more about the people who drive red cars than it does about the colour red!

New or second hand

With new cars you know where they have been and who has driven them before you. And the answer is nowhere and nobody. So you can be pretty sure that they will be in solid, auto factory fitted shape. But that also means that they are more expensive and in turn that they will lose their value more quickly. Second hand cars are cheaper and can result in a lot more bang for your buck, but there is always the risk of who drove them previously and how was the car looked after. It’s a toss-up between budget and bravery.


Dorothy Latch

The author Dorothy Latch