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.

With an RACQ Bank car loan you’ll get a secured car loan made to suit your lifestyle, low interest rates and unlimited additional repayments so you can pay off your loan faster. Plus – enjoy member discounts across car maintenance, batteries and more.

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?

RACQ offers a range of great insurance options from Comprehensive Car Insurance to Car Enthusiast Insurance so there’s something for every car buyer.

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.


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Except for RACQ Bank, any RACQ entity referred to on this page is not an authorised deposit-taking institution for the purposes of the Banking Act 1959 (Cth). That entity’s obligations do not represent deposits or other liabilities of RACQ Bank. RACQ Bank does not guarantee or otherwise provide assurance in respect of the obligations of that entity, unless noted otherwise.

Insurance products are issued by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152 (RACQ). Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Please read the PDS before making a purchase decision on this product. Any general advice relating to this product at is provided by RACQ.
Enthusiast Insurance underwritten by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152 (RACQ). Famous Insurance Agency Pty Ltd ABN 66 168 467 561 is authorised to arrange and issue this insurance as agent of RACQ. Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Please read the PDS before making a purchase decision on this product. Any general advice relating to this insurance at is provided by RACQ.

*The RACQ Fair Fuel Finder App includes content supplied by Oil Price Information Service LLC or its third party provider (OPIS). Copyright © OPIS, 2018. All Rights Reserved. This App displays fuel prices in limited areas within Queensland only, which do not incorporate any potential discounts offered by fuel providers. It may not display all fuel types nor take into account all available fuel providers. Fuel price currency is not guaranteed and delays in pricing updates may occur due to faults, errors and/or reliance on third party providers. View Full Terms and Conditions.

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