Car shopping can be an unpleasant experience, and one that is as stressful as it is time consuming. The issue for many is that they simply don’t know what to look for when looking for a new car. For this reason, Swoosh have compiled some great tips to help give you a better understanding of what to look out for when you’re on the hunt for your next (or first!) car.

Assess your budget

Factoring your budget into what kind of car is suited to your needs is the first step in finding the perfect car for you. This budget should also factor in insurance, weekly fuel requirements and any necessary maintenance in the long run.

When you find the type of car you’d like to buy, whether it be an SUV, ute, or weekend convertible, research to find the right make and model that suits your budget. Once you find a car that is reasonably priced (taking into consideration kilometres travelled and general appearance), it’s time to get in touch with the seller.

Questions for the seller

When you first get in touch with a seller, it’s highly useful to have a set of pre-prepared questions for them to answer.

  • How long have they owned the car, and how many owners before them?
  • Why are they selling the car?
  • Has the car ever been in an accident or damaged?
  • Are there any issues with the car not demonstrated in the photos?
  • Does the car have all relevant service history, how detailed is it, and is it with the car?

It’s also worth asking anything specific that you noticed from the ad that interested you. Obtaining the VIN (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle will also allow you to check databases in your relevant state to determine if the car is stolen, attached to an outstanding car loan, or has a history as an insurance write-off.

If you’re satisfied, you can then arrange an inspection.

Inspecting the car

Inspecting a car can be intimidating, but there are a few things to look for even if you’re far from a car expert.

Swoosh offer a few notable pointers:

  • During daylight, check the car for examples of poor repairs, such as rust, welding or paint overspray underneath the body, bonnet and carpet, and check the spaces between the body panels are consistent.
  • Look for signs of any oil leaks under the bonnet by using the dipstick to check the amount of oil. Low oil levels indicates the owner has been improperly looking after their car.
  • Check tyres for tread and that evident tread is evenly distributed among tyres. Double check that a spare tyre is also in the boot.
  • Starting the engine when cold can demonstrate issues like problems starting, and smoke can indicate engine wear.

After you’ve inspected the car yourself, for absolute piece of mind having an independent mechanic conduct an inspection of the car can offer peace of mind.

Negotiating price

It’s important to remember that the advertised price is not necessarily final and there is often room to negotiate. If you found faults through the inspection, however minor, you can raise these as issues and factor in the cost that may be required to fix them.

Even if there are no significant, or even noticeable faults, it never hurts to offer a reasonable price below the asking price of the seller. The seller might agree, decline, or a price will be further negotiated by both parties to reach a reasonable middle ground.

After price has been negotiated, ensure all registration and service history paperwork is properly organised and that details match the seller. Ensure all documents are originals and you retain receipt for any money transfers.

Looking to buy your own car?

If you’re looking for your dream car but it seems out of reach, there’s no need to fret. Swoosh offer fixed term loans between $2,100 $5,000 with scheduled repayments, ensuring getting the car you’ve had your eye on is entirely achievable. Get in touch today to learn more.