Buying a car is not always easy but considering these tips may help your next purchase run smoothly.

Buying a car can be daunting but being prepared will put you in the driver's seat.


Think Ahead

  • Arrange finance before you start looking at cars. Knowing that you've been approved and that the money is on standby will give you the confidence to negotiate a better deal from the vendor;
  • Assess your driving needs and then research the type of cars available that best suit you and your budget. A 4x4 may look great but it will be expensive to run and is it really what you need?
  • When you're doing your budget, don't forget those often-overlooked expenses of running a car: registration, comprehensive and third party insurance, general servicing and tyres.

Check the Vehicle

  • The safest way to buy a used car is through a dealer where the car is sold with a statutory warranty;
  • If you plan to buy your car 'privately', it pays to have the car mechanically inspected and be sure you know who your dealing with by asking for some identification from the vendor;
  • If you're going to test drive a car, check that the owner has the vehicle covered by insurance;
  • If the owner won't let you test drive the car, ask them to drive you - a test drive is the best way to highlight any inherent mechanical problems;
  • Always try to organise a time during daylight hours to inspect a vehicle, and preferably when it's not raining, as this allows you to see the vehicle clearly;
  • When inspecting a vehicle, check the ground for oil and other leaks. It may not be a problem now, but could cost you dearly at some stage in the future;
  • Make sure the car you're inspecting is what you're looking at — locate and check the compliance plate against the vehicles registration papers;
  • Do a vehicle encumbrance search to ensure the vehicle is not owned by a bank or finance company;

Negotiating your purchase

  • Most vehicles are sold very quickly once advertised, so if you've found one you like you should leave a deposit — $50 to $100 is often all that's necessary;
  • In the emotion of updating your car, you may convince yourself to pay more than you should! Ask AFS to check that the vehicle you're about to purchase is appropriately priced;
  • Except for auctions, most cars are advertised at prices above what the vendor is prepare to actually sell for so don't be afraid to bargain — you may save thousands;
  • If you're financing your car, you can ask AFS about including insurance in your contract. Not only will you be covered from the time you drive your car away, but it will most likely save you time and money.

Final Checks

  • When you pick up your vehicle, allow yourself plenty of time to go over the car to ensure there has been no change since you last saw it. For instance, check that the radio or tyres haven't been replaced by inferior ones;
  • Before you drive away make sure the seller has given you all sets of keys, the services books and manuals, and the registration papers (signed by the vendor);
  • Once you've bought your vehicle, don't forget to transfer your registration. That way, there can be no disputes over parking fines or speed camera tickets.

Now you can enjoy the open road.

To read more about other great car buying tips please visit Car Buying Tips