So you're in the market for a new(ish) set of wheels? The good news is that the used car industry in Australia is big business, so there is no shortage of potentially suitable vehicles out there with your name on them.
It’s a very good time to be in the market for a car – satisfying our craving for mobility and independence as well as our new found indulgence for flashy metal – whether it be new or second hand. That's partly thanks to cheaper entry-level models, stiff competition, lower interest rates and of course fuel prices.
The bad news is you might be spoiled not only for choice but by methods in which to find them. With countless used car sites, private offerings and dealerships to pick from, it can be an overwhelming experience and if you think the used car market is just a scattering of people trying to offload old cars, think again!
Sometimes buying a used vehicle is less straightforward than buying new. You’ll have to do a lot more homework and be willing to wear out your shoe leather. So before you decide to buy Uncle Ben’s old Toyota because it's just easier that way, here are some tips to help you navigate the used car market, as well as a few ideas to keep in mind before handing over your hard-earned cash.
When deciding to buy new versus second hand, buying a used car is almost always a better deal over the long term than buying or leasing a new one. That's the classic personal finance advice anyway, and it still applies.
Over the years, the quality and reliability of cars have improved dramatically. Today’s cars are built to last and can be expected to run for at least 150,000 to 200,000 kilometres when they’re properly maintained. Also many used cars, especially those less than four years old, have low mileage and look new. If you have them checked out mechanically, you won’t have to worry about buying someone else’s problem, and you can expect years of safe, dependable service.
Also, when you buy a used car, the original owner has absorbed the early depreciation, so instead of paying $30,000, you may pay $21,000, which is 30% less than the original owner paid. You also have far less to finance, so your monthly payments, insurance, and fees will be lower. When the time comes to sell the car, you’ll get more of your money back because your car will have retained more of its value.
For many, the biggest deterrent when it comes to buying a brand new car is that additional and often unforeseen cost - the mind-boggling drop in value as soon as the rubber meets the road. Of course, another looming issue for buyers of new wheels is the greater depreciation that will come when the leases on many vehicles expire and hit their balloon in a more crowded used-car market.
When it comes down to your search for your used car, you’ve done your research, and you have narrowed down your list of requirements, you may even know what type of car you want. Fantastic – so what do you do now? Where do you start? There are just so many options available that include buying privately, through a car dealer or by auction.
Car dealers like Newcastle Cheapest Cars take the daunting aspect out of buying a car, and you always know what you are getting.
Located at 254 Hannell Street in Wickham, Newcastle Cheapest Cars share the 20-acre site with United Auctions Australia and dealerships that include Holden, Mazda, Kia and Subaru – making it the largest new and used car precinct in Newcastle.
"We aim to provide a one-stop shop for people looking to buy a car without the hassle and the haggle" said Richard Bailey, General Manager of Newcastle Cheapest Cars and also United Auctions Australia.
"Another fundamental difference and significant benefit is that when you are dealing with us you are dealing with the Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) – the largest and most respected new and used car dealership in Australia, so you know what you are getting and that you are dealing with a well- established and reputable company - which is crucial.”
When you arrive at Newcastle Cheapest Cars, the first thing you note is the gigantic showrooms filled from one end to the other with quality used cars – over 400 Subaru, Mazda, Holden and Kia to choose from at any one time.
For many it’s the convenience of having so many cars to choose from in one place and the comfort of knowing that they are all certified and come with a warranty. For others, it’s the fact they are dealing with a company with a reputation for delivering both quality and value. Of course, everyone loves the fact that the enormous showrooms are all under cover – perfect for car shopping no matter what the weather is like.
Car auctions are another very popular way to get a great deal on used cars and where buyers can often get a car well below book value. Just adjacent to Newcastle Cheapest Cars, you will also find United Auctions Australia where you can browse through the numerous cars up for auction and place a pre-bid price on any vehicle that meets your requirements.
UAA public auctions are held each Friday from 10 am, and the showroom is filled with 150 to 200 different cars so you always have a good selection from which to choose. They look new, have low mileage, have been cleaned up and are certified as mechanically sound.
"You don’t buy a car every day of the week, so take your time and do your research" said Richard when asked what tips he would give to car buyers looking for a used car.
"Not all used cars are created equal, and every used car has a different story to tell – different mileage on the clock, different owners and used for various purposes".
‘It’s therefore important that if buying from a private dealer that you understand the cars history and registration details. Have the car checked out by a mechanic before taking possession. There are mobile specialist mechanics who can provide you with a comprehensive vehicle inspection. But, at the very least buy a vehicle history report. This confirms the cars ownership, is under finance or has undergone repairs".
"Buying from a dealer is less risky, and because you get a statutory warranty, you know what you're buying and are protected. But buying a car is a big deal emotionally and financially so still do your homework when it comes to the car and make sure it suits your personality and lifestyle.”