3.9.2 Buying a Car

You may find the cost of cars in Australia to differ from your country of origin due to changing import tariffs over recent years. Websites like www.carsales.com.au and www.carsguide.com.au are great online sites for new and used car dealers and also provide a great and easy tool for researching the cars market in Australia.

Be aware of additional costs to the purchase price when researching about what car to buy, such as servicing and insurance costs, Goods and Services Tax (GST), luxury car tax (if applicable), stamp duty and vehicle registration fees. Servicing costs can differ quite variably between makes, with some offering capped price servicing for brand new cars. If the price quoted is “drive away”, it means that it includes stamp duty and vehicle registration fees.

Buying a new car

New cars are generally covered by a minimum statutory new car warranty which usually covers repair or replacement for everything except items that normally wear out, such as tyres, batteries, oil and other lubricants, brake pads, and items replaced at a scheduled service.

The price quoted by a car dealer or salesperson is usually negotiable. Don’t hesitate to start by offering a low (yet reasonable) price to work with. A rule of thumb is to offer around 15-25% of their asking price.
You can get better discounts or extra incentives towards the end of month or end of financial year as dealers race to hit sales targets.

Once your offer is accepted and signed, it becomes legally binding and you are obligated to take delivery of the vehicle and pay the price agreed. If you are financing the car, it would be a good idea to place a “subject to financing approval” condition on the sale contract.

Buying a used car

If you decide to buy a used car, be sure to do so only over well established and reputable car sales websites. www.carsales.com.au is the largest car sales website in Australia. Beware of doing car transactions from sites like eBay or Gumtree as cars bought privately are not covered by warranty and the seller has no obligation to rectify any issues.

It is important to ask the right questions when buying a used car, such as why the seller is selling, what the car’s full service history looks like, how many owners it has had, what it was used for, how many kilometres it has clocked, and whether it has been involved in an accident. Also be sure to take the car for a test drive before you commit to anything.

For peace of mind, you can pay a nominal fee to get a Car History Report of the car you intend to purchase. You will need to get the car’s VIN number from the seller in order to order the report. There are plenty of companies that provide this service, and some of them are:

  • www.carhistory.com.au
  • www.revscheck.com.au
  • www.carfacts.com.au
  • www.veda.com.au
  • www.checkvin.com.au