Buying a car - tips for a successful car purchase

Buying a car is a process with a number of variables. Our tips are designed to help you to avoid the most common pitfalls.

Top tips for buyers

What to take into account when looking for a new car

Are you more interested in your car’s performance or its fuel consumption? Do you prefer petrol or diesel, or would you rather have an electric car? 
Do you have an emissions limit in mind? Are you looking for a manual or an automatic gearbox, and do you want four-wheel drive? Is safety your first priority?


Once you know your budget, you can start looking around for what you can afford. Should you go for a new car or a used car? The running costs of a new car may be lower – or at least more predictable – than with a used car. Think about how much you can afford to pay for the car and for running it.

Car finance

Whether you are buying a new car or a used car, you need money.
Saving is a good way to get the money together to buy a car.
Alternatively, you can take out car finance from a provider such as OP. 

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.

OP hire purchase is a safe and easy solution if you are planning on buying a used car from a private individual. You get confirmation on the car’s condition, as all cars financed with hire purchase are inspected at an A-Katsastus inspection station before purchase. When you choose hire purchase, the car is the guarantee for the financing, so you do not need separate collateral for the loan. 

Learn more about buying a car from a private individual 

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

Once 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.

Selling your used car is easy with the OP Smart Contracts service

The OP Smart Contracts service allows you to purchase a used car easily and securely. As a buyer, if you wish to apply for financing for the car purchase from OP, you can do that in the service.

After the secure payment and transfer of ownership, you can also insure and register the car you purchased directly in the service, taking care of all your business at once!

Learn more about purchasing a used car in the OP Smart Contracts service

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.

The OP Smart Contracts service allows you to insure and register a used passenger car all in one service.

Learn more about registering your car in the OP Smart Contracts service

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.