What you need to know about buying a new or used car

Before you start shopping, you need to decide if you should buy a new or used car. There are pros and cons for both so knowing what you want from your car is the key.

We’ve put together some things to consider for both new and used options. 

Buying a new car

There are lots of things to consider when looking at a new car.

New cars can offer peace of mind

New cars are less likely to break down than used cars, and are likely to remain mechanically sound for many years after purchase if serviced correctly. They are also covered by a warranty which provides some certainty about future operating costs. New car warranties typically provide cover for 3 to 5 years and 60,000 to 100,000km.

Get the latest features

If features are important to you then a new car could be a better choice as they tend to come with the latest technology. For example, later models are more likely to have the latest safety and fuel efficiency technologies, driver aids and infotainment features.

Fuel economy

Every year car makers aim to improve fuel efficiency. This can translate to savings for those that buy a new car as they tend to be more fuel efficient.


New cars are more exposed to depreciation which typically occurs more rapidly in the years immediately after purchase. For example, new cars can lose about 40 per cent of their value within the first three years.

Superseded and old stock

Vehicles with the previous year’s build date (or earlier) can also be a good buy, as can a superseded model (one that’s been replaced by a new model). In determining if these vehicles are a good buy and what is an appropriate price for them, you will need to consider things like:

  • When the vehicle was built.
  • How significant the change is in the new model's price and equipment levels.
  • How long you intend to keep it.

Tips when considering superseded or old stock vehicles:

  • Generally, the longer you keep a car the less impact the earlier build date has on its value.
  • If you regularly change cars, make sure the discounted price for buying superseded stock sufficiently offsets the lower trade-in or sale price you can expect when it comes time to sell.
  • Consider a car history check.

Should I buy an EV?

Electric vehicles are becoming more common on our roads and their popularity is expected to continue in coming years. They are generally more expensive than internal combustion engine vehicles, however they are cheaper to operate and maintain. The cost of electric cars is expected to come down in coming years as more models com onto the Australian market. Visit our electric cars page for more information on EVs.

Top five tips for buying a new car

Buying a new car can be a daunting experience with everything from finance, safety and running costs to consider. So here are five top tips with the information you need to make buying a new car easier!

Buying a used car

There are a lot of pros and cons for buying a used car.

It might not seem as glamorous as a new car, but there are thousands of well maintained and serviced used cars available. If you do your research and negotiate well, it could save you a lot of money. You might even find that the new car you have been considering is available as a used car at a much cheaper price, with only a handful of kilometres on the odometer.

The key is research.

Do your research

There is plenty of information available. Use this site, search the web for cars you're interested in.

Demonstrator vehicles

Demonstrators are cars the dealer uses to show the model to customers. They are usually kept for a short time and may only travel a few thousand kilometres before they are sold. Demonstrators can be an acceptable buy provided the price is right. Things to think about:

  • You will in effect be buying a used car. It will have been first registered to the dealer.
  • You won’t get the full new car warranty term as it will have started when the vehicle was first registered.

Consider the risks of private sale

Private sales are high risk and unregulated. As such, you must be extra vigilant with your checks.

Be sure to complete a PPSR check (formally REVS check) to help identify if a car has money owing on it or if it has been reported stolen.

To protect yourself we suggest buying from a licensed motor dealer.

Be aware of bargains and consider on-going costs

New cars often use the latest technology to save on costs such as maintenance and fuel so keep the age of the vehicle in mind as this can impact on the cost of servicing and maintenance.

Check your features

A used vehicle may also lack some of the features you require. Modern safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes are less common in older vehicles.

Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.