Buying a car

Purchasing a new car

13 December 2020

The moment in which you buy a new car is exciting, but it can also be daunting. After all, it’s probably one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. But, given you’ve put in the work to research different options and settle on the right car for you, the hard part is already done. So breathe a sigh of relief, strut confidently into your dealership and follow these steps to taking home your brand-new car.

We recently interviewed a specialist car salesman to bring you these top tips for purchasing a new car.

Sign on the dotted line

Once you’ve decided on what car to buy, your car dealer should take a few moments to make sure you’re certain about your decision. Cooling off periods differ from state to state, but you don’t have much time to change your mind. So, it’s important to be sure about it when you sign the contract.

Your dealer will present you with the contract to sign. This is the exciting part! Signing this document means that you’re one step closer to owning a new car. Before you go ahead and sign, though, be sure to read the contract thoroughly.

When signing the contract, make sure you carefully double check that all of the details are correct and that there are no mistakes. Read over it and check that the colour is correct, the car model is correct, and that it lists all the accessories you’re expecting.

The contract should also outline the total cost and any finance details.

Organise your finance

There are several ways you can pay for your new car, and you should carefully weigh up your options.

Finance is such a big part of the car buying process. There’s lots of due diligence you need to go through to consider what’s a viable option for you.

Depending on your financial situation, you could choose to:

  • pay upfront with cash/savings,
  • get a novated lease through your employer, or
  • organise a car loan or dealer financing.

Think carefully about your payment options, and seek your own independent financial advice before agreeing to a loan or lease. Some customers choose to obtain pre-approval for finance before purchasing a car, which can give a level of comfort.

Pay the deposit

Once your contract is signed, your dealer will get you to pay the deposit amount upfront. This may only be a few hundred dollars, or a percentage of the car’s value.

Pick up the car & pay the final balance

Some cars might be ready to collect the next day, and others might not be ready for a month. Ask your dealer about this in advance so you’re not disappointed. You also need to hand over the remaining balance before you can leave with the vehicle. Don’t get so excited that you just jump in and drive away! This part sounds obvious, but having the bank cheque ready or the money transferred on time without a last-minute panic involves some planning.

Picking up your car may sound easy enough, but you should leave a bit of time for this part of the process. Allow between an hour and two hours to pick up your car. It’s not a matter of just driving away anymore, as many cars come with technology and functions that your dealer will need to teach you. To get the most out of the purchase process, you have to spend some time getting to know the vehicle and getting your dealer to show you how it works. Your dealer can also show you handy apps to set up on your phone that can help you keep track of things like your tyre pressure.

Drive your new car home

This part is pretty straightforward.

Sort out your insurance

Once you’ve chosen a car, and paid for it, the final step is to organise your insurance before driving it home. If you’re trading in your old car, you’ll need to update the vehicle details with your insurance company so you can transfer your Comprehensive Car Insurance over. In some cases, your insurer may require you to set up a new policy instead of transferring it. Keep in mind, your insurance premium is likely to change with the new car. 

If you have purchased a new or used car from a dealership, the dealer will usually organise the registration and CTP insurance for you. It is important you know Queensland, New South Wales and ACT drivers have the right to choose their preferred CTP provider.

While purchasing a car is a big decision embrace the process by being prepared and staying confident. You don’t need to fear the purchase process, and you don’t need to fear the car dealer! They’re not there to push you into buying something you don’t want. They’re there to show you your options and give you a great experience. A salesperson should provide good service, answer all your questions and show a genuine interest in you. If you’re not feeling comfortable, try a different dealer.


The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.