What you should do before buying a car

What you need to know before buying a car

It’s a big investment, so best you do your homework and ensure that you’re getting what you pay for.

Buying a car can be thrilling and terrifying at once, and with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming. Here’s what you can do to ensure that you make the best choice possible for your lifestyle and pocket.

Go for a test drive

This is the most obvious way to find out if you like the car, and if anything appears wrong with it. Also sit in the back seat to see what it’s like as a passenger, and preferably try driving on the highway and in a suburb to get a feel for both. If you have kids or an outdoor lifestyle, check that your car will fit all your gear such as prams, infant car seats, bikes and more. Ask yourself if the car ticks all your boxes when it comes to comfort, safety and drivability.

Check reviews for the make and model

Do your research and see what the car’s strengths and weaknesses are. While a car might look great on the outside, it doesn’t mean that all is well under the hood, while an average-looking car might have fantastic specs. (Click to check out our latest car reviews.)

Look at more than one option

Don’t go for the first car you like! Try other cars in the price/car type range, so that you’re able to compare, and get a good sense of what else is out there. There might be something better around the corner.

Consider what everything will cost

A car costs more than what you pay for it – you need to consider maintenance, insurance and fuel too. Consider this before buying – you might be able to afford your car, but can you afford the rest? You might want to find a cheaper car to be able to afford the insurance, or you might choose to buy a newer car with a maintenance plan so that you don’t have to fork out for repairs. Do your research, which includes seeing if you can get the car financed (and what your monthly payments will be), assessing what your fuel costs could be per month, and getting insurance quotes. You can get a free online quote for a service and/or maintenance from MotorHappy right here.

Ask an expert

Chat to someone who knows a lot about cars, or even a mechanic not affiliated to the dealership, who will generally know which cars and models regularly break, or have common faults.

Check the car’s depreciation rate

There are lots of online calculators where you can check your car’s depreciation rate. This could be useful when deciding between two similarly priced cars, as you might want to opt for the car with a lower rate of depreciation.

Ask someone who has the same car

Do you know of any owners who have the same car as the one you’re looking at? They’ll be able to honestly shed light on the vehicle’s pros and cons.

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