The Gumtree Blog

Girls need a guide when it comes to buying a car

Friday 5 October 2012, by


For many, buying a car will be the second biggest purchase after a house. Yet a new study by us into the nation’s car-purchasing habits reveals that UK adults aren’t conducting adequate research before investing in a new motor – and women in particular could be leaving themselves open to buying a blooper.

Check out our infographic, which shows some of the more startling findings from’s survey:

We’ve teamed up with motoring expert and author, Maria McCarthy, who says: “Motoring is stereotypically seen as a man’s world but it needn’t be, and women shouldn’t feel daunted about the car-buying process.

The key is doing research so that you know what questions you need to ask and I’d advise using the internet as a point of reference to gather information, advice, and reviews from a number of different sources. I’d also recommend asking a trusted friend or family member who knows a bit about the car market for their advice. They’re more likely to be impartial than a dealer who has a vested interest in selling the car to you, whether or not it is the right one for your needs.”

At Gumtree, we want to make sure our users are getting the most value for their money. Any potential car-buyers, both male and female, should get decent advice before they invest. These top tips from Maria make for a great start:

•           Do Your Research

Research is the key to giving yourself more confidence when buying a car. Look at issues like reliability, fuel consumption and safety before deciding what to go for. Family, friends, work colleagues, garage mechanics and taxi drivers can also be useful sources of information a–d don’t be afraid to ask them for their opinion.

•           Find out the registration number….and then do more research

Finding out the registration number means you can specifically research a car you are interested in. This will allow you to get an insurance quote, HPI check (which will reveal whether it’s been stolen, involved in an accident or has outstanding finance against it) and check its value – there are services such as the one offered by Glass’s that give you the opportunity to enter the car’s details and get a price range free of charge.

•           Girl Power

If at any point you feel that the seller is patronising you or taking advantage of you because you’re a woman, back off from the deal. There are plenty of great dealers and private sellers out there – give your business to them instead!

•           It Takes Two

It is a good idea to take a companion with you when buying a car, both for personal safety if buying privately and for moral support. Ideally it will be a friend or family member who knows a bit about motors.

•           Testing, Testing

Before you take the car for a test drive, it’s important to make sure that it’s got a valid MoT, is road taxed, and that you’re insured to drive it. A dealer will nearly always have insurance in place for you to take a test drive, but it is unlikely a private seller will. When driving, listen for any strange noises, watch out for flashing lights on the dashboard and ensure the test drive is as similar to how you will be using the car as possible. If you are going to use it largely in town, a motorway drive won’t tell you much.

•           The Price is Right

If you’ve done your research properly you’ll already know a fair price for the car – if the seller resists, show them the information on your email printout or phone.

The Media Team

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