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How do I Buy a Car?


Buying a car in a new country can appear daunting at first, but all it takes is a bit of research. First up, think about the kind of car you’re after and decide whether to buy new or used.

Then you’ll need to register the vehicle and get it insured, and of course educate yourself on Australian road rules, which vary state to state.

Think about the make and the model of the car you’d like. A small car is ideal for getting around and parking in the city. Are you planning on driving off-road? Does wheel size matter to you? It’s a good idea to compare market prices and options by looking through car ads online; a good point of reference is Car Sales.

Buying New

The great thing about buying a new car is that you know exactly what you’re getting; a brand new car with no mileage or wear, plus all new cars will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Check the market price of the make and model you’re after before visiting car dealers and always compare quotes to get the best deal possible. Be wary of any add-ons when the deal is being finalised and be sure to check the conditions of the warranty. And of course, with both new and used cars, it’s always a good idea to take the car for a test drive first.

Buying Used

The best thing about buying a used car is that it is by far the cheapest option. That said when buying a used car; there are lots of things to consider and take caution with, perhaps the most important of these are the age and mileage of the car. Ask the seller about the history of the car and its prior use. If you’re buying from a private seller, then check the vehicle identification number (VIN) first, to make sure the car has not been stolen or damaged. You can do that for a fee at Car History or through the Australian Government.

The benefit of buying from a licensed dealer is the guarantee of an honest odometer reading, roadworthy certificate and generally the inclusion of a three-month statutory warranty, though the length may vary state to state. However, buying privately could land you an even better bargain. Just make sure you get a receipt for any payment, showing the seller’s details in full.

Be aware that you can also haggle on the price of used cars, start by lowering the price 10-15% and see where that leads you.

Getting Started

Once you’ve got the car sorted you’ll need to get it registered and insured. You’ll need to register the car within 14 days of purchase. If you bought a new car, then you’ll need a new registration, if you bought it used then you’ll have to transfer the registration into your name. Registration requirements vary by state, but will generally require an ID, an English language or international drivers license, receipt of sale and a roadworthiness certificate.

You will also need Compulsory Third Party insurance; this will provide compensation if someone is injured when your vehicle is at fault.

Select the relevant state for government information on licenses, registration and road rules:
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA