As anyone who has ever owned a car can attest, cars are expensive, not only in upfront purchasing costs but in running and maintenance costs as well. But, for most of us, owning a car is a necessary ‘luxury’. We need a vehicle to get us to, from and through our lives. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some handy hints to help you save not only on the purchase price of your next vehicle but on the running costs as well!
Buying Your Next Car
Change Your Mindset
Your car is a depreciating asset, so think about purchasing a sustainable vehicle that will help get you from A to B safely and comfortably. Check out ANCAP safety ratings to guide you through your purchases. While pimping out your car is nice, if you want to save money it’s probably not a good idea.
Do Your Research
Research your car options carefully and extensively – knowledge is leverage. The more you know about what you want and need, the less likely you are to be bamboozled by car salesmen. Try our handy tips on Choosing the Right Car for Your Lifestyle. Make sure you research maintenance costs on the car you are considering; some cars (like European and other luxury makes) are more expensive to repair and maintain, which will cost you more over the life the of the vehicle.
Perfect Your Timing
Understand the market. Are cars flying off the lot or are sales slumped? Slower sales may mean you have more negotiating power. Sales staff work to targets, which loom at the end of each month. As target deadlines approach, sales staff are often more willing to sharpen their pencils as sales volume is often as important as sales value. Pay attention to the time of year too; heavy discounts may be available at the end of financial year and the end of calendar year.
Chances are that the car you want is sold by several different dealerships. Compare their prices and get online to compare prices nationally. This will give you a good idea of average prices in your area and neighbouring states.
Consider Second Hand/Used Vehicles
As discussed earlier, cars depreciate in value aggressively after purchase; you may find the best deal for you on a used vehicle. Ex-fleet and ex-dealer vehicles usually have strong maintenance histories and sometimes low kilometres but don’t discount private sales. People’s circumstances change – they start a family, they move, they retire and their vehicle no longer suits their needs. If you are buying privately, make sure you check ownership histories, maintenance log books and investigate whether the vehicle has been involved in any accidents.
Looking After Your Car
Not only is a minimum level of insurance mandatory in Australia, but car insurance can protect your hip pocket if you’re involved in car-related incident or accident. Imagine forking out thousands of dollars for car and other property repairs from your savings. Shop around and compare the policies that best suit your needs and budget.
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your car safe and roadworthy for many years to come. Take your car to a certified mechanic for all major/manufacturer indicated checkups however, there are some small things you can do yourself to keep your car in pristine condition like vacuum and wash it regularly, clean out the air filter, check the oil, top up the windshield wiper fluid and check the tyre pressure.
Fuel is the most expensive ongoing cost for using your new vehicle so be fuel efficient. How to do this when fuel is so high? We’ve put together a whole post on Tricks of the Trade for a Fuel Efficient Lifestyle, which outlines helpful tips such as choosing the right fuel for your car, reduce driving aggressively, and reduce excess weight in your car- check it out!
Parking can be expensive. Compare car parks and see who offers the better prices. You may need to park a bit further away from your destination but everyone can use a little extra exercise! If parking is a significant expense where you live, consider taking public transport and leaving your car at home a few days a week.
With a little bit of effort, research and knowledge, you’ll be able to save when purchasing and running your new car. Happy driving!