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Jackie Gower - Buying your first car

Author
Jackie Gower,
Section
Money,
Publish Date
Friday, 9 May 2014, 12:00AM

Buying your first car is a big deal! With one son already mobile and the youngest saving hard for his own set of ‘wheels’, these tips have come in really handy for our household. They could save you a lot of money too!

Pay cash. If you can, the best way to buy your first car is to save up and pay cash. As well as avoiding expensive interest rates, having the cash available means you can also take advantage of some excellent bargains from private sellers who only take cash. Almost 90% of people purchasing their first car choose second hand and there are heaps of older model cars in great condition available at very reasonable prices.

Wise up on your wheels. The Internet can be a huge help when looking for the perfect car. As soon as you begin looking – even if it’s months in advance - jump online to the many vehicle websites and start familiarising yourself with the models that appeal and see which sellers seem to have the most favourable reputation. The more information you can gather, the more confident you can be of getting the best deal. As well as being an effective and convenient way to shop around, it’s also a great way to avoid the face to face ‘hard sell’ car salesmen are renowned for!

Read the fine print. Before purchasing a particular car, do some basic research of all of the costs involved; e.g. how much it costs to insure for that particular make and model, how economical it is to run (e.g. fuel consumption) and how easy and expensive various parts cost to replace. When buying a used car it is easy to check its history online through websites such as (www.carjam.co.nz) to ensure a) you’re not buying a lemon and b) to ensure the owner does not have any money still owing on it. It is vital you do this check before you hand over any money, as if you come across any problems after it’s too late!

Give it the once over. Before settling on your dream car, it’s a good idea to take it to a trusted mechanic and have them give it a thorough check. Yes, it’s an added expense but it’s one which is very worthwhile as it might just prevent you from buying a nightmare in the long run!