Winter Car Buying Tips

The cold weather, dark nights and the countdown to Christmas put off most people when it comes to buying a car. However, the festive period can be the ideal time to bag a bargain for those thinking about upgrading their car and securing a December deal.


Although it might seem like a good time to buy a 4X4, prices are likely to rise on these all-weather vehicles in winter, especially in bad weather. However, anyone looking ahead to summer cruising in a convertible could snag a hot deal on a cold day.

A convertible will be a better investment for car buyers at this time of year, as prices are at their lowest between now and Christmas. The problems of leaky roofs and draughty interiors are a thing of the past, thanks to modern engineering, making convertibles much more practical than they used to be.

Many dealers are also jumping on the Black Friday band wagon and have great deals leading up to Christmas and through New Year. It’s worth keeping an eye out for special offers on service plans plus don’t forget to invest in a set of winter tyres.

If you are planning on doing some Christmas car shopping, here’s some handy tips for buying during the colder weather.


  • Bring a torch – it will help to check under the bonnet and the car’s chassis.

  • Check the bodywork – look for dents, scratches and signs of rust.

  • Wipe away raindrops – raindrops can hide scratches and dents, so ideally view when it’s dry or give the car a wipe.

  • Under the bonnet – if you don’t know what to look for, bring someone who does or book in a professional.

  • Test drive – don’t skip the test drive, take the car through its paces and listen for any engine noises, as well as testing the brakes and steering.

  • Take extra care – test driving an unfamiliar vehicle in winter needs extra care, as wet or icy roads increase stopping distances.

  • Do the carwash test – running the vehicle through a carwash could reveal leaks, saving you hundreds of pounds in the long run and will avoid a soggy winter of motoring.

  • Bring a coat – this way you can test the aircon and the heating. Put your coat on to test the cooling system and take it off to see how quickly the car warms up.

  • Test the tyres – check the tyre tread depth is at least 1.6mm across the whole width, if not ask the seller to fit new tyres – or negotiate a price reduction as a new set of tyres can be costly. But remember, winter takes its toll on tyres, so better to be safe.

  • Salt corrosion – if buying in an area that frequently experiences harsh weather conditions, and roads are regularly salted, check for salt corrosion. While road salt is vital to safer winter driving, it is also extremely corrosive and over time it can cause extensive damage to vehicles.

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