Tips for buying a car
Know what you want
Always go in knowing your exact needs, the features you want and how much you have to spend. This will help to make sure you get the best car for you.
When you head to the car yards, be open about what you're looking for with sales staff. Give them a good idea of your needs and budget, and they can help you find the right car.
Do your research
There are lots of websites and apps out there with handy hints and tips.
Consider ongoing costs
The buying price is an important factor, but when you're deciding on a make and model it's important to also consider ongoing costs.
Check out the fuel efficiency of the car you're looking at. By choosing a smaller car or one that's more fuel efficient for the type of driving you do (open road vs around town) you can help save on your weekly budget. Larger cars can also have higher costs for registration, servicing and tyres.
For independent advice on prices, makes and models you can talk to the automobile club in your state, or chat to your local mechanic.
Inspect the car
When you're out car hunting it's easy to end up test driving every car you see. And after a while, they can all seem the same.
To save time, shortlist three or four cars that you like. And to help you compare them more easily, try to take the test drives as close together as you can - all on the same day if possible.
It's always a good idea to check the spare tyre: Is there one? If so, is it in a good condition? A simple check can make sure you're not stuck on the road later with a flat tyre and no spare.
And if you have a family or regularly carpool, you may want to try sitting in the back seat to make sure there's plenty of room. Some cars are spacious in the front but quite cramped in the back - even for the kids!
Do a background check
Purchasing a car is a big investment, whether you use it for getting to work or driving the family about. Automobile clubs such as RACQ or RACV offer an inspection service for a small fee, which can be great peace of mind.
If you're buying a used car you may want to consider getting a car history check. These can be done online for a small fee. A history check can tell you if the car:
The specific documentation you’ll need varies between financial institutions, the loan purpose (such as refinance or construction) and whether you’re a new customer.
- has money owing on it or if it is leased
- is listed as stolen
- has been written off or previously repaired after an accident by an insurer
- has had its odometer tampered with.
Always ask to see a copy of the registration certificate when inspecting the vehicle and if it is a second-hand vehicle, a copy of the Safety Inspection Certificate. You can do certain checks (such as a car rego check) by contacting your state department of transport or local police station.
Pick the best time and place to buy
The best time to buy a car is generally at the end of the month when sales teams are trying to hit their targets. July and December are generally the quietest months, so if you can time your purchase around the end of July, Christmas or New Year, you can often snag yourself a pretty good deal.
Sometimes car yards in the southern states can have cheaper prices, so it can be a good idea to phone a few places to get prices on the make and model you want.
And no matter what time of the year it is, it's always worth negotiating for some added extras – even if it's just some free car mats!
Carefully consider your finance options
If you plan to borrow money to buy a car it's a good idea to shop around for finance options.
While dealer finance may seem convenient, it can be cheaper to get your loan from other financial providers. And dealer finance special offers can sometimes come with catches like higher car prices, shorter loan terms, restrictions on the car models available, and service contracts with a specific dealership.
When choosing a loan, check that there are no catches or restrictions that influence what you want and where you want to buy your car from.
Some car loans come with loan application and monthly account keeping fees. And so while some loans may have a lower interest rate, they may end up costing you more because of higher fees. The comparison rate can help you to compare total loan costs.
You may also want to consider whether there are any penalties for making extra repayments or for paying off the loan earlier than the agreed term. The more payments you can make, the quicker you can pay off your loan.
Need more information? Read our guide to personal loans.
Insure your new car
Taking that first drive in your new car is one of life's special moments. But before you get behind the wheel make sure you have insurance.
To find out how Great Southern Bank can help you buy a new set of wheels have a look at our car loans, drop in to your local branch, or call 133 282.
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Please note: This is only intended as a general guide in relation to issues you may want to consider when buying a new car. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all relevant issues and you should take into account your own particular circumstances, and obtain independent expert advice where needed, before proceeding.