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Buying a car - tips for a successful car purchase

Buying a car is a process with a number of variables. This checklist covers all the main points to take into consideration when buying a new or a used car.

Think about why you need a car before you buy

Do you intend to mostly use the car for commuting and running errands, or will you be using it on long family road trips? The first thing to think about when looking to buy a car is the car’s intended purpose. The way you intend to use the car determines what kind of vehicle you need.
Once you know what you will be using the car for, it will be easier to spot suitable candidates among the huge number of new and used cars available. This also gives you an idea of the price range you will be looking at and allows you to compare it against your budget.

Are you looking for a new car or a used car?

Once you have decided on the make and model of the car, it is time to decide whether to buy a new car or a used car.

A new car is likely to be more expensive to buy, but the running costs may be lower – or at least more predictable – than with a used car. Used cars are generally cheaper to buy, but there may be unexpected repair costs.

Also think about other differences between new and used cars, such as safety, fuel consumption and environmental friendliness.

Help from car financing

Buying and running a new or used car can be surprisingly costly for a new driver. In addition to the cost of the car itself, there are roadworthiness inspections and repair costs, fuel costs, potential monthly repayments (e.g. on a car loan) as well as a whole host of smaller recurring expenses, such as car washing and cleaning costs. So think about how much you can afford to pay for the car and for running it.

Saving is a good way to get the money together to buy a car. Alternatively, you can take out a car loan or agree to pay for the car in instalments. More information is available via the links below.

Buying a used car: always check the service history

Buying a used car can be a labour-intensive process that requires particular vigilance. The more you know about the car’s characteristics and history before you buy, the less likely you are to get unpleasant surprises.

Always check the overall condition of the car and especially the chassis, the engine, any damage caused by previous accidents and the vehicle’s service history. The registration certificate as well as the expiry date on the tax disc are also worth checking. Also make sure that the vehicle has passed all its scheduled inspections and that the car has not been declared off the road.

Always test drive a car before you buy

Cars are meant to be driven, and ensuring that a car feels good to drive is essential before you commit to a purchase. Once you have checked the information and details of the car, test drive the car to see how it functions and how it feels to drive. Pay attention to at least the following:

•     Turn off the radio and listen to the sound of the engine at different speeds.
•     Try the brakes and all the gears.
•     Check whether the indicator lights and electronic systems are working.

You can also bring a friend who is familiar with different kinds of cars with you. Having an expert with you during the test drive is a good way to avoid nasty surprises later on.

Buying a car

After you have test driven the car and are satisfied with the details, it is time to make a decision. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, remember to haggle. It is always worth trying to shave a bit off the price.

If you are buying a used car, always check that the seller is the registered owner of the vehicle. It is also a good idea to draw up a written contract.

Safeguard your car with insurance

According to Finnish law, you have seven days from the date of purchase to get your new car insured. A comprehensive insurance policy protects both your car and your wallet against unexpected costs.

Motor liability insurance is a statutory requirement, and we also recommend taking out comprehensive motor vehicle insurance. Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance also covers vandalism and damage caused by traffic accidents. More information about car insurance is available below.

•    Mandatory motor liability insurance

All motor vehicles that are used on public roads must have motor liability insurance. According to the Finnish Motor Liability Insurance Act, motor liability insurance covers bodily injury sustained by persons in the policyholder’s own vehicle as well as bodily injury or property damage caused to the innocent party and other parties involved. More information about motor liability insurance

•    Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance

Statutory motor liability insurance does not cover damage to the policyholder’s own vehicle. You therefore need additional comprehensive motor vehicle insurance if you want cover for your own vehicle. There are a number of options to choose from depending on your needs. We can tell you which insurance policy to go for on the basis of your vehicle’s registration number and calculate the cost of the policy. Want to know how our calculator works? Learn more about the motor vehicle insurance calculator and the factors affecting its rates, as well as our tips for other things to consider when selecting insurance.

Remember to register your new vehicle

Whether you buy a new or a used car, you need to register it once you have insured it. The regulations on registering cars were revised in the autumn of 2015. If you buy a car from a private individual, the seller may give you an electronic certificate. The paper counterpart of the vehicle registration certificate is no longer absolutely necessary, as cars can now be registered online.

If you buy your insurance policy online, you can also register your car at the same time using the electronic certificate provided by the seller. If you have the paper counterpart, you can also register your vehicle in any OP branch or vehicle inspection centre.

If you buy a car through a dealer, the dealership will take care of insurance and registration on your behalf.