What to look for when buying your next car

Buying a new car can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. For many of us, we dream about that new car that we’ve wanted ever since we were a kid.

Others just want to be able to sit in a brand new car and enjoy that fresh new car smell.

However, for many of us, we don’t know exactly what to look for when buying a new car.

Unless you’ve got your dream car all sorted out, then there are a few considerations that you’ll need to look for when buying your next car.

Here are a few things to think about before making that big purchase.

Do your research

Before making any significant purchase, it’s important to do your homework. When it comes to makes, models and prices there are a few places to start. If you have an idea of the car you want, there’s a lot of great information on the car maker’s websites. Go and browse through their site and get familiar with the features of the different models and what your options are.

Start looking online at potential prices in your area. Carsales.com.au and Carsguide.com.au and two of Australia’s main sites for comparing new and used cars. Take a bit of time to find out what you might expect to pay and realise that there can be a significant difference in the cost of a new or used car between cities and certainly between city and country areas.

Is it safe enough?

Depending on the car you’re looking at and your needs (family vs single male), you might very well have a big difference in the level of safety that you require.

A great place to start is to check out ANCAP – they have a guide to the level of safety of all cars in Australia.

If you want to go beyond ANCAP ratings, you can consider adding more features that will add to the safety of your car:

  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS)
  • Active Braking Systems
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Traction control
  • Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA)
  • Reversing camera
  • Active cruise control
  • Airbags
  • Seatbelt Warnings

Remember, every additional feature will add to the cost of your car, however, you might be able to negotiate to include safety features easier than you will be able to reduce the overall cost.

Fuel Efficiency and Impact on the Environment

With Australian fuel prices well over $1 per litre, it’s important to consider the impact that fuel costs have on your car.

Clearly the size and power of your car will have a direct impact on how much fuel is being used, however, your driving style and traffic conditions also have a significant impact.

Generally, the manufacturer will be able to quote an average litre per kilometre metric that you can use to gauge the likely fuel consumption and you can use that as a basis for comparison.

If you are also concerned about the environmental impact your car might be having then you can check out the Green Vehicle Guide to give you an idea of where your car will sit relative to others.

Resale Value

If a car is built in 2016 and the compliance plates say it is registered for sale in 2017 – that car is a 2016 model.

Realise that subtle differences can have an impact on your resale value. In much the same way there is a cycle with new models. As new vehicles are released, newer cars generally have more features and this impacts the future value of your car.

To get a good idea of the potential resale value of your car browse Redbook, which lists virtually all makes and models and their respective fair value. It’s a good idea to know what you’re getting yourself into before buying a new car.


If you’re buying a new car you’ll receive a new car warranty. Even a secondhand car purchased through a dealer will have a mandatory three-month warranty. Some dealers also include roadside assistance and deals on servicing – so take that into consideration.


The cost of insuring your new car can often be quite significant. In NSW alone, you can expect to pay upward of $2000 for a comprehensive family policy. That kind of price can add a considerable amount to the overall cost of your new car.

The most important thing to do to reduce this cost is to look around yourself and not buy insurance directly from the dealer. The dealer might include free roadside assistance or servicing, but you’ll find that your premiums will be far higher than what you will be able to find if you shop around yourself.

Before making your purchase, do your homework and compare policies so you are able to get a clear picture of what the impact of insurance is likely to be.

You’ll be able to save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run if you take a few minutes to compare the market yourself and don’t wait until you’re sitting in the dealer’s office.


Car Insurance Insider

Works behind the scenes to ensure Australian drivers are aware of car insurance offers and revealing those secrets to cheaper car insurance.

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