The idea of buying a new car is a romantic one. The polished look, the fresh car smell, that feeling you get when you’re humming down the freeway, maybe even drawing some envious looks.
But this is reality we’re talking about.
And in reality, when it comes to the goodbyes and farewells of the thousands of hard-earned dollars, the romanticism is somehow lost in a moment of dull pain and panic: is this really the right car for me? Don’t lose hope, or worse, put it off. Because here’s how to buy a used car with confidence.
A question of values
Choosing the right used car depends on what you value. And everyone has different values. If you’re a risk-taker, you might be more likely to prioritise looks over safety or speed over comfort. When you’re buying a used car, you might go for the character of the car despite its shockingly non-existent service records – because you love the way the car makes you feel.
And that’s the sticking point…
The feeling you get from a car – is exactly what motivates you as you reach for your wallet with a slight smile. The question is when should we trust those feelings.
Don’t think too much about the price… No seriously, just stick to your budget.
In the end, the final price doesn’t really matter. You’re going to go with a car you feel good in. There’s your budget, and then there’s your idea of what you want, and when those two meet in the middle…Bingo. You’ve found your car. At the end of the day, you’re going to want to tick off a few basic needs, like good handling, enough space, and maybe good fuel economy. But beyond that? Let’s get into what you actually WANT from a car.
Wants vs needs
Knowing how to buy a used car with confidence relies on having all your wants and needs met. Most used cars come with a few issues in the mix, like a faulty stereo or a torn seat cover, unless you’re lucky, there’s usually something to contend with as the new owner. With that in mind, here’s how you can approach your initial search for a used car:
Tick off your basic needs
For many, these look similar – a functioning car that will take you from a to b. A good safety record, and enough room per your needs. If you’re planning on going up north, getting a 4 wheel drive or at least an AWD will obviously make your life easier on remote tracks. But if you’re in need of something to drop your 4 children off at school every day, you might want to consider opting for something larger and more safety orientated
Always find a few things you really want
Finding out what you need is the first step. And this matters more than you think. Part of buying a used car is you’re in charge of a larger budget with more purchasing power than if you were buying a brand new car. This gives you more scope when it comes to choosing extra features like adaptive cruise control, or even going for a sportier badge. Always remember, you’re not buying a new car, so stepping outside the box a bit won’t harm you.
How to make sure your used car isn’t a dud
One of the major mistakes people make in buying a used car is falling into the dodgy seller trap. It’s important to remember that a lot of used cars on the private market are being sold because there’s something wrong with them. While those issues can sometimes easily be fixed with a bit of extra cash or time spent sweltering under the bonnet, it helps when the person selling the car knows exactly what they’re talking about. Here are some tips on how to buy a used car with confidence:
- Go to a dealership. The sales staff are friendly and know what they’re talking about. They’re authorised to sell cars that meet certain standards and can give you a detailed and honest picture of what’s wrong and what needs an update.
- Sit down with the service records and have a detailed look. A car’s history can be unveiled by a look into its service records – and you may not like what you see. Be sure to look for any long gaps between services and always ask questions.
- Get it checked over by a qualified mechanic. You can get this done at a dealership and they can give you an honest and unbiased opinion based on all the information.
- Take the car for a test drive. Don’t buy it if you haven’t. It’s a good idea to test the brakes and handling by playing with the pedals – just don’t go overboard.
- Go online, look at reviews of the exact model and year. Sometimes cars get produced and they end up with a range of issues that no manufacturer could have foreseen. Chances are there’s some information about the model you’re looking at – just remember to take second-hand advice with a grain of salt.
Still unsure about your choice? Check out our used car buying guide and find out how to buy a used car without any hassle.
Benefits of a local dealership
Aside from receiving quality service and access to a range of used cars that meet not just the bare minimum safety and roadworthiness standards, you’ll also have access to some nifty insurance and warranties that wouldn’t come with a private sale. While you’re there, ask about demo models you could test drive – if you’re after that new car feel but don’t want the crippling sales tax and inevitable depreciation that come with a new car you could snag a deal on a car that has everything you need and want.
Get in touch with our team at the dealership today and drop down for a test drive. We’re waiting to help you find your ideal used car.