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Car-buying Tips for Uni Students

Jun 4, 2020 | Insights

How to get the best value for your money when buying a car and some tips when it comes to buying a used car.

The freedom that comes with owning your own car is one many uni students yearn for; no more waiting around for a lift, or the bus or paying for a taxi or Uber. Most uni-going students are at the age when they have just passed their driving test, and many will be looking to own their first car. When you have your own car, the possibilities are endless. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to buy a car first and doing your due diligence to pick one that best suits your needs and budget is key.

Cost of the vehicle

One major factor in deciding which car to get is the cost. You can buy a brand-new car for around $15,000 (certain makes and models) or there are many used cars for sale ranging from $2000 to $15,000. It also helps to jump on sites like carsales.com.au to compare prices and listings when shopping for a used car to make sure you will be paying fair value for the car you are considering.

“Cars in the $12,000-15,000 mark can range from all different shapes and sizes, whether it be a late model small hatchback-style vehicle, an older SUV or even a dual cab with a few kilometres on it,” says Reece Williams of Parry NQ.

“For example, you can buy a brand-new small hatchback for around the $15-17,000 mark or you can buy a five-year-old car for the same money. It just depends on what you’re looking for.”

Dealerships will often charge more than a private seller for the same vehicle, but you might be able to negotiate for more add-ons or a better deal on your finance.

“At our dealership, we offer different types of after-sales service such as accessory fitment, vehicle servicing, window tinting and paint and interior protection,” says Reece.

Buying new or used

A brand-new car comes with the peace of mind that if the car breaks down (through no fault of your own) then it will likely be covered under the new car warranty. However, if you are buying a used car, you will need to do a little bit of homework. Important things to consider are the year of the car and how many kilometres it has done. Ideally you want a car that’s fairly new and hasn’t done too many kilometres. If you can’t find something like that then you’ll have to consider the trade-off between age and mileage.

“The average kilometres per year for vehicles in Australia is roughly 13,000 to 14,000 kilometres each car,” says Reece.

“That’s nationally, in Townsville the average is more like 15,000 to 17,000 kilometres.”

An average person will drive between 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres a year so use that as a gauge when considering a used vehicle.

What to consider when buying from a private seller

When buying a used car from a private seller always make sure it has a roadworthy certificate so you can register it in your name and drive it immediately. If the car you fancy doesn’t come with a roadworthy certificate you can always use a mobile roadworthy service (either at yours or the seller’s expense) to inspect the car before buying. This way, you can negotiate the cost of any repairs with the seller. Some sellers value their car at more than its sales value but remember you should be paying what YOU value it at.

Buying a car, whether it’s your first or your third, is always an exciting time. The shopping, test-driving, negotiating and finally buying it and driving it off as your own is a process that some people consider as valuable as the car itself. Take your time, do your homework and you will drive away with a sound investment that will last you years.

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Makala Elliott

Makala is the Marketing Manager at Finance One. She has worked in the Finance and Lending industry for over 10 years, gathering a wealth of experience. She is passionate about helping Australians get back on track with their finances by passing on her knowledge.

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