The Comprehensive First Car Buyers Guide You Need to Read

Have you decided to purchase your first car? There are several things you’ll need to consider when deciding between vehicles, including purchase price, features, safety and more. New models are more accessible and come with the latest technology, but owning an old car can be a much more affordable option and you’ll experience slower depreciation. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to break down what’s involved in buying your first car, and how to go about it.

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    Buying a Car Privately: Are New or Used Car Brokers Worth It?

    A car broker can act as a middleman to get you a better price and deal on your next car. They have an extensive network of car dealerships and private sellers, and you can buy the right vehicle by relying on the long industry experience of your broker. They can also suggest new or used car finance options if you are worried about money owing or can’t afford to purchase the car outright.

    Australia Car Buying Guide

    One of the first things to consider when shopping around for your dream car is what you’ll be using the car for and what type of vehicle you need. You might like to consider a wide range of vehicles, including hatchbacks, SUVs, off-road, or sports cars - and note that the price will vary largely depending on the type of car you’re after. 

    When it comes to buying any type of new or used car, whether it's for personal or commercial use you must be comparing the most competitive rates so you can find the best deal. You should make sure you understand any additional costs involved and the difference between all of your financing options. Also, don’t forget to take your car for a test drive - it’s just like trying on clothes to ensure they fit perfectly before you buy them. Once you’ve made sure you’re happy and comfortable with the vehicle, you can sign the paperwork and pay the price (or organise finance!).

    If you’re thinking about purchasing an older car, it’s a good idea to check the history of the vehicle. If you’re purchasing the car through a private sale, you should assess the Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR), which will tell you if the car owes money to any other financiers and prevent repossession by a credit provider.

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    Top Tips For Buying a Used Car

    Used cars can be a great budget-friendly choice for many people, and they often also have lower insurance costs. When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, it’s important to ensure you have all the necessary information and conduct a thorough mechanical inspection. This involves:

    • Examining the car’s exterior and interior condition (you can get a mechanic to conduct a thorough inspection of everything from the air conditioning to the steering wheel)
    • Evaluate the registration certificate 
    • Speak with the previous owner if possible
    • See the maintenance records and insurance
    • Take the car for a test drive
    • Ensure the structure and chassis are in sound condition
    • Check for any pending legal cases 
    • Find out the age of the vehicle 

    Second-Hand Car Buying Guide

    You have to be careful when purchasing a second-hand vehicle in Australia. Make sure you check the year of the model and the distance covered - you may not want a car that has travelled hundreds and thousands of kilometres before getting your hands on it. 

    It’s also really important to check all the necessary documents that come with the car - the paperwork should be in perfect condition to avoid any legal hassles.

    New Car Buyers Guide

    When it comes to purchasing a new car, you’ll have to be prepared to spend more money than with a used car - so the first step is to set a budget. You can then select a model that matches your budget and preferences, and check things like the safety rating and environmental performance of the vehicle. You’ll need to think about how you’re going to finance the vehicle, and if you’re not able to purchase it outright, you might like to take out a car loan (or get pre-approval).

    While you may have to pay higher stamp duty and insurance with a new car, you will find a bigger resale market for when you eventually re-sell the car. You may even find it easier to secure finance for new cars. Also, note that there is normally a cooling-off period of 1-3 days, depending on which state or territory you live in.

    What Accessories to Ask for When Buying a Car

    You can ask for several accessories when you buy a new car. One of the most important things is a car security system to safeguard your investment. You can also request a car cover to protect your car from the weather elements and mud flaps to reduce your cleaning work. You might be interested in a GPS system to make navigation smoother, additional accessories like floor mats and seat covers or upgrades like power windows.

    The Costs Involved With Buying A Car

    The biggest cost involved with purchasing a car is the upfront cost of the car. If you’re buying a used car, you’ll be able to save a considerable amount on the purchase price compared with a newer car. Make sure you shop around at car dealers and private sales to ensure that you’re getting the best price.

    In addition to the purchase price, you’ll also need to factor in a range of ongoing costs including registration, insurance, fuel, toll road costs, and maintenance and repairs.

    What Should You Go For: a New or Used Car?

    The answer to this question depends on what your priorities are in purchasing your first car. If you’re after a more affordable car that will depreciate slower, then a used car is the way to go. However, if you don’t mind spending more money to get a car that has the latest technology and will require less maintenance and repairs - you should purchase a brand new car! 

    Buying your first car is exciting, but it’s really important to take the time to do your research and decide on the perfect car for your circumstances. If you're after some inspiration, why not check out our list of Australia's Best 4WD Cars in 2022

    William Brown

    William Brown is the co-founder of start-up Driva, an online car loan marketplace helping customers fight back against the car financing process - providing options and transparency to empower customer choice.

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