There are a large number of factors which must be considered when buying a new car. RAA’s Technical Advisory team have provided the following advice for you to consider when making this significant purchasing decision.
How much should you spend?
This is the most important point to consider. Decide on a maximum price and stick to it.
Remember to allow room in your budget for other expenses too, such as dealer delivery, stamp duty, insurance and registration.
If you are borrowing money it is best to arrange finance beforehand. The amount you can afford to borrow may determine your budget. Make sure to carefully check the interest rates and loan conditions as they usually vary between financial institutions. Examine the loan repayments carefully – do they allow for changes in your income or interest rates?
To get an idea of the likely price range of cars that you're interested in our Technical Advisory Service can provide you with pricing information.
We use Glass's Guide, a comprehensive database that includes information on vehicle prices and specification data,. This is the industry standard and only available to subscribers, so you'll have the same information as the professionals. To obtain this information, speak to one of our Technical Advisers by calling 8202 4689 or send us an email.
If you want to get an online indication of the likely price range of cars that you're interested in, try an online database such as Redbook.
Choosing the right car
When choosing what type of car to get, consider the type of driving you’ll be doing and whether this might change in the future. Think about things like how many people will the vehicle usually carry and whether it will be required to tow a caravan or trailer will help determine the type of vehicle and engine size that suits you best. If you plan to tow, a six cylinder engine would be best suited. However, if your driving will be done mainly in the metropolitan area, then a four cylinder model may be best.
Think about how much you can spend each week to run the car. Usually, the more cylinders a car has, the higher the registration and the higher the fuel consumption.
Also consider that it may be harder to obtain parts for a less popular model of car.
If you'd like to find out if the car you're thinking of buying is a high powered vehicle, head to the EzyReg website. All you need to do is click on the check high powered vehicle status link and type in the vehicle identification number to see what it's listed as.
Test driving a car
Test driving the vehicle you are interested in buying is crucial. A car may have all the features you are after, but once you drive it you may find that the driving position is too uncomfortable, the ride too harsh or the gear change is not as smooth as you’d like.
Before driving, ask the dealer of your legal liability should you be involved in an accident. Once this has been established, take the car for a drive for at least 20 minutes along a variety of different roads if possible. Try parking it and perform a U-turn to establish the turning circle. While you’re driving, you’ll have the opportunity to have a good look at the features.
Once you’ve returned to the dealership don’t get carried away telling the salesperson how much you might like the car – keep a level head for the negotiating process.
Trading in your current car can remove the hassle of selling privately, but it will most likely mean you will not get as much money for it.
If you do decide to trade in, ask the dealer for the total changeover price. This is how much you’ll have to pay to leave your old car there and drive away in the new one. Don’t let the dealer confuse you.
Agreeing to the price
Once you begin negotiating the final price, make sure you’re aware of whether any of the extra costs are, or aren’t, included in the price, such as stamp duty, dealer delivery and registration.
It also pays to shop around for the best deal. Try and visit as many dealers as possible to get the best price. Ask the dealer if they can do a better price than the last.
Before you take delivery of your new car, make sure that you inspect it thoroughly for any body damage or defects to the vehicle. It’s best to take delivery during daylight hours, so that any faults can be picked up easier. Also make sure that the vehicle's year and month of manufacture is as you expected and as stated in the paperwork.