1. Determine your budget
Consider your budget and determine what type of car you can afford. This is a great time to think about taking out finance, or to factor in extra costs like insurance, registration and servicing. Decide whether you need a loan, or whether you can dip into your savings account.
2. Shortlist your selection
3. Inspect and test drive the car
Once you’ve made it to the dealership, the sale yard or the private seller’s garage, you should ask the seller a few questions about the car. Ask things like whether it’s had any accidents and why the owner is selling the vehicle. Assess its condition, and open the doors and boot to check for damage.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time for a test drive! Listen for troubling noises, such as rattling, clicking or whining. Notice how the brakes feel (grinding or screeching noises can indicate worn brake pads and rotors) and test its turning circle (a 90-degree turn should feel effortless and smooth).
4. Make the deal
Dealmaking doesn’t come naturally for everyone. But with a bit of practice, anyone can negotiate a fair price. Before you begin, make sure you have a good idea of how much this vehicle sells for across both dealership and private sales. Consider whether you’re getting the right price relative to the car’s worth.
5. Go through the fine print
Once you’ve made the deal, you’ll probably be jumping for joy. But before you pop the champagne, you’ll need to complete all the vehicle transfer paperwork and, of course, make the payment. Don’t forget to transfer any tags and permits.
Remember, you’re not alone. The road to car ownership can be bumpy, so Suncorp Bank has developed an online Used Car Buying Checklist to steer you in the right direction.