Getting a new car is a big decision, especially if your needs, lifestyle and preferences are likely to change over the next three years, during the course of your next lease. From budget, car type and transmission, to comfort or practicality – there’s a lot to consider.
We’re here to help with some handy tips for choosing a new car and a reminder of things you may want to ask when you visit a Motability dealership.
When you have shortlisted one or more cars by using our Car Search, the next step is to contact your local dealer and ask to speak to their Motability specialist. That way you can be sure the Motability trained dealer is available when you visit to help you choose the right car for your needs. When you go into the dealership, it is worth taking someone with you – choosing a car is a big decision and having someone there to talk things over with often helps. If you wish to nominate a driver, they should come with you and test drive the car too.
To find out whether a car is suitable, it’s worth taking more than one test drive and to take your time during the session. A quick drive around the block may not be enough to get an idea of whether the car is right for you. It’s best to test out different types of roads, especially those you regularly use, including dual carriageways, minor roads with speed bumps and even places to park.
Speaking to your Motability specialist
Make the most of the specialist’s expertise before making your final decision. Here are our top 10 questions to ask your dealer when choosing your next car.
1. Can I test drive the vehicle first?
Yes of course, test drives are the best way to make sure the car you’re interested in is the right choice for you. It’s a good idea to bring someone with you, especially if they are intending on driving the vehicle too. Call your dealership to book an appointment to check which vehicles are available to test drive and when and speak to them about the types of journeys you’ll be making in your new car.
2. Can someone who is under the age of 25 drive the vehicle?
There are certain restrictions on younger drivers which you can read more about here. Take any intended drivers with you to the dealership, along with their licence details, and ask the dealer to double check that the car is suitable for everyone wishing to drive.
3. Can I try my wheelchair or other mobility aids in different cars?
Take your equipment with you to test the vehicles for size and accessibility. You can try out the cars for boot space, sill height and door width. It is worth making a list of all the requirements that are essential for your needs ready to ask your dealer.
4. I’m new to the Motability Scheme, can I trade my old car in?
Most dealerships offer trade-in facilities and may be able to offset this against your Advance payment or any optional extras. Ask your dealer about trade-ins.
5. Would an automatic be more suitable?
Consider all your needs, many driving adaptations require automatic transmission but there could be a cost impact. Speak to the Motability specialist about your needs and preferences and they can advise on different options. If you wish to test drive an automatic, check with the dealer first, as these can sometimes take some time to get hold of.
6. What about optional extras?
Consider whether you need leather seats, adjustable seats, electric windows and ask your dealer about different features or how much optional extras will cost.
7. What do I need to do to place my order?
Your dealer will let you know once your vehicle is ready for collection. Make sure you have organised a convenient time for you and your dealer. You will need to bring the following with you:
- Your Certificate of Entitlement (this is a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions or Veteran’s UK) to confirm you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance and have at least 12 months remaining on your award
- A recent utility bill to prove your address (i.e. gas/ electricity/ water bill, bank statement)
- Anyone who will be on the insurance needs to be present with their driving licence or if they cannot attend, ask them to complete a Driver Consent form
Your chosen Motability dealer will complete the online application for you at the dealership, and guide you through a couple of simple forms to make sure the Motability Scheme and the vehicle you are considering is right for you now, and in the future.
8. What happens if I change my mind?
If you change your mind after you have ordered the car, you must speak to the dealer directly to discuss changing or cancelling the application. Please note that your dealer may charge a cancellation fee in these situations so it is worth asking them when you first go to visit.
9. Can I collect my car at the weekend?
You can collect your new car at the weekend as long as you have your PIN or, if not, you entered some security information at your application (e.g. mother’s maiden name). If this is not the case, you will be unable to collect the car. You should also check dealer availability as not all dealers are willing or able to complete handovers at weekends.
10. Do I need any adaptations?
Make sure the car is easy to get in and out of, you are comfortable and it fits all the equipment you need. If you are still unsure, talk to your dealer and let them know how you feel. They may be able to suggest a simple improvement such as adding a wide-angled mirror or extending the pedals.
If you’re unsure about anything after your test drive then arrange to take a second test drive on another day. It will also help to test drive other cars so that you can compare different models. Don’t feel under pressure to choose a particular car or to lease through a certain dealer. Your nominated drivers should also take the car for a test drive too but don’t let them over-influence your decision. The choice is always yours.
Once you‘ve made up your mind, you can place your order. When the new car arrives, check that you’re happy with everything once again before signing your agreement and driving away in your new car!
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