Things to Know Before Buying a Car

Things to know before buying a car

Hooray! You have found a car you want to buy! But should you purchase it and what do you do next? This article is designed to help you navigate through the process of purchasing a car so that you can make the right decision.


The struggle facing the auto industry is unprecedented, and so are the deals for the available buyers. Car dealers need to sell their cars to keep up with the high competition in that sector. Many of us don’t even know where to begin, and to avoid making a wrong decision follow these tips for car buying:

1. Fuel Efficiency

It is not only the hybrids which have frugal fuel economy. Small diesel engines are sometimes better. Fuel efficiency is one of the most important things to know before buying a car. Modern technology has made diesel engines more refined, as well as the environmental benefits of fuel efficient vehicles, they also help in reducing the amount of necessary fuel station stops which save you money and time. Some of the cars which offer frugal fuel economy are Mini Cooper hatch diesel, Honda Jazz Hybrid, Ford Fiesta hatch, Toyota Prius C AND Suzuki Swift diesel.

2. Check the Warrant of Fitness

When you are purchasing a car, it is important to check if the Warrant of Fitness is up to date. All car dealers should ensure that the vehicle has a Warrant of Fitness issued no more than one month at the time of delivery to the buyer. In the event of being offered a car with a recently issued Warrant of Fitness, where the car does not appear to be in a warrantable condition, contact the Transport Agency to investigate testing garages or stations that incorrectly issue Warrants.

However, you can purchase the car as is where is. Under this option, you will need to give the seller a written promise that you will only drive the vehicle to get a warrant. You will also have to pay for repairs to bring the vehicle up to a warrantable standard.

3. Check the Car Registration

Before buying a car from any dealer, you should check its registration to see if it was stolen or has been written off. Moreover, insist on seeing the registration document which shows the registered owner. Find out if the present custodian is the person selling the car. If not, then why are they selling the car for someone else? You should also make sure the registration document is not fake. Check if it has a watermark or any spelling mistakes. Check if the plate has been tampered with.

4. Decide between new or used

Used cars have been in high demand for many years now, making overall prices higher, while there’s a wider array than ever of inexpensive new cars. As a result, you should consider both used and new cars that fit your budget. Purchasing a used car means that you can get a higher quality car for your money. But the disadvantages include not knowing the history, higher interest rates and a shorter warranty.

On the other hand, purchasing a new car means you will get fewer car features for the same cash, but you get the benefit of full warranty and free maintenance and lower interest.

5. Vehicle Inspection

Even if you know a lot about cars, there are some basics that you should check.

  • Look at the engine bay, and at the spots where the metal struts come together. The joints should be straight and new with no signs of recent welding.
  • Take a look underneath the car and watch out for rust on the wheel wells or the rails.
  • Also, remember to check the fluids. Pull the dipsticks and check the reservoirs. Brake fluid should be slightly yellowish. A broken and flawed fluid is usually tea-coloured.

If you aren’t confident in giving a vehicle an inspection yourself, then bring someone who can – there is always the option to have the car checked out by a licensed professional before signing any contracts.

6. Apply for a pre-approved loan before going car shopping.

Having a loan pre-approved before going to look at cars can give you the same advantage as having the cash. It allows you to bargain and get the lowest price possible, it also stops the car salesperson from hiding behind “low monthly payments”.

Give us a call at NZCU South on 0800 86 56 36 to talk about how we can help, or apply for a car loan online now.

Apply now for a personal loan