How to purchase a vehicle

Here are our top 10 tips for helping you buy the right vehicle:

  1. Choosing the vehicle

    Buy the car that best suits your needs and your budget. Always research the market first so that you know what to expect in terms of value for money.

  2. Get the right finance

    Shop around for competitive finance before going car shopping. Never accept a loan or finance agreement just because it’s quick, easy or convenient. The interest rate may be much higher than what you could get from other providers. Where possible you should consider obtaining finance before hand or be aware of rates of finance available before you visit a dealership.

  3. Protect yourself

    It is risky to buy from an unlicensed dealer or a private seller. They are unregulated and there is little legal protection in the event of a problem. Licensed dealers must offer a cooling-off period and Statutory Warranty on most used vehicles they sell. Always make sure the vehicle actually exists, is available and meets your expectations.

  4. Make safety a priority

    Choose a car with a high ANCAP or Used Car Safety Rating and comprehensive safety features.

  5. Get an independent inspection

    Always have a used car inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy it. A safety certificate or statutory warranty isn’t a substitute for a vehicle inspection. Make an independent inspection part of the contract and make sure the wording allows you the right not to purchase if the inspection is unsatisfactory. Most importantly don’t accept the car unless you are satisfied with its condition.

  6. Put things in writing

    Ignore any promise, warranty or guarantee that isn’t in writing as it is difficult to enforce.

  7. Conduct background checks

    If buying privately, check the Personal Property Security Register online or by phoning 1300 007 777 to determine if there is any money owing on the vehicle or if it is listed as stolen or written off. The search certificate will also provide information about the vehicle's features that should be confirmed to ensure it's the correct vehicle. If there is money owing on the vehicle, don’t buy it if there is any doubt it won’t be paid as you will not get clear title to the vehicle and it could be repossessed.

  8. Check your contract

    Never sign an incomplete contract. Always read and be sure you understand it before signing. Also be sure it is the car you want, can afford and that it is in a condition you will accept.

    With new vehicles, specify the car’s colour and delivery date on the contract. If a dealer does not deliver as agreed, depending on the terms of sale the contract may be terminated and deposit money refunded, particularly if the deficiency cannot be appropriately remedied by the dealer.

    If the dealer's standard contract does not make provision for your specific requirements then you may need to insist on certain wording being inserted into the contract to protect your interests.

  9. Important documents

    Always get a copy of any contract, warranty documents and for used vehicles, the safety certificate. Remember to check the safety certificate is current, has sufficient remaining life to complete the registration transfer and all vehicle details are correct

  10. Insure your car before you drive away

    Compulsory Third Party insurance (CTP) is part of your car's registration in Queensland, but you may need more protection. CTP insurance only covers personal injuries sustained by passengers in your vehicle, not at fault drivers and other users. CTP Insurance does not cover damage caused to or by your vehicle. At RACQ, we provide different levels of car insurance cover to protect you against loss or damage. To make sure your vehicle is covered, view our range of car insurance options and get a quote today.

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.