Buying a car is a big decision and there is a lot to take into account; who to buy from, where to buy from, what kind of car do I want, how do I know if I’m getting a good deal and so on.

To help alleviate your concerns, we’ve listed four things you need to know before buying a used car.

Understand costs

For first time car buyers, understanding cost is a big one as often the price tag on the car is not the last cost. Consider ongoing costs such as registration, insurance, warranty and fuel. Late-model cars tend to be expensive to insure but may be more fuel efficient saving you money on petrol or diesel.
Once you know how much you want to spend and have researched your ongoing costs, make sure you understand the fees associated with the place you are buying from. Most auction houses will charge processing, administration and buying fees. Be aware of these and factor them into your budget.


Before you buy a car it is essential to look over it. Ask for a condition and rectification report which will highlight any exterior problems and the cost to fix.
If you can attend in person, make sure to walk around the vehicle and make notes of any scratches or dings. Test the aircon, stereo and bluetooth connection if available. Sit in the car and make sure it is comfortable for you – can you see over the steering wheel, can you adjust the seat, do you like the vehicle’s height? These are all things to think about. Lastly, turn the engine on and listen to it. You shouldn’t hear any odd noises. 

4 things to look for when buying a car

Know when to buy

Summer tends to draw in larger crowds as people look to buy and sell their car, often driving up price due to more competition.  To get the best deal, hold off until winter as this is when cars are often the cheapest.

Do your research

Apart from the obvious research into body types, safety and brands, think about where and who you are buying from. There are a number of choices; from a dealer, private sale or an auction house. Typically, cars at auction houses present the best value for money and often sell for thousands less than market-value. This is a great way to nab a fantastic car without denting your wallet.

If you’re unsure of auctions and prefer to buy at a fixed price, make sure to research the vehicle’s history. Look for complete service histories, condition reports, rectification reports and who the previous owners were. Ex-government and fleet cars tend to be in the best condition and come with complete service histories.

Another factor to consider is price. There are a range of tools online such as Prices People Pay that give you an indication of prices. Use this to inform your budget.
Now you know what to do, start your search!

29 Aug