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What You Should Check Before Buying A Car

Like most families these days, when the time comes to upgrade the family car we don’t have $40,000+ just sitting in our savings to buy a new car. We rely on finding a good deal and a car loan.

You work hard for your money so the last thing you want to do is buy a lemon of car or be contracted to a car loan with an over inflated interest rate. You may as well throw your money away. This is why it is important to do your research on both the car and your car loan BEFORE you take the next step.

Toyota Fortuner on Stockton Beach

Things to check on cars

Regardless whether you are buying a brand new vehicle or a used car, there are things you need to check first. They include:

  • Is it right for you – we have a larger family which means we need a seven seat car. The options reduce significantly when you have that fourth child and this meant we needed to ensure all the kids could fit comfortably in it, even with the car seats!

    For you, your concern might be boot space, leg room, safety features, etc. Whatever it may be, ensure the car you are looking at fulfils your needs.

  • History – if buying a used car, check the owner history. Has it been regularly serviced and looked after? Is it still in warranty and has it got any outstanding recalls? It is also a great idea to get a CarHistory report for peace of mind against odometer rollback, vehicle valuation and write offs.

  • Vehicle inspection – when purchasing a used car, you should always get a professional vehicle inspection done prior to agreeing to the purchase. When I was young and naïve, I purchased a used car and didn’t think to get an inspection done. It turned out that it had been in an accident and while it was not major or a write off, the repair was dodgy. Let’s just say, there was a lot of putty used. A vehicle inspection could have saved me from wasting money on this piece of you-know-what!

  • Test drive – take it for a test drive, preferably more than once. Make sure you test it on all different terrains and driving situations to ensure it handles how you want and need it to. Drive it on the highway, around town, up hills, etc.

pen ticking the I agree box on a loan contract buying a car

Things to check on your car loan

Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is why it is crucial you take the time to read the fine print!

  • Interest rate – compare interest rates from as many lenders as you can to get the best rate possible. Check with your insurer to see if they offer better rates, NRMA for example offer favourable car loan rates for its members.

  • Monthly fees – check to see whether there are any monthly fees. There are a few lenders, like NRMA car loans that don’t charge monthly fees.

  • Car loan terms – when you are quoted your monthly repayment, ensure you know the loan term because you might assume it is over 5 years and you are actually being quoted for a 7 year term.

Buying a car is not a decision that should be rushed or taken lightly. Take your time and get it right! You are going to have this car for at least a few years so it needs to be able to meet your expectations and most importantly, be reliable!

Have you made mistakes when buying a car before? Tell us below.

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  1. 03/07/2017 / 9:24 am

    We had cash after the sale of our house in 2014 to buy ourselves much needed new cars. Hub selected his (Pathfinder) and whilst I loved the look and idea of the X-trail, went on a ‘money saving’ exercise and got a corolla. For the previous 7 years I had driven a ‘high’ view vehicle and from day one of driving the corolla back up to M1 I admitted it was a mistake…..so…..my hub understand but in a costly (but ultimately the best) decision, we traded in the new for one week Corolla for a demo X trail and I have never been happier with a vehicle.

  2. 03/07/2017 / 11:33 am

    What a helpful post! I’ll admit to being a bit clueless with cars. Last time we had to buy one I asked for a blue one.

  3. 03/07/2017 / 2:00 pm

    Ahhhh Kelly we were extremely fortunate that I had been able to save a lot of money for my new car but it was a terribly difficult decision.
    There was so much involved for us not least the price. But as we were trading from a Van to an SUV our biggest struggle was finding a vehicle that had adequate airflow in the middle and back row, which was significantly harder than we thought.
    We eventually settled for a pretty Blue Kluger which had everything we wanted and then some.
    I am so glad I finally sat down and read your blog! I am sorry I put it off for so longer xoxo

  4. 03/07/2017 / 2:52 pm

    This is good advice! For me I find I’m more of an emotional shopper so it helps to have a checklist like this for big purchases so you don’t forget the little things that really make a difference!

    Luckily my Dad knows a lot about mechanics and things, and my Father in Law is actually a mechanic for a big car company so we always have good support when car buying!

    Thanks for the link up 🙂

  5. 04/07/2017 / 12:49 am

    We are normally so very frugal when it comes to purchasing cars. We tend to purchase something still within new car warranty with low klm but we ended purchasing brand new this time around. A mixture of rewarding ourselves for being so frugal over the years, my bucket list objectives and the fact we have 3 learner drivers in the house right now.

  6. 04/07/2017 / 4:01 am

    Great tips! We have 4 kids so we need a minivan too. I always buy used cars. Some people say New is better, but the car loses thousands of dollars in value the minute you drive it off the lot. If you get a car that’s just a year or 2 old, you’ll save a ton of money. #mummymondays

  7. Michelle (inthegoodbooksblog)
    04/07/2017 / 6:44 am

    I’ve only ever had the one car as I was always too scared to drive, but as my daughters grew, I simply couldn’t rely on lifts or public transport so finally got my licence when I was 32!

  8. 10/07/2017 / 2:22 am

    Hey, Kell. this is an excellent checklist when buying a car. Buying a used car is a practical choice if you’re on a tight budget but you have to be careful. I agree on a car history report and it is also best to bring a mechanic that you know to assess the whole car. Do not worry much about the appearance because you can have it coated with a paint restoration product to make it look brand new again.

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