Consumer Advice

Buying a vehicle is a big purchase decision and you want to be reassured that you have made the right choice at a fair price. The following are some points you should consider when making your decision. 


  • Your lifestyle and budget should dictate what kind of car you buy and what the cost to change will be.
  • How much you have to spend on a car and what you want to spend to run it before you make any decisions
  • There are a number of financial products available to help you purchase your car such as hire purchase, personal loans or Personal Contract Plans (PCPs). It is important that you understand these offers. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission have information available on their website explaining in details the options available to the car purchaser. The Central Bank is the Financial Services Regulatory Authority also offers advice to consumer with regards to car finance and insurance cover.

Cost to Change

  • When you go to change your car, what is important to understand is the cost to change. This is the difference between the value of your trade in against the cost of the new/newer car you are going to purchase. The cost to change will depend on how much the retailer is prepared to offer you for your trade in and factors such as age, vehicle condition, mileage and service history are all taken into account. 
  • If you do not have a trade in and are a cash buyer, the customer is generally in a better position to negotiate on the vehicle price as they are not constricted by the trade in value.    

Car Engine Type 

  • Make a list of the items that you feel are important in the car of your choice, be practical as to what your needs are. Consider what you will be using the car apart from travel for example you may need extra boot space if its a family car.    
  • Depending on your travel requirements, the amount of mileage you will be doing. Will it be mainly urban or rural driving as this may determine your choice of car by fuel type, fuel economy and engine size. Our web page explains the different types of technologies available and should provide you with an insight into which technology is suitable for your driving experience.
  • Do have a checklist, of physical checks for both inside and outside of the car. If buying a used car look for wear and tear on the tyres, wheel arches, are all lights working properly, seat belts, seats easy to adjust, wipers working, check the oil, any signs of leaks etc.
  • If purchasing a second-hand/used car it is strongly advised that you get a mechanic, an auto engineer or a person with some mechanical background to inspect the car, as they will give their independent expert advice.

Do your Research

  • Do your research and shop around for the best deal.
  • Find out as much as you can about the company you are purchasing the car from. Are they an established trader with a good reputation? Member of a trade association such as the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI). Find an SIMI member.
  • Manufactures have a variety of new car offers available. Electric vehicles and plug in hybrids can avail of grants.
  • If purchasing a used car ask about the history of the car, (number of previous owners) many dealers will provide a car history check report.
  • The service history will show if the car has been well maintained.
  • If purchasing an electric car you may wish to install a charging point at home, not everyone’s house is suitable for a charging point – some terrace houses, apartment blocks etc so you should check if you have the ability to install a charge point in your home. 

Car Market

  • The Irish new car market has two big sales periods January and July as we have a dual registration plate.
  • Manufacturers will pre-advertise their new car offers, a few months in advance of the new registration plate. Retailers advertise their used car stock all year round and you will fine information on their websites .
  • Do your research, read the motoring journalist reviews and manufacture sites to learn about the latest models coming to the market.