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Buying a new car - some hints and tips

Your car is an essential part of your daily life, and it is likely to be one of the major purchases you make in your life. It’s important to ensure that when you buy a new car, you’ve done your research and considered your options, so you can be sure you get the right car, with the right accessories, for your needs.

The more you know the better you buy

Buying a new car can be an enjoyable and interesting experience – it all depends on how you go about it. For most people, their car is second only to their house as a major purchase in their life, so it’s worth putting in a few hours of time to acquire the knowledge you need to make the right decision.

The first task is to figure out what you want from your new car. Define your needs before you start looking at the various models on offer, so you can cut down the number of vehicles that will need in-depth analysis. Will this be the only car in the family? Will it have to hold half a netball team on Saturday mornings? Does it need to travel off-road for the annual holiday? Which is more important - fuel economy or carrying capacity?

What you eventually come up with will be a vehicle that is a combination of features. It could be a seven-seater 4WD that can travel off-road and tow a boat; or it could be a two-seater minivan that costs next to nothing to run and is useful for carrying pot plants home from the nursery.

It’s important to be realistic at this stage in the process. Some feature combinations, such as a seven-seater that runs on the smell of an oily rag, just aren't available. But do be as thorough and detailed as you can.

At this stage, work out how much you can afford to pay. There's no point looking at a Rolls-Royce if your budget can best accommodate a vehicle costing $20,000 all-up. Try your bank, building society or credit union for finance, but don't forget to give the dealer a chance to come up with the best terms when you eventually visit them. You could be in for a pleasant surprise!

Start the search

Now that you know what you’re looking for, start the search - at your local newsagent. There are monthly motoring magazines as well as specialised compilations of road tests and listings of all models currently on the market. You’ll also find motoring reports in your daily and most local newspapers. Some categories, such as 4-wheel drives, even have their own monthly magazines and road test pictorials. All these publications are invaluable sources of information from motoring experts who conduct vehicle tests for a living. You'll also get an idea of prices, although these can vary widely depending upon a number of factors.

The aim of this part of the buying procedure is to prepare a shortlist of models to check out in greater detail at the dealership. Armed with road test information and an idea of what models are in your price range, you can ask the right questions to ensure the car you end up with is the car for you.

Head to the dealership

Once you’ve compiled your shortlist of vehicles to try out, it's off to the dealers who carry them. The test drive is where you get the "feel" of a car. Give it a good tryout, over as many types of road as you can, paying careful attention to how comfortable you are in the driving position and how the vehicle's handling matches your driving ability. Test drive every model on your short list and ask the salespeople any questions you can think of, being sure to cover the features that are important to you and those that may affect the price of the vehicle. It may be useful to prepare a list of questions to ask the dealer ahead of time, to be sure you don’t forget anything.

Work out the price for each vehicle with the accessories you want, and if you have a trade-in get a valuation on it from each dealer.

Before you leave the showroom pick up a copy of the maker's literature about the vehicle you're interested in. The more you know the better equipped you'll be to make the right final decision.

Choose your new car and get the best price

Once you’ve been to each dealership and test driven every vehicle on your shortlist, head home and think about everything you've learned. Eventually you'll come to a conclusion about which vehicle is right for you. The next step is to get the best price. It's always a good idea to approach two or three dealers for their best offer. Your product knowledge will make it easier for them to come up with a package that meets your needs. You've already got one dealer's figure, although it never hurts to go back to that dealership when you've tried one or two others.

Let them know you've done your homework and are at the stage where you're down to dollars and cents. This will save time for everybody, and it's quite alright to ask for the figure in writing. Remember that what you want to know is the absolute, final price of the car after allowing for your trade-in and including ancillary costs such as registration, stamp duty, and dealer charges.

At the end of this process you'll finish up with the make and model that's exactly what you want and need, and at a price you can afford. You'll also have learned a lot and can take satisfaction in knowing that you've made the right decision.

Get it Inspected

An MTA (Independent) Vehicle Inspection will help protect both you and your passengers. MTA Vehicle Inspections are truly unbiased vehicle inspection specialist.

Our skilled technicians will thoroughly inspect a vehicle you wish to purchase and provide you with an easy to read report (with photos).MTA Vehicle Inspections is a mobile service, yes, we come to you (restrictions apply).Inspections can be carried out prior to purchase at a Motor dealer or if buying privately at home/work.

Most importantly, we do not own, operate or have any affiliation with a service workshop or repair centre. You can be confident that an MTA Vehicle Inspections report will only point out genuine defects that really do require attention.

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Deal with a licensed MTA dealer

Finally, always deal with a licensed MTA dealer. It's the best way to ensure that you'll enjoy the experience of buying a new car.

Deal with Someone You Can Trust

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