Buying a new or used vehicle, either for yourself or someone else such as a spouse or child, can be a daunting task. And, the decision is often made more difficult because of the many options available. The Automobile Association (AA) says it is important to plan before buying a vehicle, and to do your homework before committing to anything.

“Just because you like the colour of a vehicle, or because it has sleek lines and fancy add-ons, doesn’t mean it is the right car for you. It is important to firstly consider what the vehicle will be used for, who will use it, and what your budget is, and to stick to it,” the AA says.

The Association says people buying a vehicle, whether new or used, should consider the following:

  • Are you buying a new or used vehicle?
  • What is your budget? It is critical you stick to your budget. Remember, there are other costs associated with a new (or used) vehicle including warranty or insurance cover, and maintenance costs. Factor these into your final budget.
  • Are you going to finance the vehicle, and, if so, will you put down a deposit?
  • What features of your current vehicle do you want in a new vehicle?
  • What do you dislike about your current vehicle, and why?
  • What are the top three things you’d like to have in a new vehicle?
  • Who is going to drive the vehicle most of the time, and for what purpose?
  • How many passengers will you be carrying?
  • Do you need to tow anything with the vehicle?
  • How many kilometres do you typically drive in a year?
  • Consider the differences between manual and automatic vehicles, as well as between petrol, diesel, or hybrid vehicles.
  • Check the safety features on the vehicle. Does the vehicle have airbags? Does it have ABS brakes?
  • Consider the roads you will be driving on; will the vehicle be used for highway driving or city driving, or will it be used to venture off-road on weekends?
  • How big is your garage or parking space? Will a larger vehicle fit into your existing space?

The Association says it is important you ask yourself these questions before making a final decision. They should usually be asked by a salesperson before a purchase. If they aren’t, you should ask yourself why not, and perhaps consider another dealer.

“Any prospective buyer should visit car websites, and consult trade publications, to compile a list of possible purchases. Once you have done this, you will be in a better position to understand what will, or won’t, work for you and your family,” advises the AA.

The Association also warns buyers who are considering used vehicles to ensure they have done enough research to make an informed decision on the vehicle they want.

“While buying  a second-hand vehicle is a good option for many, buyers need to be aware there are also pitfalls; there may be mechanical problems, body damage, replacement parts may be harder to source, and warranty benefits will expire sooner. It’s important buyers conduct thorough research, compare prices, and not rush into the first good deal they come across,” the AA concludes.