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.
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.
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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