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Tips for buying a car

Need the freedom of your first car, or an upgrade to one that's more efficient? If you’re in the market for a new, used or demo car there’s a few things to consider before you take the plunge.disclaimer

First of all, it’s a good idea to budget for ongoing costs, such as:

  • registration
  • fuel
  • servicing and maintenance
  • road toll charges
  • parts and repairs
  • insurance.

If you take out a personal loan to buy a car, you’ll need to budget for repayments too.

Tips for buying a new or demo car

Consider when might be the best time to buy. Buying at the end of the month or financial year may be when dealers are looking to hit their sales targets and could be offering a better deal.

Do your homework. Know which car you want, what the typical price is across different dealerships, and how much extras are. This may help you negotiate and drive away with a better deal.

It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to extras the dealer offers, like tinted windows, paint protection and floor mats. Be mindful these costs may quickly add up and may not reap a higher resale price when it comes time to sell the car.

Consider roadside assistance. Some car manufacturers include it with the car, and some insurance companies include it as part of comprehensive car insurance. If it’s not included, you may want to sign up.

Tips for buying a used car

If you’re after a used car, even if the car has a roadworthy certificate consider organising an inspection by an independent party – like a qualified mechanic.

Check the Personal Property Securities Register to ensure no finance is still owing.

You can also compare the kilometres done against the average, which is 12,100 kilometres per year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2020.disclaimer

Tips for buying from a licensed dealer

Chances are you’ll be offered different deals by different dealerships, so consider checking out a few different ones in person and online before deciding. Also, consider timing your purchase to take advantage of any promotional deals. Below are just some of the things to consider or discuss with your dealer.disclaimer

If you’re buying a second-hand car, check what warranty and ‘cooling off period’ is included.

Ask what the total on-road cost (the drive away price) is to avoid the risk of hidden or extra costs. Extra dealer costs could include dealer delivery charges.

Ask the dealer to guarantee that the car is free from all security interests. You can check this by going to the Personal Property Securities Register website.

For a more comprehensive report on the used vehicle, it may be worth getting a car history report. This type of report (which you may have to pay a fee for) provides you with information about the vehicle and may include:disclaimer

  • reported insurance claims
  • written off records 
  • finance owing 
  • odometer check 
  • stolen vehicle check 
  • registration details

Consider checking the build date and compliance plate of the vehicle you're looking at, to make sure it’s being advertised correctly.

Tips for buying from a private seller or at an auction

Thinking of buying at auction? Here are some things to consider.disclaimer

You could pick up a bargain at an auction, but you should consider you may not get to test drive or inspect that car. If you do get the opportunity to inspect, check the car thoroughly. From the electrics and windscreen wipers to the tread on the tyres, the jack and spare tyre in the boot, check it all and everything in between.

Before the auction, check whether you get a roadworthy certificate and what warranty or cooling-off period is included with the sale.

Even if the car has a roadworthy certificate, consider inspecting the car carefully.  You can also consider the kilometres that have been done for the vintage of the car. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the typical mileage to be around 12,100kms per yeardisclaimer(2020).

Ask the seller to guarantee that the car is free from all security interests. You can also check this by going to the Personal Property Securities Register website.

For a more comprehensive report on the used vehicle, it may be worth getting a car history report. This type of report (which you may have to pay a fee for) provides you with information about the vehicle and may include:disclaimer

  • reported insurance claims
  • written off records 
  • finance owing 
  • odometer check 
  • stolen vehicle check 
  • registration details

Make sure you don't forget to transfer the car registration.

Ensure you get a receipt for your deposit as well as for the full purchase price of the car.

More guides to help you

Create a budget

Follow these simple steps to create a budget, take control of your spending and reach your savings goals.

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Track my spending

If you want to save money, you should track where it goes. Money missing is money lost. 

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Saving on a budget

Create a simple, efficient budget and savings plan to help you set money aside for the things that are important to you. 

Learn more about saving on a budget

Hide and save

When it comes to saving money, you can be your own worst enemy. Just when you think you’re getting ahead, you withdraw a stash of cash for an unplanned purchase. Hiding your money can help.

Find out ways that you can hide your money to save it

One car or two?

When you’ve got kids to drop off or long work, it may feel like a second car could come in handy. But is it worth the extra cost?

Read about one car versus two

All applications for credit are subject to ANZ’s credit assessment criteria. Terms and conditions are available on application. Fees and charges apply. Australian credit licence number 234527.

  

The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives financial situation or needs.  By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations.  You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.

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The information and topics covered in a car history report may vary. Before you order a report, check that it contains the information you need.

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