Tips for buying a new car

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

It is important to consider all your options before purchasing a new vehicle. Below are some simple tips to make the process of buying a car less stressful.

Do your homework

  • Do as much research as you can, look at consumer guides and new car guides
  • Consider whether a new or used car suits you
  • Look into the type of car, there’s no point buying an expensive 4WD if you don’t take it off road or buying a micro car as a family vehicle
  • Think about your finance and budget
  • Take the vehicle you are considering for a test drive
  • Information about particular car models and test drive results are available

New or used

  • New cars are less likely to present complications and can offer peace of mind
  • New cars usually have improved fuel efficiency but face immediate depreciation
  • A used car can be more affordable
  • A well maintained used car with regular service history can be a good buy
  • Private sales can be risky, be extra vigilant with your car history checks
  • If you’re buying second-hand, RACV members can save on CarHistory reports on used vehicles. See
  • Consider having a used car inspected by RACV’s independent vehicle inspection service

Finance and Fees

  • Consider all the fees and charges you may have to pay
  • A dealer can help you with finance, but there could be better deals through another lender, see an independent financial advisor to help you work out what is affordable
  • Fees and charges to consider include registration fees, TAC charges, number plate costs, government motor vehicle duty, dealer delivery charges, a registration transfer fee (for used cars) and luxury car tax
  • Make sure you understand a contract before you sign it
  • Consider taking out at least third party insurance
  • Call RACV Finance on 13 15 60 for an obligation-free comparison

Quick and easy to apply for and if you're not happy within 21 days you can cancel your car loan with out best deal guarantee^^


  • Safety is often overlooked, particularly when buying an older vehicle
  • There are 5 star ANCAP safety rated cars available for every taste and budget
  • The ANCAP rating will give you valuable information about the safety of new cars
  • If you plan to fit a child restraint to your car, you may wish to contact the RACV for information about suitable vehicles

Running costs

  • View RACV’s operating costs guide to compare the costs of different vehicles
  • Insurance is typically cheaper for common models, as is servicing, tyres and spare parts
  • Take into consideration the fuel efficiency of the car
  • Also think about regular servicing costs


  • People can go through many cars in their lifetime, so it’s important that when you go to trade in your old vehicle for a new one that you maintain the highest value possible
  • Keep up with regular servicing and use your vehicle logbook
  • Luxury and top of the range cars lose the most value
  • Consider neutral colored cars over bright ones, as it will be easier to resell

Call RACV for more information