When it comes to buying a new car, your first port of call is most likely to be a dealership, but there are plenty of other options worth considering, particularly if want to hunt down the best price. For example car supermarkets are a relatively new phenomenon but are proving more and more popular with buyers, particularly as they provide the opportunity to compare one make against another without having to traipse across town. Buying a car on the web is also becoming a more acceptable way of purchasing, but as well as sites like jamjar.com it's also worth spending some time online looking for agencies and car brokers, who will often get you discount prices. You might also consider searching for private importers who can bring British specification cars from the continent usually with a heavy saving. Of course, unless your buying a car for the first time, you may want to trade in your current vehicle in order for a newer model and practically all car dealerships provide this service. But while this might be the most hassle-free method of disposing of your vehicle, it’s not likely to give you the best value. When to buy If you want to secure yourself the biggest savings on your new car there are certain times in the year when it’s a good time to make your purchase. Registration plates are now changed twice a year, in March and September, making them busy times for motor dealers and discounts are less likely. However walk into a dealership in the weeks running up to the plate change and you’ll find salesman more willing to drop prices in order to shift stock. However don’t forget once the registration letter changes your ‘A’ reg for example is going to be worth between £250 to £750 less than a ‘B’. Apart from February and March, December is also a good time to pick up a bargain, as the year in which the car is registered changes. But you can also pick up a great priced model at the end of any months when dealers are at there most desperate to hit their sales targets. Trying a car out Buying a new car is a big investment, and though a brand shiny new car might look just perfect on the forecourt, driving it might be an entirely different experience altogether. It’s essential to give your potential new purchase a thorough road test before you had over the cash, in order to ensure it meets your requirements. Once you get it out of the showroom, you might begin to literally see the car in a new light. Make sure the paintwork is intact and all panels and doors appear to fit snugly. Then it’s time to have a drive yourself. This might not be something you feel totally comfortable with, but it’s better than being stuck with a car you can’t stand. Try and take a route which gives toy a variety of driving conditions, for example have a go in tight town traffic and then see what it’s like cruising on the motorway.. While driving you should get an immediate feel for whether the car is easy to control and if the steering is too heavy or too light. Other things that will become apparent will be the sensitivity of the clutch, how responsive the brakes are and anything else you wish to try out, from how well the electric windows work to how easy it is to operate the CD player. When it comes to agreeing on a price for your new car you could simply leave it to the salesman and pay up, but could you convince yourself you got the best deal for your business? If you are planning on a trade in, don’t mention it until the salesman has given you the price, because he or she may use this as an excuse to put the price up. If you can buy with cash, you’re in an even better position, so it might be worth sourcing a loan, rather than being tempted to go for a financing deal with the car company. Another factor to be aware of is the use of optional extras to push you towards a deal. It’s better to get the car you want without a sunroof, rather than a model the dealer can’t wait to get rid of even if it does let the sun in.

Be polite but firm at all times and be prepared to play one offer off against another to get the price you want. There may also be seasonal incentives such as cashback offers, low-rate financial schemes and free insurance, but these don’t mean the dealer cannot offer you a discount. Put simply don’t be afraid to ask.