Tips when shopping for your next car.

Aug 1, 2022 | Reading Time: 3 minutes


Is your old car just past it? Are you in the market for something zippy, sporty, and more you? If you’re a complete newbie to car buying – don’t fret. We’ve got all the insider tips and info you need to get a great deal on your next car, from choosing your new car, shopping and financing. Read on and buy your next car with confidence!

Setting a budget

Prior to considering types and models, you should first define a budget. You need to decide upfront how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle. Additionally, consider where you’ll be in five years. For example, if you plan to establish a family, consider your car as an investment. Later financial strain may be reduced by purchasing a bigger, marginally more expensive car now such as the zippy and roomy Hyundai Kona which we reviewed here! You may also want to consider green vehicles, which are super cheap to run but have a high price tag; your state may have incentives though!

Comparing loans and getting pre-approval

We all want a bargain – and you can save way more money in the long term when you compare the best car loan rates available on the market. By approaching a car loan broker, you can access many different lenders instead of just one such as your bank. This means more competition for your business and better rates. You should also consider car loan pre-approval. This is like parking your car loan until you find the perfect car. Brokers usually give you a month or two to find your car before you pull the trigger. It also gives you a price ceiling; more on that later.

When to approach dealers – and haggle

To earn additional bonuses or keep their jobs, salespeople seek to meet their quotas. Visit a dealer at the end of the month when sales may be slowing down; they may be willing to seal transactions for the sake of volume. When negotiating, you can take advantage of this. Now that you have a price ceiling, you could nab a great price – dealers are more inclined to say “yes” than let a hot prospect walk out the door. 

If you can wait it out, “runout” sales and end-of-year sales are often the best periods to approach dealers. Be aware however that with ongoing vehicle shortages, there may be less negotiating room than two years ago. You will be served well to educate yourself about what prices the vehicle you are seeking go for, then be ready to pounce once you identify a good deal. 

Considering second-hand? Don’t get scammed

Incredible! You’ve found an unbelievable price on that Holden Cascada you’ve been eyeing off. Except the seller says you need to send them $1,000 as a deposit to ship you the car since they’re going overseas on military deployment within the next 24 hours. Sound dodgy? That’s because this is a common scam in the used car market. 

That said, you can get great deals on second-hand cars. Before you even consider a second-hand vehicle, you should get the VIN number and/or a peek at the logbook before you proceed; if the seller isn’t forthcoming, walk away. You should also be able to see and ideally test the car in a safe and secure environment. If possible, ask a knowledgeable friend or independent assessor to inspect the car if you’re not sure what defects you’re looking for.

The ACCC has more tips on spotting scams and approaching second hand vendors.

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