September is one of the busiest months of the year for buying new cars. Choosing a car is an exciting time, and it’s easy to get carried away when seeing new models in the showroom.

With the introduction of the new ‘66’ registration plate, Motor Codes, has published some useful advice for consumers during the purchase process.

Protect your rights.
Buying a vehicle face-to-face or online through a dealership or independent garage offers you the most protection with the least risk.Also, by opting to purchase from a retailer, you are fully covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which came into force last October.

Take it for a test drive.
It’s all well and good reading reviews, and seeing what an expert thinks of a certain model.Taking a test drive allows you to get a feel for how it will fit in with your lifestyle and daily commitments, and help determine the specification and space you may need.

Stick to your budget.
Remember, it’s not only about being able to buy the car, but equally significant are the longer term costs for running it. Look at the figures for fuel consumption, insurance group, road tax (for cars emitting above 100g/km CO2), servicing and parts.

Finance agreements are now the most popular way of buying a vehicle, and you should consider affordability both in the short and long term, as circumstances may change, and payments could harder to make.How you pay (either outright or by instalments) will affect your rights if there is a dispute.For example, if you settle all or part of the cost by credit card, the card company and the trader may be jointly responsible for compensating you under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.For debit cards, you may be able to get a refund through a voluntary scheme known as ‘chargeback'.

Value a part-exchange.
Trading in an existing car can be an effective way of reducing the overall cost of a new one.There are plenty of guides and resources that are widely available on the internet, such as Parkers and Auto Trader, that will allow you to get an idea of what constitutes a fair price based on criteria such as age, mileage and condition.This will help avoid handing your car over too cheaply.

Pick-up some breakdown and insurance cover.
Some new car deals include breakdown assistance, as well as temporary ‘drive away insurance’ to provide instant cover from the moment that you leave the forecourt.Nevertheless, it’s important to shop around for an annual breakdown and insurance policy that meets your needs and budget, and it may be cheaper to buy them separately.

“For many, a car is often the second biggest purchase after a property,” Bill Fennell, the Managing Director of Motor Codes, said.“As with any big commitment, motorists should take the time to read up and ensure it meets their long-term requirements and finances, and examine the small print to avoid any repercussions at a later date.”