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Crash-Tested Considerations: 7 Things to Keep in Mind as a First-Time Car Buyer

  • Budget
  • According to the Australian Government, young first-time car buyers will typically purchase a second-hand vehicle and it will usually be an older model. They are unaware of the range of costs involved in purchasing and maintaining a vehicle, which include a need for comprehensive car insurance, as well as loan repayments. Then, there are, of course, those costs associated with registration, maintenance and petrol. Therefore, you need to keep in mind the full costs of vehicle ownership – which go far beyond the initial purchasing price.  
    1. Valuation
    Before you race in on a new car purchase, make sure you take the time to cool your engines enough to do the necessary research. This will  allow you to gauge whether the car you are looking at is, in fact, worth the asking price. Redbook is your bible for used car valuations You can research, compare and, most importantly – get a valuation report. This is personalised to the vehicle and gives you a good picture of the car’s real value based on such indicators as kilometres travelled, condition and aftermarket/factory options.  
    1. Safety
    Safety ratings are a guide to how well a car will protect you in a crash. There are two main rating systems: the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) ratings and the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR). ANCAP is only for brand new, drive off-the-lot purchases. USCR is far more comprehensive and looks at crash test data collected over a sum of years. If you can collect some key information about a given vehicle, you can find the USCR rating via an online search or by using the buyer’s guide.  
    1. Efficiency
    Realising that some hotted-up monster of a vehicle (that might initially look cool) actually consumes half its weight in your hard-earned dollars each week can really turn you off going down this route. Consider a car that has a good fuel economy and also make sure you review the cost of servicing and parts. This research will prove useful in selecting the best option for your hip pocket, especially later down the track. In general, go for a smaller engine for better fuel economy. You can work out fuel consumption, read reviews and check out current consumer reports.  
    1. Emissions
    Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, that brand new monster of a car can have a devastating effect on the environment. A 2007 study into what impact transport is having on climate change stated that transport accounts for 26% of global CO2 emissions, with 81% of that coming from road transport alone. While this study may be a decade old, taking into consideration that the number of owned passenger cars has consistently grown across Australia since at least the mid-1950s, this is still a problem that needs to be addressed when choosing your car. Some brands are going to offer more sustainable vehicular options than others, and given that car insurance companies such as Huddle both offset your car’s carbon emissions, and also provide funding for carbon reduction projects around the world, there are a lot of options available for those that want to remain eco-friendly and offset their carbon footprint.  
    1. Reliability
    What can you do to make sure you aren’t buying a dud? Sure, a car can look and drive fine initially, but it’s when you get it home that issues can begin to arise. Firstly, any registered car that you purchase has to come with a safety certificate, as required by law. Particularly if you are buying privately, make sure you conduct a search with the Personal Property Securities Register, this will allow you to perform a background check on the car you are thinking of buying. It’s also important to collect the vehicle identification number (VIN) (a 17 digit number on the driver’s interior side dash) to run further historical checks. This will alert you to any previous incidents or any issues like odometer rollbacks.  Get an independent inspection for further assurance of reliability.  
    1. Signing on the dotted line
    Setting the wheels in motion on buying your first vehicle requires that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. Of course, it’s also a lot of fun. Make sure you test drive and shop around as much as possible to find the perfect car for you. Be aware of cooling off periods and warranties. Look into resources that can assist you with guiding you through all aspects of contracts and related legalities.   Driving away Your first car is, in a lot of ways, your very first taste of independence and freedom. You want this experience to be as hassle-free as possible. You want to feel confident enough to enjoy the open road (or, maybe just your very first trip driving yourself to Maccas). The point to remember is: do your research and follow guidelines to avoid driving away with a doozie.]]>

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