Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. These days, when it comes to cost, it’s second only to buying a home. Buying your very first car can often be a nerve-racking experience, and if you’re not careful, it can put you in real financial strife.

You have to be realistic when it comes to what you can afford to spend. This will help narrow your choices down to a few specific models, and it can also help you decide whether to go for new, or second hand. You also need to take into account the stamp duty and registration, as well as the ongoing costs of keeping a car on the road.

Saving the whole amount is ideal, but taking out a personal loan for part of it is also an option. Car dealers will often suggest you borrow from their finance company. Don’t do it! The Real People at Aussie Car Loans have the best connections through our broad panel of lenders to provide more choice and even pre-approved loans so you can shop with confidence.

Insurance Premiums

Insurance is another big expense and regardless of what car you choose, expect to pay a lot higher-than-average premiums simply because you are young. A cheaper option is to be added to your parent’s policy if the insurer allows, but eventually you’ll have to bite the bullet and go it alone. The good news is, after a couple of years of safe driving, your premiums should drop reasonably quickly.

Private or Dealer? New or Used?

Buying a car privately might cost less, but buying from a dealer can be a safer way to go. All licensed car dealers have to comply with applicable government regulations, and you don’t get that with a private sale. Always get an independent inspection by a qualified mechanic. Driving associations like RACV or the NRMA can take care of it. It’ll cost a little, but it’s money well spent to give you peace of mind.

Julian Cavanagh, Director of Aussie Car Loans, says “there are a few things you can do yourself to check the condition of a car. Look for any bumps or mismatched colours and whatever you do, don’t buy something that’s full of rust. Rust areas are often filled with fibreglass, so wrap a magnet in some cloth and run it over the car to make sure there’s metal under the paint. Check the suspension by pushing down on the car. When you let go, the car should move then settle in a balanced position. See that there’s plenty of tread on the tyres and no rusty water in the radiator. Hoses should be soft and spongy and it’s a good idea to park the car on a clean surface after you’ve driven it to check for any leaks”.

Another good reason to buy from a dealer is to be sure there’s no money owing on the car. By law, licensed dealers can only sell cars that are unencumbered. When buying privately the buyers should check that the car is debt-free, this can be done via the Personal Property Securities Register in force nationally from 31/1/2012. Stolen cars may be repossessed without compensation so always insist on seeing the owner’s I.D as well as the car’s certificate of registration and proof of original purchase if possible.

Aussie Car Loans can provide secured car finance for cars bought privately and will even take care of the PPSR check, VIN check and other security checks to make sure the car hasn’t been written off, stolen, or have finance against it.

How Much Should I Pay?

Used car prices vary widely, but you can usually negotiate a lower price than the seller is asking. Don’t open the bidding first – make the seller give the first price. If you think that it’s realistic, then offer something less. If the seller gets close to that price, do the deal. If not, look elsewhere. A great place to look is right here on the internet. Where you’ll find hundreds of private sellers and car dealers with a wide variety of used vehicles and boats.

If you’re buying privately and the seller asks for a deposit, there is no set amount, so leave as little as possible. Make sure you get your deposit back if the car fails the inspection.

If you’re buying a new car and you don’t have to have the latest model, then “end of year run-out sales” can save you heaps.

The last week of the month is usually a good time to buy – Dealers and sales teams will be keen to meet the monthly sales target. And did you know Monday might just be the best day to buy a car? The dealer could be feeling either generous or desperate, depending on how his weekend went!

Before buying a new car, contact Aussie Car Loans for huge savings. We have special pre-arranged discounts for most new cars.