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WITH new '07 car registration plates just around the bend, the next few weeks could see millions wasted as people drive their new cars off the forecourt.

However now is the perfect time to grab a bargain, not on the new '07 registrations, but new cars left unsold from the old '06 plate.

Dealers desperate to get rid of their old stock and replace it with the new registrations will be falling over themselves to give you a discount.

Ed Evans, an examining engineer with the RAC, thinks it's a great time for a bargain, but says it's vital to tread with caution.

"The most improtant thing is to do your homework."

When looking for discounted models, there's several models that may cross your path:

Ex-demonstrator - registered by the car company - it's a vehicle that has been used to show clients that particular model of car.

Pre-registration - a car registered by the company, often because that particular brand wishes to get a certain quota of cars through.

Ed continues: "Above all, ask questions, get the background on the car as it will enable you to make a decision and get the best saving possible."

Here are Ed's top tips when searching for the best discount:

Find out when the car was registered or how long they've had it. There can be a big difference across a year.

Where has the car been stored? Most will store it properly, but it has been know to find them in fields or worse.

Check for environmental damage, acid rain, the effects of pollution, any discolouring and even animal infestation.

Check the specification of the car - optional extras from one year to another vary greatly.

Satellite navigation that was an £800 extra one year, may now be standard and this should reflect in the price.

Shop around, not all places will offer the same deal and others may have more stock or keen to offer discounted rates.

Finally, homework really is the key to finding the best deal, the biggest loss you incur is when you drive the car off the forecourt, so it's worth spending some time shopping around.

"If I was thinking of retiring and instead of changing a car every two to three years, I was looking for one for maybe six or seven years, then this is a great way or finding a bargain.

"But hurry, the new registration is out on March 1 and demand will be high."