1. Research the type of car that suits your lifestyle
Before heading to the car dealership, firstly ask yourself how you will use your car and what features are most important to you? The type of car that would best suit your needs depends on several factors that you might consider:
- Household size (i.e., how many seats you need)
- Safety features & requirements
- Extra storage space for pets, children or utilities
- Fuel economy
- Engine size
- Body style of the car (e.g., sedan, hatchback, SUV, sports car etc.)
- Transmission type (automatic or manual)
- Year, make and model
Make a list of features you need vs those you want to help you prioritise what’s important and refine your research based on how you intend to use the car.
Once you have a couple of ideal cars on your list, look for reviews and customer feedback on reputable websites. You’d want to know the ‘known faults’ before making up your mind. If you have friends or family members who own the car you’re interested in, chat with them to see how they feel about their vehicle.
2. Talk to your insurance company
Most people consider getting insurance in the last steps of their buying process. We highly recommend talking to your insurer or researching a few insurance providers as different cars can have different premiums. For your peace of mind, we suggest that you get full cover insurance for your new car, or at a minimum third-party insurance to cover any damage caused in an accident.
3. Understand your finance and budget
It’s important to work out your budget and finances to know what pricing level you should be looking at. Remember, it’s not just the purchase price you need to consider but also the insurance premiums, ongoing maintenance, and service costs you’ll be paying in the coming years.
If money is a barrier to getting you into the car of your dreams, let’s chat! Through our online application process, you can get a preapproved car loan and have the same power as cash buyers. If you’re unsure about your repayment amount, use MyFinance’s online loan calculator to check. We work with you to make sure you can afford all the repayments.
Be mindful of car dealers who offer car finance options, as some have high-interest rates and fees that can make the overall cost skyrocket.
4. Visit car dealers and test drive
Before buying a new car, always take the car(s) on your shortlist for a test drive. Listen for any unusual or strange noises, acceleration, and braking. Bring a friend or family member along to help you assess the car. If someone else is also going to be driving the vehicle regularly, ask them to come for test drives too.
Don’t just drive around the block; test the car on various types of roads if you can, including open roads and motorways. Complete reverse and parallel parks to see if the car is the right size for you. Check if the controls are easy to use and if the vehicle meets all the requirements you set in step 1. Remember, you don’t need to make a decision right after your test drive; give yourself some time to think it over and discuss your thoughts with your friends and family.
5. Final mechanical checks
By this point, you’d probably have a good idea of which car you want to buy. If you’re buying a car from a private dealer, you need to make sure the car doesn’t have any mechanical faults. Check the following things before buying a new car:
- No dents, rusts, discoloration or bumps
- No obvious problems on the exterior, interior and tyres of the car
- No payments owed on the car
- Warrant of fitness (WOF)
- Vehicle licensing (rego)
- Odometer is reading correctly
- Roadside assistance
- Vehicle history report
We would also advise getting a professional inspection from an independent advisor, such as VTNZ. This would ensure there are no nasty surprises that may show up in the future. If you had any concerns during your test drive, tell your inspector so they can investigate these further.
6. Negotiate and get it down on paper
When it comes to negotiating the price, don’t tell the salesperson too much – keep it simple. You’ve done your research, and you know the market price. Don’t let the salesperson charge you a higher price or talk you into adding additional features you don’t need.
If you negotiate a good purchase price on the car, the dealership might offer you a lower price on your trade-in. Do a little online research and ask a few trade-in car dealers to know what your old car is worth. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you think a dealership is offering you a low price on your old car. You can always sell the car yourself in a private sale and receive a higher return.
Protect yourself by documenting every term and condition on a written Purchase Agreement too. This includes the names of both parties with signatures, the price, payment method, warranties, roadside assistance, any extra services (e.g. paint protection), vehicle details and date. It should also state that no other party has a claim on the car or its accessories. Don’t feel pressured to sign the deal until you’ve considered all your options.
Lastly, don’t forget to put the vehicle under your name with NZTA. A dealership would usually do this on your behalf, but you must do this yourself in the case of a private sale.
Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident about buying a new car to suit your needs with these tips. If you need a little help with financing your new car, don’t hesitate to contact MyFinance to see how we can help you. We also have one more tip if you are living in cold regions or planning a road trip in winter, check if your vehicle is Winter Ready.