Buying a new or second-hand car is not something we typically do all that much, so for many car buyers it can be easy to make a mistake. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help reduce those chances and get the best deal you can.

3 ‘To-Dos’ When Buying a Car

Have the right strategy

Before starting your search for a new or second-hand car, you should spend a bit of time comparing the market. Understand what make and model of car you’re looking for, as well as how they can vary in price based on features, condition and kilometres travelled.

When you’ve got an idea of the price that you’re prepared to pay, make sure you stick to that budget and hunt down the car that meets your criteria. When you go to a dealership or meet with a private seller, discuss the details around price upfront and don’t fall into the trap of taking a car for a test drive first.

Know what you want and what the car is worth before you ever go and have a look at it.


Check the mechanical quality

When you’re doing your research on makes and models it’s a good idea to look for common issues that come up with that type of car. That can give you an idea of what to look out for.

While it’s hard for most people to assess the mechanical quality of a vehicle, a good starting point is to look at the overall condition and make sure there is a full service history.

If you want to be certain, it’s worth getting your car inspected by a third-party mechanic who can check that everything is in order.

While dealerships do offer standard warranties for used cars, this varies in each state and only covers you for cars that meet certain criteria such as the number of kilometres travelled.


Organise finance in advance

If you’re borrowing money to pay for your car it’s very important to organise your finance well ahead of time.

Speak to an independent finance broker and they can help compare your options and start the process of getting preapproved. When preapproved, you know how much you can spend on a car and what your repayments are going to be like.

Dealerships all offer finance, but it’s normally only through one lender. This means you might not have access to the best features or interest rates available.

Knowing your budget can put you in a stronger negotiating position.

It’s also possible to get finance to buy a car from a private seller.