Women Drivers Blog

How to Upgrade Your Car on a Budget

July 13, 2013 / 

Upgrading your car is an exciting but expensive undertaking. With so many variables it’s hard to know where to start. There are makes, models and specifications to choose, and so many ways of financing your purchase that making a decision can be difficult. Here is some helpful advice on how to upgrade your car without spending a fortune.

Second-hand Cars

It may seem obvious, but buying second-hand greatly reduces cost. New cars rapidly depreciate in value, so quite often you can get a near new car for significantly less than its original price. Cars about a year old are generally the best value for money.

Shop around

There are many ways to buy a car these days, whether from a franchised dealer, via a broker, import or via the internet. It pays to investigate before to committing to a purchase, and there are many price comparison websites out there to help you find the most competitive rates. Find the cheapest price and take the quote to your local dealer to use as a bargaining tool.


Don’t be afraid to drive a hard bargain when it comes to buying a car. It’s useful to calculate what the ‘on-the-road’ price of the car should be so you can gauge the dealer’s limits. Take off the cost of Vehicle Excise Duty from the list price and the £50 First Registration tax, then subtract 15 percent from the remainder and you should have an idea of what this will be.

Buy towards the end of the month as dealers usually receive a bonus for selling a certain amount of finance deals per month. December is a comparatively slow month for franchised dealers so they may be more willing to negotiate a good deal for cars they have in stock.


Trade in your old car for a part discount on the new one. Be sure to negotiate a good price: no more than £1,500 or 15 per cent (whichever is smaller) lower than cars of similar age, mileage and condition.


You have many finance options when buying a new car, so investigate your choices thoroughly. Many dealers offer a hire purchase (HP) scheme whereby the customer pays an agreed monthly fee to hire the car until the list price is fully recouped, at which point the ownership is transferred to the customer. Even if you have a poor credit history, it is still possible to get car credit for bad credit.

You may have enough saved up to buy the car outright, but it can still be wise to consider alternative payment methods. You can make your savings work for you by putting it in a high-interest savings account, whilst using a low-interest loan or zero percent credit card or finance deal.
It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune in order to upgrade your car. These tips should help you to manage the cost of a new purchase and get you on the road without breaking the bank.