Top tips for buying a vehicle

Follow RACQ’s handy guide before buying another set of wheels.

Buying a vehicle can be a daunting experience with everything from finance, safety and running costs to consider. Here are some top tips to make buying a new or used vehicle easier.

Find the right fit

Are you after a car to transport the kids to school? Do you need to carry equipment for work or hobbies? Or are you after something a little sportier, a motorbike or convertible perhaps? Once you decide on the type of vehicle for your lifestyle, it’s easier to nail down exactly what you’re after.

Set a budget

There is no point getting your heart set on a car or bike that costs $25,000 when you have a budget of $10,000. You will also need to factor in ongoing costs such as fuel, registration, insurance and other extras into the final price. If you’re looking at getting a loan to purchase the vehicle then try RACQ Bank. As an added bonus, you can enjoy RACQ member benefits like discounts on car maintenance, batteries and more.

Do your research

There are numerous websites including RACQ Living that have reviews, facts and stats on different types of vehicles. Make sure you check out safety results, fuel efficiency, additional extras, practicality, size and costs. RACQ Living also has professional car reviews which outline all the pros and cons of different makes and models, so you can make a decision easier.

Inspect before you buy

You wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it first, so why would it be any different for a vehicle. Vehicles are generally one of the more expensive purchases you will ever make, so get out there and investigate. Go for test drives, try multiple makes and models and find the right vehicle that ticks all the boxes.

New vs Used

There are pros and cons for both, so knowing what you want is the key. A used vehicle might not have all the bells and whistles as a new one, but they are generally much cheaper. There is always a bit of risk with a preowned vehicle, but there are thousands that have been well maintained and serviced regularly, just make sure to do your research and inspections. Who knows you may even find a new car you had your eye on in a used dealership or online with only a handful of kilometres and at a fraction of the price.

New cars on the other hand offer peace of mind and are far less likely to breakdown than used cars and come with many dealer incentives including capped price servicing. They are also covered by a warranty which provides further security. The main strike against buying new is the initial cost and the fact new cars lose about 40 percent of their value within the first three years.

Private vs Dealership

Whether new or used, if you’re buying from a dealership, make sure you compare dealers. There is a lot of competition out there so hunt around for the best deal. If you’re upgrading from your current vehicle they may offer you extra money on your trade in or throw in extras to get the deal over the line. You’ll never earn as much from a dealer as you would a private sale, but it takes away the stress of having to sell your vehicle online.

If you’re buying from a private seller then you need to have your wits about you and make sure to protect yourself as they are high risk and unregulated. If you want that extra piece of mind, purchase an RACQ vehicle inspection. Our experienced team of technicians can check all types of cars to make sure there are no hidden and potentially expensive nasties.

  • Pro Tip: Be sure to complete PPSR check to help identify if the car has any money owing on it, has been reported stolen or is outstanding for a Takata airbag recall. The search only costs $2 and can save you thousands in the long run.

Insure your new pride and joy

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Make sure to insure your new vehicle after purchase so you’re covered in the event of any accidents. RACQ has a range of insurance options depending on your vehicle including Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Liability Insurance, Motorcycle Insurance, Fleet and Small Business Insurance and a range of insurances for enthusiast vehicles. 

Enjoy the ride

Congratulations! The hard work has paid off and now the vehicle is yours to enjoy. Make sure to have your vehicle serviced regularly to keep it running smoothly.

  • Pro tip: RACQ and free2go members can save 4c per litre on fuels at participating Puma Energy, Matilda and Choice petrol stations across Queensland. Simply show your membership card and enjoy the savings.