Five things to consider before you buy a car.
Whether it's your first car or an upgrade, buying a new vehicle can be exciting – but don't rush into a decision before doing your homework.
Smarter car-buying decisions.
It can be easy to be caught up in the mood when you're looking at cars. But before you splash the cash or sign up for a loan to buy it, take your time to consider your priorities when it comes to buying a car. Here are some key things to think about before you buy:
How much can you afford to spend on a car?
Cars range in price from a few thousand dollars to millions – your budget will depend on how much you can afford and what type of car you need. If you're splashing the cash on a car, an impulse purchase can leave you with years of regret, so take your time thinking about how much you can comfortably afford to spend and what vehicle will meet your needs before thinking about all the wants. You can choose to buy a car using your savings, combine your savings with a car loan, or take out a car loan for the whole cost of the vehicle.
How safe is the car?
Safety is an important factor; a cheap older car could be a poor choice if it does not provide much protection in an accident. Safety ratings let you know how well a car performs in a crash. The more stars a vehicle has for safety, the better protected you'll be on the road.
New or used?
Should you buy a brand new car or a used one? Brand new cars come with some definite advantages beyond just the new car smell:
- You're the first owner, so you know the car's history
- They may have the latest safety and technological features, including better fuel efficiency
- The cars usually come with warranties and in some cases free servicing, which can cut down your ongoing costs and protect you from faults.
Of course, second-hand cars also have their upsides:
- The price of a used car is less than buying new and there's a car for every budget
- The biggest drop in a car's value is during its first few years, so second-hand cars don't depreciate nearly as quickly as new ones
- They can be great value for money – you may be able to get more car for your dollars when you buy used.
How much will it cost to own?
The purchase price will likely be your largest cost, but you should also consider the ongoing costs. These include:
- Warrant of Fitness (WOF) and registration charges, plus on road user charges for diesel cars
- Insurance, ranging from third-party only to comprehensive cover
- Servicing and repairs. Older cars are more likely to have problems requiring repairs, whereas new cars under warranty may not cost you anything to fix if something goes wrong
- Fuel. This can be a major regular outgoing if you drive long distances each week. Check the fuel efficiency of the car you're thinking about buying and estimate how much it might cost you each year, then compare it to similar models. You might also like to consider an electric car or hybrid
- Tyres, which typically last around three years
- The principle and interest repayments of a car loan, if you pay for your new vehicle this way.
What's the right type of car for you?
Choosing a car that suits your lifestyle helps you maximise the value you get from the car. Do you need a sports car, a seven-seater, a ute or electric car? Manual or auto transmission? Diesel or Petrol? Think about how you'll use it, who'll be travelling in the car with you, and what's important to your needs before you start thinking about things like how much horsepower it has or how loud the speakers are.
We can help.
If you're ready to start saving up for a car, you could consider one of our savings account options.
Personal loan calculator
Considering a car loan to pay for all or part of your new car? Understand how much you could afford to borrow and how long it would take to pay off1.
Getting a Westpac car insurance quote (and buying insurance) is quick and easy2. You can do this yourself online or call us on 0800 177 277.
Things you should know.
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