Seven steps to buying a new car

Buying a new car is a big decision, here are our top seven steps to follow when buying a new car.

1. Identify your needs

Think about what you’ll be using the car for, whether it be travelling to work in city traffic, taking the family on off-road adventures, going on lots of long road-trips or something else. Do you need a compact car, one for rough terrain or a car with a high safety rating?

Ensure the vehicle has enough storage space, seats, towing capacity and comfort to suit your lifestyle and your family. Fuel efficiency is also an important factor that is often overlooked.

Gadgets are another way to upgrade your ride and enhance your experience on the road. Many car models now give buyers the option to include reverse parking cameras, blind spot assist technology and front cameras. Comfortable or heated seats, decent room and even cup holders can make the difference for those who spend a lot of their time behind the wheel.

Car buyers also need to think ahead, will that two-door sports car work for a growing family? Alternatively, is it necessary to buy an SUV when you’re planning on downsizing?

2. Research

Once you’ve decided on what’s best for you and your lifestyle, it’s time to find a car that fits the bill.

There are so many websites that can help you find facts and stats on different types of cars. Check out the car’s safety rating, fuel efficiency, additional extras, practicality, size and cost.

RACQ also offers a great range of professional car reviews which outline all the pros and cons of different makes and models so you can make a decision easier. 

Contact RACQ’s Motoring Advice team for tailored advice to suit your situation.

3. Budget

Look at your finances or speak with a lending specialist to determine your budget. Be sure to consider the ongoing car costs too.  

Hidden costs can add up and being aware of exactly how much you’ll need to pay can keep you ahead of the game.

The RACQ Fair Fuel Finder app also helps motorists find the cheapest fuel so you can get more bang for your buck*.

4. Inspection

Always have a used car inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy it. A safety certificate isn’t a substitute for a comprehensive vehicle inspection. RACQ provides a range of different vehicle inspection options with discounts available for members.

Make it a priority to also get a Personal Property Security Register check to determine if there is any money owing on the vehicle from the previous owner, or if it is listed as stolen or written off.

5. Compare dealers

There’s a lot of competition out there so have a look and see if you can get a better deal. Some car dealers might offer more money for trade-ins, throw in additional options or extra items, or offer discounts.

6. Important documents

Always get a copy of any contract, warranty documents and for used vehicles, the safety certificate. Make sure any promise or guarantee is in writing, and don’t sign anything unless you’re completely happy.

7. Insure your car before you drive away

You wouldn’t buy a house without insurance, so why should your car be any different?  

Shop around and do your research to find the right fit for you and your car – this can include things like whether the car is in a garage or outside.