Buying a car
Buying a car can be exciting, particularly if it’s your first car. Given the considerable cost, it really pays to do your homework and find out about the pros and cons of the type of car and model you want, the on road costs and different types of insurance.
New or used
How do you choose between a new car and a used car? The following information might help you to make your decision.
What’s great about a new car?
- New cars come with a warranty. If anything goes wrong, the car will be fixed free of charge.
- When you have a warranty, you only have to pay for regular servicing. But keep in mind that services through a dealership can be more expensive than those you might get elsewhere and you may be tied to a dealership service agreement for the period of the warranty.
What’s not so great?
- New cars depreciate (lose their value) the moment you drive out of the dealership and technically become ‘used’. Shop around and look for a model that holds its value.
If you’re thinking about buying a new car, ask the following questions.
- What’s the best price you can give me?
- Are there any sales on?
- What’s the safety rating?
- What’s the ‘on road’ cost?
- What’s available as standard and what’s extra?
- What is the warranty period? Can I sign up for a longer warranty period?
- Do I need to have the car serviced through the dealership during the warranty?
Whether you’re buying a new or a used car, it’s worth getting an insurance quote before you commit yourself – some makes and models can be expensive to insure.
Some useful links:
What’s great about a used car?
- A used car is significantly cheaper than a new car.
What’s not so great?
- You won’t know about any problems with the car, so make sure you have it inspected. Unless you know the history of the car it’s hard to know how it’s been treated in the past.
There are some important questions to ask about a used car (if you’re buying it privately and not through a dealership).
- Why are you selling the car?
- Does it have a current roadworthy certificate?
- How many kilometres has it done?
- How long have you had it?
- How many owners has it had?
- Does it have a completed service book?
- Has it ever been in a crash?
- Is there any debt on the car?
- Can I have it inspected?
If you decide to buy a used car, choose a reliable make and model so that the car holds its value. Sites where you can check car values and/or safety are:
Have the car inspected before you buy – contact your state motoring club or someone you can trust.
Buying a safe car
You can check safety ratings at www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au or www.arrivealive.vic.gov.au/files/initiatives/firstcar/VRD0592_Used_Cars_Safety_List.pdf
Be aware that the older the car is, the less likely it is to have the latest safety features.
Some key safety features to look for when you’re shopping for a car include:
- curtain airbags
- antilock braking system
- electronic stability control
- brake assist system
- traction control
For more information on buying a car, read this practical guide: