Buying a new car

Before you start to look around, do some research around the type of vehicle that will suit your needs.

Read motoring reviews, talk to your friends and associates, and most importantly talk to your mechanic. Your mechanic will usually be able to give you advice on which make and model is the most reliable, has reasonable maintenance costs, and whether it will maintain a reasonable re-sale value.

Do your research into pricing and performance, maintenance, and on-road costs. Those costs include the compulsory charges such as motor vehicle duty (previously called stamp duty), and dealer delivery fees. These fees and are usually added to the price unless it is advertised as ‘drive away’, or ‘includes on-road costs’. Try and negotiate a drive away deal so there are no hidden costs and you fully understand the end purchase price.

Know what you're buying

When you're starting to go into dealerships to take a closer look at vehicles in stock, don't forget to check the compliance date of the vehicle, so you understand exactly what year the vehicle you are purchasing is dated for compliance to Australian Design Rules (ADRs). Usually there is no need to check the compliance date on a vehicle specifically ordered.

Test drive before you buy

Always endeavour to test drive the same spec vehicle you are buying. Compare like for like, if you are interested in a diesel for instance, make sure you can drive a diesel, not a petrol version. If the dealer cannot offer you a test drive in a similar spec vehicle to the one you want to purchase, go to another dealer, rather than ending up with a vehicle that doesn't match your requirements.

Picking up your new car

Always try and collect your new pride and joy in daylight, so that you can easily check over the vehicle for any defects or blemishes that are sometimes evident in a new vehicle. You usually have until the first service to have any paintwork or body defects attended to under warranty without too much trouble.

Warranties

Your new vehicle will usually come with a minimum of 12 month's warranty, also known as statutory warranty, meaning that generally any fault that may occur will be repaired at no cost to you. Most new car manufacturers offer extended warranties, which can sometimes be dependent on specific service requirements. Make sure the dealer clearly explains to you any terms and conditions that may apply.

Consumer Affairs

Visit the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website for more detailed information and advice on purchasing a new or used vehicle.