Buying a car in Australia is not different than any other countries. Buying a car means investing a good amount of money on it, so make sure you do the right thing. Based on your budget you can have two options either buy a brand new car or go for the used one. In both scenario you can buy it from dealer, auction, or a private seller. Many feel going through auction and private seller a risky game, where buying from a dealer gives peace of mind, but may cost couple of thousands higher. This may not true for all, neither all buyer end up with bad experience through auction nor a private sale. But, doing the thing right way keeps you always covered and safe. 

In this article we will discuss steps you should follow to keep you on right track while buying a car in Australia. 

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Car sale in Australia

1. Plan Your Budget: If you are planning to buy a car for any reason the first step is to determine your budget. Calculate your expenses and income and how much you can invest for your car. While budgeting include insurance, maintenance, registration, toll and fuel price against your cost for pubic transport. If you live regional and a bit far from train station or no frequent buses to match your commute timing you barely have chance to opt out buying a car.

2. Decide on the Type of Car: Consider what type of car you need. Is it for family ride or city drive or work commute, how you going to use most often. If you have babies your need could be different and if you are a frequently city driving person your comfortable car may be different. So, keep in mind such as car size, fuel and your use while buying a car for you. Ute, SUV, Sedan, Hatchback there are different body type you can see in the market. Your car size also has effect on fuel consumption as well as registration tax, insurance and maintenance. Determine your use and decide on what type of car you want. If you need off-road adventures there would be different story. 

3. Brand-new or Used one: This option is always available in different shopping list. Your need, budget and wish determines whether you need to by a brand new car or used one works for you. If you go to a dealership they offer some sort of warranties for used cars too. So warranties are not only determining factor to go for brand new car. New car costs more than used one but needs less maintenance. If you are planning to use car for gig jobs such as ride sharing, food delivery or using it for driving training you may need brand new one. If your lifestyle matters go for brand new, if your budget matters go for used one.

4. Price Comparison: Do your own research and compare price using different online tools. Most of them available free if you use your smartness. Check two three different online car sale listing websites and dealership compare price, maker, model, odometer, and production year against price listed on different sale listing such as Gumtree and CarSales. One of the smart idea to determine used care price is getting quote from two different car insurance companies, you can determine your price for the car based on their valuation.

5. Check Car History: If you are buying used car in Australia you must check car use history. To make sure the car is good to buy check its odometer, service logbook, as well as vehicle history report through Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), you can do it just by paying two dollars and it will show whether or not, the car is on any financial owing, not written off and reported as stolen. Make sure Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) also matches the documentation. 

6. Go for a Test Drive: Before you pay the price and sign the document, go for a test drive, so you will know the car performance, comfort and any mechanical or cosmetic issue in the car. No matter you buying a brand new car still its recommended to go for the test drive to feel the vibe whether you actually like driving the car or not.

7. Pre-purchase Mechanical Inspection: While buying used car its mandatory to do a pre-purchase mechanical inspection by registered motor mechanic. Such mechanical inspection of vehicle helps to understand engine as well as performance issue in the car. Any hidden issues in the car such as oil leakage, electrical or mechanical could determine through this. Such finding help you to decade whether to buy or not.   

8. Price Negotiation: Its normal to ask for some discount on listed price whether you buying new car or used. If you followed above mentioned steps this is the point you get benefited financially. Based on the car report and information you have you can negotiate price with the car seller, often they accept your offer under one thousands than the listed price. 

9. Registration Transfer: Ensure you do whole paperwork fine, once you both agree with the price share your license details and check rego paper against the seller’s identification. Seller will sign and give it to you that also known as "Notice of Disposal." Which is essential to perform legal transfer of car under your name. These days you can register and transfer ownership using online service no need to go to any government office or service centre.

10. Insurance, Road Rules & License: Once you get your registration and transfer done you are OK to use your car. But, make sure you do the comprehensive car insurance to make your car and driving covered. Follow the road rules that might be different than the country you come from. If you have overseas license you may need to convert that into Australian one. You can convert your overseas license into Australian one in the state you live, different states has slightly different process but you can definitely convert it to local. 

Read Also: All you need to know about buying a car

New Cars on Yard
How to buy a car in Australia: The Bare Essentials

Australia is a big country, it is considered as a continent, has eight states and territories. Australia has six states New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), Victoria (VIC), Western Australia (WA), Southern Australia (SA), and Tasmania (TAS). And, two territories Northern Territory (NT) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Each state has different laws regarding driving and car buying and registration. They are not completely different but slightly. Following are some basics you need to know while buying a car in Australia. 

1. Different Registration: Australian states and territories has different car registration system, you can notice different number plates (rego) while you see the car. Commonly its called rego or license plate. If you buying car interstate you may need to change registration that might cost a lot of money.

2. Rego Check: You can check registration and its validity through website or app to determine how long the registration left to finish.

3. Odometer check: You can check odometer to determine age and condition of the car you buying.

4. Pink Slip & Blue Slip: Pink slip is safety inspection by a mechanic to ensure car is safe and ready to drive on the road. To get registration for 5 years and plus cars you need pink slip. Blue slip is to verify that an unregistered car is safe and meets design and identification standards to be registered and drive on the road.

5. Stolen car sale is always there: While buying car in Australia you need to check proper paperwork to make sure the car is not a stolen one. You can verify documents online or by visiting service centre in your town or city.  

6. Hefty fine for not complying the law: You must follow car and motor related laws including traffic and road rules while driving. Your vehicle need to be registered and hold driving license always while drive.  

Luxury car in Australian road
How to find a car to buy  

There are many ways you can find car to buy. In Australia, car dealership sale both new and used car together. Even, if you have used car you can trade in too. Besides these, online car sale websites are major platform to find a car to purchase. 

There are newspapers with special car sale edition each week where you can find suitable car for you. Online listing sites such as Gumtree are very popular venue to get your next car. Carsales, cars24 and other popular car sale playrooms are available with range of cars in terms of make, model and price. Buying car online is safe and reliable as at a dealership. But, if you are buying car from online listing sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree you need to be extra careful there may be scammers to defraud you. 

Besides these, there are auctions for car online as well as in yards. Even you can see people keeping note on their parked car as they are on sale with contact numbers and expected price for that.   

Frequently Raised Questions 

1. Do I need to know anything before I buy a car in Australia?

       Ideally, you should:

    • Check it out with a mechanic before buying it to ensure it's not a lemon.

    • Do a PPSR check so you know the car condition, no debt on, no written off.

    • Check odometer records.

    • Make sure your new car is registered to you.

    • Get a car insurance under your name.

2. Do I need to pay tax for car?

All cars are subject to an annual motor vehicle tax. Your car must be renewed annually. Car rego costs around 350 dollars to 750 dollars annually.  

3. Where in Australia I can buy a car at the lowest price?

According to the latest figures, new cars in NSW are the cheapest in Australia.

4. Can I buy a car in Australia on temporary visa?

Is it possible to purchase a car in Australia as a temporary visa holder. Based on your need you can buy car to use during your stay in Australia.