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10 tips for buying a new car

Keep these tips in mind so you can drive away with a better deal.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

It’s sometimes said that car dealers can smell an uninformed customer when they walk in and will start circling them like sharks. Depending on what your local dealership is like, this might only be a slight exaggeration.

You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to be a well-informed, hard-haggling customer. Paying attention to these ten quick tips can make a real difference to your car and your wallet.


1. Buy a car at the end of the month or at the end of the financial year

Plan your purchase, but don’t sign on the dotted line until near the end of the month. Many car dealers operate on monthly sales targets and may be more likely to offer discounts and free extras around this time to help meet their targets.

You can save a lot by purchasing a car during the EOFY car sales. The automotive manufacturers and dealers offer special deals and also throw in optional extras worth thousands of dollars for free.

2. Be serious about safety

ANCAP safety ratings are no joke. These ratings determine how likely an accident is to injure or kill you, and the differences between safe and unsafe cars are enormous.

More importantly, it can also affect the cost of car insurance. If you’re after a more cost-effective drive and you want a safe vehicle, avoid settling for less than a 4- or 5-star ANCAP rating.

3. Do your homework on the car you want

Learn about your chosen car's typical drive-away price before you buy, as well as which extras are tacked on and how much these are really worth. This gives you a baseline against which to haggle and consider “free” extras.

It also lets you determine how much haggling room is left when you’re quoted a price. You probably won’t get a good deal if you don’t take this step and if you do, how would you know?

4. Know the haggling dos and don’ts

  • Do keep your expectations realistic. You probably won’t haggle much off an already-discounted price.
  • Do keep it friendly and polite. Good manners go a lot further and sometimes a deal simply comes down to how much they like you.
  • Do leave your phone number, even if you walk away. They might come back to you with a better offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away. If they’re not budging, find someone who will.
  • Don’t try low-balling them unless you’re ready to climb back up the price ladder.

5. Make dealers compete with each other

A lot of dealers might turn down an offer without hesitation, but would accept the very same offer when asked to match a competitor’s price. There’s always a better deal out there somewhere and dealers know it. Try to be in touch with more than one dealer before buying and let them compete for your business.

Know what car you want? A Car broker could save you money

With an established network of dealers, a car broker can source the vehicle you want and negotiate on your behalf to save you money.

6. Always do a test drive

There’s no substitute for a test drive. If you’re still deciding between different cars or models, test drive them all if possible. Never buy a new car without test driving it first.

7. Beware of unwanted extras

Dealers are always ready to generously throw in extras for free or at cost, to sweeten the deal. Think about the extras you actually want before buying and try to resist walking out with something you didn’t want.

Some of the extras you almost certainly don’t want are an extended warranty, rustproofing and paint protection. A new car already has all of these in some form and these extras are often just a sales trick.

The cost of car insurance changes a lot depending on what you’re driving. Common new cars, even the latest models, are often cheaper to insure than one would expect thanks to the availability of spare parts. Meanwhile, cars that don’t have more recent safety features such as auto braking or traction control, or cars with a poor ANCAP rating, can be considerably more expensive.

8. Check the fuel consumption

Check a car’s fuel consumption with the yellow sticker on the windscreen. This allows you to you to compare efficiency between vehicles and can give you a reasonable idea of what the car's operating costs might be.

9. Make sure all the boxes are ticked before you buy

Check off these tips before buying for better luck finding a deal, but when the pen’s in your hand and the dealer is salivating over your shoulder you should ask yourself whether you have:

  • Understood the terms and conditions. Make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
  • Been to multiple dealers. If you haven’t, then you’re almost certainly not getting the value you could be.
  • Know what is and isn’t included. Be certain that you aren’t paying for unwanted extras and that you won’t be missing anything.

Your new car will need CTP insurance, and if you’ll be depending on it you might want to consider comprehensive car insurance instead of one of the more basic options.

10. Compare all your loan options

If you're planning on using a car loan or other form of finance to purchase your car, it pays to do your research. You have a lot of options when it comes to car finance, so it pays to understand how they differ, and what makes a loan more competitive than another. Along with the banks, many dealers offer car loans, and it's important to compare both to find the one that bests suits your needs.

Compare car loans for buying a new car

1 - 11 of 11
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
IMB New Car Loan
4.88%
(fixed)
5.23%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
5.59%
(fixed)
6.42%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.59% p.a. to 13.24% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $79,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.59% p.a. to 13.24% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $79,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.
loans.com.au - New - Prime Special (Variable)
3.74%
(variable)
4.28%
You'll receive a variable rate of 3.74% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees.

You'll receive a variable rate of 3.74% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees.

Credit Concierge Car Loan - Prime (Credit Score 800+)
From
3.99%
(fixed)
4.93%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.93% p.a.
Must have a high credit score and excellent previous repayment history to qualify. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.93% p.a.
Must have a high credit score and excellent previous repayment history to qualify. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
RACV New Car Loans
From
5.99%
(fixed)
6.68%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NRMA New Car Loan
From
5.99%
(fixed)
6.68%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 3 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
4.44%
(fixed)
5.76%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.44% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with.
Apply for up to $300,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.44% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with.
Apply for up to $300,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.85%
(fixed)
6.47%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.85% p.a. to p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.85% p.a. to p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 7 years.
Credit Concierge Car Loan - Mid Prime (Credit Score 500-800)
From
5.89%
(fixed)
6.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.89% p.a. with a comparison rate of 6.99% p.a.
Must have an above average credit score and no defaults or late payments in the last 6 months. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.89% p.a. with a comparison rate of 6.99% p.a.
Must have an above average credit score and no defaults or late payments in the last 6 months. Home ownership or mortgage may assist overcoming a lower credit score in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
Great Southern Bank Fixed Rate Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Credit Concierge Car Loan - Sub Prime (Credit Score Below 500)
From
14.99%
(fixed)
17.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 14.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 17.99% p.a.
Must have stable employment longer than 3 months with no recent missed payments or overdrawn bank accounts. Defaults are assessed on individual circumstances and amounts on credit file must be paid or under arrangement. Good savings history may assist overcoming a low credit score and any unpaid defaults in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 14.99% p.a. with a comparison rate of 17.99% p.a.
Must have stable employment longer than 3 months with no recent missed payments or overdrawn bank accounts. Defaults are assessed on individual circumstances and amounts on credit file must be paid or under arrangement. Good savings history may assist overcoming a low credit score and any unpaid defaults in some instances. Lenders individual credit criteria applies and approval is not guaranteed nor is the interest rate finalised until a formal submission for finance is made.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct's claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bendigo Bank Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Bendigo Bank’s comprehensive policy offers up to $30 million in liability insurance, cover for your personal items and the option of a replacement car if your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.

Who it might be good for: Those who seek the peace of mind that comes with high legal liability and a range of cover benefits.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 off your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
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Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.88% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.69% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for NRMA New Car Loan
NRMA New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

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