I have always liked cars, I mean in the same way that I have always liked the internet or colour television. I appreciated their existence and used them every day but I had no idea how it all worked. So buying a car is a somewhat daunting experience for me, I wouldn’t be able to tell a spark plug from a… okay I genuinely couldn’t think of another part of a car engine to finish this analogy so I believe my point is made. Actually to double down on my own lack of mechanical knowledge I have an anecdote to share with you all. I was driving my car and a warning came up on the little screen stating that I needed to add 1 litre of oil to the engine. This was fine as I knew how to pour oil from a bottle so happy days but I wanted to check the oil level myself. I decided to do this at a family get together at my wife’s sister’s house, after about 10 minutes of searching for a dipstick I gave up and tail between my legs went inside to ask help from my sister in laws partner (a diesel mechanic) if he could help me out. He walked out looked at the car and instantly stated that it was an electric oil gauge and the dipstick I had just spent 10 minutes looking for was non-existent. So now that we have established my lack of mechanical knowledge I thought I would research a list for those of you who may, like myself, be not so technically minded and may get swayed by a nice paint job and a leather seat. So here are my car buying tips for every virgin car buyer…also known as spot the lemon!

Plan your budget and include your car loan repayment, fuel costs and service costs

Man drawing a car with car buying tips writtenFirst step is simple. Know your budget! A great way to do this is to speak with a 360 Finance broker before you start your research; our brokers are specially trained in ways to get you the best possible deal on your car loan. By breaking your repayments down to a weekly, fortnightly or monthly figure your purchase becomes much more affordable, you may even be able to purchase a better car then you originally thought. Remember when setting your budget to think about things like registration and insurance costs.

Search for your car and for car finance with 360 Finance on Gumtree

Next do your research. Go online and look at gumtree, carsales and anything else you know of. But also remember to go to your local dealerships and look at what stock they have there. Don’t just jump at the first car you see, take some time to make sure you are getting the right car for you, your 360 Finance broker can also help here with our Car Finder service so make sure you let them know what you are looking for.

Check every detail of the vehicle and have it inspected by 360 Finance

Once you have narrowed down the make and model you are looking at go online and look up some reviews for the car, check the fuel consumption and make sure this will be manageable with current fuel prices. Check if there is consistency with faults in the model, does every second review mention timing belt issues etc. Contact the seller whether this is a dealer or private seller and ask them about the car: What condition is it in? Has it ever been damaged? Does it have any “bad habits”? These questions will get you a rough idea on the condition and drive of the vehicle.

When you go and inspect the car make sure to check the car thoroughly, be sure to check that the odometer reading matches up to the advertisement, that there is no damage to the car, check that the tyres have a good amount of tread left on them. Go over all the obvious parts and if these check out inform the seller that you will be getting an inspection done on the vehicle. If this concerns them it should concern you as they may be hiding something they don’t want you to know. These inspections may cause you to outlay some money prior to purchasing a vehicle but are a great way of finding out exactly what you are getting. When it comes to buying a used car quality and reliability are huge factors and having a pre sale inspection completed by a trusted company is a must. Get the car checked out and you will know with certainty whether it is worth purchasing or not.

Remember if you don’t feel comfortable don’t let yourself be rushed into purchasing the car, also make sure you cover yourself and the car adequately. Speak with your 360 Finance broker about what insurances and warranties they can help you arrange in order to make sure that you are covered and give you the peace of mind to truly enjoy your new wheels.

So call 360 Finance today on 1300 361 360 to get the ball rolling on your new purchase today!