Seven car buying mistakes » Car Money

Seven car buying mistakes

Thinking about purchasing a car and need to be sure it's not a ‘lemon’? If you’re on the hunt for your next vehicle, there are certain common car-buying mistakes to avoid.

So slow down, breathe in, and take this guide as a refueling stop. It will help you understand what you need, and how to get behind the wheel of a reliable car at a price that you can afford.

1 Not doing your homework

Doing your research upfront is a good way to start. It may seem time-consuming, but it will actually save you time in the long run – and potentially money, too.

As always, the Internet is a great source of information. In just a few clicks, you can compare similar vehicles, prices and features, and find the best-rated car dealers in your area. You may even find an interesting deal or two. This wealth of information will come in handy, before you set foot in a car yard.

2 Not listening to your needs

Think about what you want and need from a car. More seats for your family? Something that’s easy to park and doesn’t use too much petrol? How about a four-wheel-drive to go off-road?

Once you’ve identified your wants and – most importantly – your day-to-day needs, you’ll be on the right path to finding a good match rather than falling for an impulse-buy, or adding extra features that you’re never going to use.

3 Judging on price alone

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Buy too cheap, buy twice?’

Setting a budget is obviously important, but keep in mind that sometimes it’s worth spending a little more to get a better deal. Focusing on the price tag alone may drag your attention from a car that actually gives you good value-for-money.

4 Not knowing the actual cost

The purchase price is not the only thing that matters. Do you know how much it would cost you to keep that car on the road?

Besides all periodic WoF inspections and regular car servicing, it’s crucial to be prepared for unexpected repairs and replacement bills. Also, you may want to consider taking out insurance for your vehicle – at least third-party insurance. Bear in mind that accidents can happen at any time, no matter how experienced the driver is.

5 Ignoring advice

You don’t need to go ‘solo’ (unless you want to, of course). You can take advice from a trusted source – for example, reviews from credible automotive journalists or someone you personally know who has a long experience with the car industry.

Another source is customer reviews, as long as you take them with a grain of salt: everyone is different, so make a point of reading a number of different reviews before drawing any conclusions.

Lastly, don’t forget that your friends and family may also help, especially if they have mechanical knowledge. So bring someone along when you go looking at vehicles: they may know or notice something that you don’t.

6 Buying a ‘pig in a poke’

One of the biggest mistakes that car buyers can make is skimping on a thorough test drive.

Financially speaking, buying a vehicle is a significant commitment, so try to spend as long as you need behind the wheel. Test your vehicle in different conditions including motorways and steep roads. The last thing you want is to find out that your newly-purchased vehicle makes strange noises above 80 km/h.

For additional peace of mind, why not undertake a pre-purchase mechanical inspection?

7 Not shopping around for finance

To save yourself time and money, taking the time to explore your car loan options is key. How much do you qualify for? What interest rate can you get on your own?

You may want to get a loan pre-approved in the early stages of your car-buying adventure. This way, you will be in a better position to purchase the vehicle you need at a price you already know you can manage.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure the content is correct, the information provided is subject to continuous change. Please use your discretion and seek independent guidance before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.


*Fixed interest rates for vehicle and personal loans range from 9.95% p.a. to a maximum of 29.95% p.a. on a minimum 12 month to a maximum 60-month loan term. The actual interest rate charged to you will depend on your circumstances, the type of lending required, the security provided, and is determined by the lender. 

Fees apply, including an establishment fee of up to $450 and an introducer fee of up to $995. Also, lenders may charge a PPSR fee of between $0 and $14. For example: On a loan of $5,000 over 12 months at 10.95% p.a. with Establishment and Introducer fees totalling $495 and a PPSR Fee of $7.39, the total amount to repay is $5,835.93 which is 12 monthly payments of $486.34. Those amounts don’t include ongoing fees, such as Service Fees, charged by the lender. You can find full fee information in the loan contract. We recommend that you check the fees before accepting the loan offer.

Approval is subject to meeting lending criteria, and affordability test applies. Our lender will independently assess whether you are eligible for a loan.

One hour application decision subject to affordability test, the applicant meeting the lending criteria and supplying all the required information to process the loan application.

Same day payout subject to the applicant meeting the above conditions and completing loan documentation by 12pm.