Buying a car can be an overwhelming experience for first-timers. There are plenty of things to take into account, not just make and model. Whether the car you are buying is brand new or second hand, here are a few first car buyer tips that can help you make the right decision.
Our First Car Buyer Tips
1. Set a budget
The first step in buying a car is setting a clear budget. Even if your parents are helping you out with the cost, you should be careful not to overspend just because the car looks good. Decide on a maximum amount that you are willing to spend and stick to it. That maximum price should include everything – including extras and on-road expenses.
2. Write down your requirements
Choose a car that matches your lifestyle. Are you looking for a two-door convertible coupe or a sedan that fits the entire family? Automatic transmission offers convenience, but a manual car is cheaper and more economical to maintain. A diesel engine runs on cheaper fuel, but it can turn out be more expensive than their petrol counterparts because of the high cost of parts and repair.
Other practical considerations may include:
• City driving or off-road terrain
• Cargo and passengers
• Fuel economy
• Safety features
• Parking space
You should also consider the extra costs that come with a vehicle purchase. Some of the things that you have to take into account are:
• Registration fees
• Transfer fees (for used cars)
• Stamp duty
If you are financing your car with Approval Buddy, you might want to include annual fees in your loan repayments.
3. Do your research
There are hundreds of cars out there. Filter your online search to display only the cars that meet your needs – type, model, price, features, etc. Read independent reviews from car experts so you can compare specifications such as engine power and fuel consumption.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you find a car you like, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Maybe you know someone who owns the same car – ask them about any issues they have encountered. Check out online car forums and see if there are available answers to your particular question.
5. Study your finance options
There are different ways to finance your car purchase. You could dip into your savings, ask a family or friend to help you or approach a car financing company.
Here are three options to secure financing for your car:
• Personal loan. Take out a personal loan from the bank to cover some or all of the cost.
• Dealer finance. Borrow money from the seller and pay the amount back in instalments.
• Private leasing. Leave a balloon or lump sum payment at the end of the loan to finalise the lease.
When borrowing money, be honest about your credit rating. Check the interest rates, fees, and charges. Read the terms and conditions carefully.
How to Buy a Used Car
Buying a used car is equally taxing. Just like with new cars, you have to put in the time to do research and shop around.
First, check the legal ownership of the vehicle. On the Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) you will be able to see if the car is encumbered. This means that the loan taken out to buy the car has not been repaid or the car was used as collateral against a loan. If a vehicle is encumbered, the person selling the car might not have ownership rights or the car may be carrying financial debt. Be aware of existing loans on the car as it can be repossessed due to unpaid debts.
The next step is to establish the history of the vehicle. A car that has been passed on to different owners with lots of mileage might have had a rough life. A car with a single owner and low mileage is a more appealing option.
Conduct a thorough inspection. If you do not know much about cars, bring a friend who has more knowledge and experience. Check for visible damage or attempts to cover imperfections. If an expert is not available, you can organise a mechanical inspection through the State or Territory Motoring Association for a small fee.
Whether the seller is a dealership or private individual, make sure the vehicle has a roadworthy certificate that is less than 30 days old. Also check with your state transport authority if the car has been stolen, written off by an insurance company, or cancelled registration.
The Test Drive is a Must
Before deciding to buy a car, take it out for a test drive. It doesn’t matter how good a deal is – the only way to find out if the car is in good condition and fits your needs is to drive it.
Look under the hood. Check the brakes, lights, and tyres. Sniff for unusual fumes or smoke. Listen to odd sounds coming from the engine. Make sure everything is working fine.
Get behind the wheel and see if the seats are comfortable. In Australia where summers are scorching hot, it is important to have air conditioning that works.
Spend around 30 minutes driving the car at different speeds and in various road conditions. You should be able to start the engine and park the vehicle with ease. Suspension must be quiet and smooth even over bumps.
If there are potential or existing defects or the test drive does not feel right, walk away.
The Paper Work
Make sure you have proper documentation before closing the deal. Bring a registration changeover form to the inspection and ask for a receipt after the sale.
You should never rush into buying a car. It is a long-term investment that requires patience and thoughtful consideration. Take your time figuring out what you want in your first car and shop around until you find the one that feels right.
For hassle free car financing, consult with the experts at Approval Buddy.