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Expert Tips to Buying a Car

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If you’re getting ready to splash some cash on a new car, it’s important to know the best steps to ensure the car you choose has a solid safety record and offers value for money. Here are some other top tips to consider when purchasing a car.

Set a budget

For many people, a car purchase will be one of the largest cash investments that they will make in their life and it is important if you are going to purchase a vehicle that you are on top of your finances. A smart way to work out how much you can spend is to do a budget. Calculate your outgoings and ingoing’s and see if the numbers add up.

It’s important to be aware of how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle, and this can include not just the amount you’ll need to put down as a deposit and monthly repayments but also registration, insurance, taxes, finance costs, maintenance, fuel and other general running costs.

Research the best finance option for your circumstances

Don’t forget to also spend time researching the best finance option to complete the transaction. It’s vital you consider the various finance alternatives available to you and choose the right option for your circumstances. Make sure you compare “apples with apples” when comparing options by looking at the total cost of the financing product involved. Remember to factor in the interest over the life of the loan, the costs of break the loan or paying it off early and any other fees and charges involved in setting up the loan. Some of the options to consider include a hire purchase, chattel mortgage, personal finance loan or if your employer will support you - a novated lease. If you’re considering working with your employer to set up this type of lease then you can make use of a novated lease calculator to work out the sums.

If you are confused about choosing the right type of car loan for you, it is wise to speak to a vehicle finance expert, such as Platinum Direct Finance. Such experts can help you navigate the jargon and help you get pre-approved sooner.

Negotiate with the dealer or private seller

When it comes time to discussing money with either a private seller or a dealer, there can be a variety of factors to consider in your negotiations. For new cars, remember that the recommended retail price is just that – recommended. So always negotiate on the price. The dealer is likely going to have some room to move and can potentially offer you ‘free’ extras to sweeten the deal. Ensure you ask for a drive-away price (one that includes registration, stamp duty and other potential costs) so you know the end figure that’s involved, and ask for this in writing. Consider that dealers often have monthly quarterly or yearly targets that they want to meet, so it can be beneficial to haggle at optimum times such as March, June, September and December.

When negotiating on price for a used vehicle with a private seller don’t forget to make a list of any faults you found on the car or work that needs doing, and offer a lower price accordingly.

Test drive the vehicle

When driving the car, cover a route that takes you on as many different road surfaces as possible, so you can check the vehicle in different conditions. Make sure you test the mirrors, and the controls around the steering wheel. Can you comfortably see out of the car? Are the controls within easy reach?

For second hand car purchases, check the engine and the mileage on the motor. In addition, listen for any unusual noises and feel for any gearbox, braking and accelerating issues.

Check the paperwork and log-books

If you are looking at purchasing a second hand car ensure you research the vehicle’s registration, financial and ownership status and history as well. A search can be made for a small fee through the Federal Government’s new Personal Property Security Register. Also ensure that you receive original versions, not photocopies, of all the vehicle’s paperwork, such as rego papers, service history, logbook and Safety Certificate.

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