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Never buy a car before doing these five things

The Suzuki Vitara in motion

Buying a car is a big purchase and yet so many people rush into it without any research or precautions.

Don’t risk it – do these five things at least before you buy your next car.

1. Compare prices

It’s easy to get carried away by a discounted price or a powerful engine and not consider everything you need to get the most out of your ute.

Car prices aren’t the same at every dealer, particularly for used vehicles.It’s worth taking the time to check the price of what you want to buy from three or more different sources.

Your local dealers are a great place to start, as well as online portals like Trade Me Motors, Driven and Autotrader. While you’re checking prices, you should also research and compare extras like warranties, trade-in deals and after-purchase service.

2. Research online

Don’t just take the seller’s word for it. Do your own research about the car online to make sure it’s the right vehicle for you. Look into your car’s make and model, specifications, common problems, reviews and servicing costs.

Next, look up ratings and reviews for the dealership you’re buying from and pay close attention to what past customers have to say.

The sun rising on the Holden Arcadia

3. Test drive

You won’t know what a car’s really like until you drive it. Once you’ve found the right car (or created a shortlist), take it out for a spin and pay close attention to how it drives.

Does it have enough space? Do you like the way the car looks? Is it comfortable and easy to drive? Does it tick all of your boxes?

As well as deciding if the car’s right for you, you should watch out for rattles, squeals and grinding sounds that could indicate something is wrong with the car. Make sure the accelerator and brakes are responsive and that the gears are smooth.

4. Check the car’s history

Used cars are mysteries. If you don’t check, there’s no way of know who owned it before you or if it’s stolen, has money owing or was poorly maintained.

There are countless online checks you can do to to quickly learn everything you need to know including:

  • Outstanding road user charges or fines.
  • Whether the vehicle is stolen.
  • If the seller is the registered owner.

If you’re buying a used car, it’s also worth getting a mechanic to quickly check the vehicle. Even if all the paperwork is in order, it could still be a lemon.

The Mazda 3 turning heads with it's stunning new looks

5. Learn your rights as a purchaser

Before you even start searching for a car, you should quickly brush up on your rights as a purchaser.

For example, if you buy from a dealer they must comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act. They must also give you accurate information for each used vehicle including its history, price, condition, odometer reading and money owing. This means if you buy from a dealer, you can usually skip step 4.

The Consumer Guarantees Act also provides you with an extra layer of protection, requiring that any car sold by a dealer must be:

  • Of acceptable quality.
  • Fit for purpose – either generally or to meet whatever purpose you told the dealer about before purchasing.
  • As described by the dealer.

Are you ready to begin searching for your next car? Drop in to your nearest Nicholson Auto dealership and get started the right way.

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