Buying though licensed motor vehicle dealers may be more expensive than from a private seller but offers you greater protection.

For example:

  • If your car is not more than 10 years of age and has travelled less than 160,000kms, it will be covered by a 3 month/5,000kms Statutory Warranty;
  • You'll have a clear title which protects you against repossession if anyone owes money on the car and ensures it is not a stolen vehicle.

You don't have to use the car dealer's finance or insurance.

Before talk to the dealer check out the interest rates offered by lenders and the insurance premiums offered by different insurance companies. You could save money by shopping around and organising these things yourself.

If you are buying a car that has some problem not covered by the warranty, negotiate with the dealer to have it fixed. If the dealer agrees, then have it written in the sales contract and have them make the repairs before you take the car away.

Check all the paperwork and read any contract carefully before you sign it. Remember you don't need to sign anything unless you have decided to buy a car.

Tricks of the trade

People who sell cars will use all sorts of tricks to try and get you to buy now. The fact is that once you leave the car yard their chances of making the sale plummet.

So be prepared. Shop around to get an idea of prices. Know what sort of car you are looking for and ask questions of the salesperson to help you in making a decision. Get advice and have a thorough mechanical and body check done before you make any buying decision. Put some space between the test drive and the negotiations. This is the time that you are most likely to make a concession, especially if you like the car. The salesperson knows this and will use it to their advantage.

Sales lines that should put you on guard

  • This car won't be here tomorrow;
  • I'll have to see if my manager will approve this offer;
  • We have a buyer for your trade-in.
  • Remember, just as your most vulnerable moment is just after the test drive, the salesperson's is when you decide to pass on the deal. 

Refer to dot point ‘Form 10 Contract to Buy’