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What to look out for when buying a car, according to a motoring expert

Nervous about buying a car? Here’s everything you need to know to help you on your way.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING to buy your first car or even upgrade your previous car, you may have some questions about where to start and what to look out for.

Like any landmark step in your life, you want time to consider your options when buying a car. This is a decision you should take time with and not rush or you may end up getting carried away with excitement and buy the first (totally unsuitable) roadworthy car you see! 

To start your search, find out what you’re looking for in a car. How often will you need to drive it? Will you be going on long road trips now that you have your own set of wheels, or are you more likely to use it for a weekly spin to a drive-through, at least until the novelty wears off? Will you be using the car to give lifts to friends and family? 

Once you have an answer to what you’re looking for, carry out your own research into cars that match your criteria. Compare different brands and models once you have a rough idea of what it is you want.  

Now that you have a vision in your head, it’s time to really dig deep into the ins and outs of the car. It’s totally normal to be anxious about purchasing a car as you may be unaware of what things to avoid, so it’s good to arm yourself with some questions before buying any car.

Shutterstock / byswat Shutterstock / byswat / byswat

As part of our Securing Your Future series with Allianz Insurance and with the help of our motoring expert, Joe O’Brien from Pat Keogh Skoda Ballybrittas, we’ve put together some things to consider for any young driver looking to buy their first car. 

Engine size

A crucial question to start proceedings with is to find out the engine size of the vehicle you wish to purchase. While basic, it gives you a great idea for a number of key factors, and will help shape your car purchasing journey. Measured in litres, such as 1.2 or 1.4 litres, a larger engine can burn more fuel and produce more power than a smaller one. As a result, a car with a larger engine is more powerful and can accelerate faster and tow heavier loads than a car with a smaller engine can manage, but are also more expensive to run. A bigger engine could have an impact on your insurance premium, as cars with bigger engines can be more expensive to insure than smaller ones. To learn more about insuring your car as a young driver, Allianz has a helpful blog containing everything you need to know about your first car policy. 

Engine size

How important is engine size to you when buying a new car? 1 being not important at all and 10 being extremely important. 



Fuel economy

Having established the size of the engine, you want to find out the fuel efficiency and range of the car, by discovering the litres per 100 kilometres. This is a measurement of fuel economy and it’s a case of smaller being better. Fuel efficiency is constantly improving for all cars, but it’s still a good idea to look out for it, as it will end up saving you more by virtue of fewer trips to the petrol station for a top-up. If you’re looking for the best value for money, litres per 100 kilometres is a great place to start. When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), they are more efficient than petrol or diesel engines. Of course, charging EVs takes longer than filling up your car, and there are other pros and cons to both choices that you should consider before purchasing a car.

Fuel economy

How important is fuel economy to you when buying a new car? 1 being not important at all and 10 being extremely important. 



Next to consider is the condition of the car, and the use in terms of mileage. These are crucial considerations, as an older car with high mileage is more likely to cause you problems down the line that can require some costly repairs. If you’re looking at buying an older car that’s in good condition, it’s worth bearing in mind that the older a car gets, the less likely spare parts are available for that particular make and model, as the next generation will have already passed it, and may use different parts. This means finding spare parts will get harder and harder, causing you a lot of unwanted stress.  

Popularity in Ireland

When buying a new car, you may visit an established brand’s local dealership as part of the journey. Most popular brands will have at least one physical showroom dotted around the country and are a great place to go if you wish to test drive a car. A car’s popularity is also an important consideration for general maintenance. If you go for a very niche car, it’s more likely that you’ll be waiting a while for repairs to be carried out, often as a result of a shortage of parts.


As mentioned earlier, the type of car you buy could have an impact on your insurance premium. You may be tempted to choose the flashiest or coolest car available, but try to be sensible and practical when it comes to buying a car. The good news is that you can get 15% off *car insurance online over at Allianz.ie 


How important is the cost of your insurance premium to you when buying a new car? 1 being not important at all and 10 being extremely important. 



*Allianz plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria, terms & conditions apply.  

Minimum premium of €284 applies.  

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