Hack the car buying process

Tips and tricks to buying a new car.

Planning on buying a new car? It can be a daunting experience with the amount of options available, including petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles (EV).

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you hack the car buying process.

What are your needs?

The first thing you need to determine is the vehicle’s purpose. Will the car be used for work? Or will it be used to take a family of six to school and sporting events on the weekend? There is no point buying a small electric vehicle if you can’t fit everyone or intend to transport heavy equipment over long distances.

Are there any other requirements you need in a vehicle? Does it need to have the latest tech, leather seats, or a long warranty? Once you figure out what items are essential, and which are creature comforts, you can determine which vehicles fit all your needs.

Do your research

RACQ has a range of information available to help prospective car buyers, including reviews outlining the pros and cons of different vehicle models. There is also a plethora of information available describing safety ratings, fuel efficiency, price advice and more.

If you're struggling to make a decision or would like further information about a vehicle or the car buying process, contact RACQ Motoring Advice. The team can assist with most motoring enquiries and can be reached from 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday on (07) 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 (toll-free).

Set a budget

During the research phase, it is also essential to set a budget. There is little point in researching a vehicle if it is outside of your means. Buyers will need to account for more than the initial price and factor in running costs, fuel consumption, servicing, registration, stamp duty, insurance and potentially interest on loan repayments.

It’s also important to decide on the type of vehicle for your budget. Petrol vehicles are generally cheaper than diesel, but diesel is often more fuel-efficient. Similarly, EV and hybrids are more expensive to buy, but can be cheaper to run. Additionally, EV owners may need to factor in the cost of a dedicated home charger and the potential costings of upgrades to your home’s switchboard and wiring if required.

Negotiate with power

After you’ve narrowed down a shortlist of vehicles it’s time to go to the dealership. Before you start the negotiating process, it is crucial to test drive the cars and get a feel for their size and handling capabilities. You may find you prefer a particular model over another.

Once you’re set on a specific vehicle, the negotiating process can begin. On the RACQ podcast Your shout, advertising guru and SproutLogic Director Rob Hudson shared a few tips to aid in the negotiating process.

  • Visit a dealership during the week

“Weekends are generally the worst time to visit a dealership. The sales team are busy, and often want you to come back at another time. It might be difficult to make it during the week, but you’re more likely to get a better deal if you do.”

  • Timing is important

Go in towards the end of day and you can cut the process down. No one wants to sit there for hours and if you go at the end of the day, they’ll try and close the deal off quickly. Make sure you give yourself enough time to close the deal though.