Drive a better deal: How to save money and stay safe on the road in 2023

If you are planning to buy a new car in 2023 or simply hoping to get another year out of your existing motor, there are numerous considerations to take into account.

ere are just five that could help you save money and be safer on the road.

The private sale

If you are strongly considering buying a new car and trading in your current vehicle, weigh up the pros and cons of selling privately.

There are big prices being paid for well-minded older cars on the general market. The benefit of buying new without a trade-in may or may not exceed what your dealer will give you, but it is still worth testing the waters.

There is the matter of a small outlay to advertise your car, as well as the inconvenience of people calling and test-driving to take into account. However, you might find it nice profitable.

Dealers traditionally gave a better discount on a new car if there wasn’t a trade-in to be considered. That has changed somewhat with the surge in used-car prices.

However, scarcity has driven up prices of new cars too, so you need to see what’s best for you. Teasing out the benefits of going for the trade-in or private routes could mean a saving of several hundred euro.

Find a reputable dealer

If you are not changing to new, and buying second-hand instead, you are better off using a reputable dealership.

This way, you get a guarantee and have some form of comeback if something goes wrong in the early part of your ownership.

If you buy privately, you have no reliance on any sort of guarantee. It can be easy to overlook minor faults if you believe you are getting a bargain. But they can quickly manifest themselves as costly repairs, so be careful.

Take care to ensure the person buying your car is genuine. Don’t part with your vehicle until all the money is in the bank or your hand.

Shop around

It may sound obvious to urge you to shop around on all fronts – from a new car to how you are going to finance any deal – but if you want to save money, that is what you need to do.

One thing is for certain: you won’t lose money by making the extra bit of an effort.

Don’t throw good money after bad

If you are not planning on buying new or used in 2023, ask yourself if you are doing the right thing.

Does your car require a fair bit of work? I understand how you can decide to hold on for another year before committing a lot of money to a new or newer vehicle.

However, you may be throwing good money after bad if repairs exceed your estimation of outlay.

Buying, however daunting, can sometimes make more sense economically than patching up your current car.

Keep your car in top shape

If you are not stirring on the buying front, you still have an obligation to yourself and your passengers. Make sure your car is in tip-top shape.

That means making sure everything is working well. Even on newish cars, items such as lights can fail.

Tyres are especially vulnerable to wear-and-tear. Other critical areas to watch for include brakes, steering, battery and mirrors.

This is common sense. The fact that it can save you money makes it imperative to be proactive. Safe driving.

Learn from those who drive for a living

​We could, indeed should, all take a leaf out of their books. Every day they go through hell and high water to do their jobs.

I’m talking about drivers of ambulances, buses and all those behind the wheel who are providing a service.

I just think, given the good-will time of year that’s in it, we should recognise how incredible their driving can be in traffic, to shave off those vital few seconds that can save a life or take the pain out of missing an onward connection.

I am in awe at drivers of the large double-decker buses. How do they gauge the tiny distance between their rear wheels and the kerb as they pull in or away?

I’ve watched them and they always get it right. No tyre crunching.

Like ambulance drivers, they are responsible for the safe transport of people every day and I admire the way they constantly monitor what is going on around them on the roads. I think all car drivers could learn a big lesson from them.​

New tech saves lives, but it comes at a price

​Safety in a new car is something we take for granted. It can often be overshadowed by more visual and tactile comforts.

I’m prompted to remind you – and indeed myself – of the vast array of safety items that silently work away averting, and being quietly watchful, by a few words from Nissan.

At the Nissan Technical Centre in Atsugi, Japan, a team of engineers puts its flagship battery electric vehicle (BEV), the Ariya, through hundreds of tests.

For example, they simulate situations involving pedestrians are on the road. The figure that stood out for me was the Ariya’s reaction time of one-thousandth of a second to help prevent you from being involved in an accident.

It’s so unbelievably quick. All marques include massive testing.

Maybe we don’t hear enough about the pre-production work that goes into making your new vehicle as safe as possible.

The sad thing is we have to pay tax on safety items – proving we do take it for granted.​

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