Guide on Buying a Car
Cars are expensive to buy in Australia in comparison to many other countries. An affordable mid size family car in Sydney will cost you $12,000 to $20,000. For more upmarket expect to pay $20,000 to $30,000 and upwards from there. Buying second hand is considerably less expensive than buying new and while all dealerships provide a warranty for both new and second hand cars, if you purchase privately, it may mean buying a car without a warranty.Other options are buying a motorbike, scooter or bicycle instead. You can find cars for sale from private sellers, at dealerships or at auctions.
Expat contracts in Australia do not normally include a car and driver.
The Roads and Traffic Authorityis the governing body in NSW for car purchase, registration and licensing. The Red Book is the vehicle pricing authority in Australia. You can find out what you should expect to pay on a new or used car of all makes, models and age. It is an excellent resource. The Red Book http://www.redbook.com.au
A licensed dealership will guarantee that there is no money owing on the car and in most cases will provide a warranty. This is the safest way to buy a car. Many dealerships offer financing although it is normally at a very high interest rate. If you require financing, you are much better securing a personal loan through your bank.
Obtain PRE APPROVAL to borrow the money and be prepared to place a deposit on the vehicle to secure it. After you then finalise the financing, you will be taken through a thorough check of the vehicle before being handed the keys.
It is highly recommended to obtain an insurance cover note before driving away from the dealership. This can be done over the phone. (See insurance section of guide).
There are many dealerships all over Sydney but there is a high concentration on Parramatta Road, and also on the Pacific Highway in Artarmon on the North Shore.
You can find vehicles sold by private sellers many ways including online, at car markets and through the newspaper. There are risks buying privately and as a buyer you are more vulnerable. It is advisable to contact the Register of Encumbered Vehicles (REV)* to ensure that the vehicle you are interested in does not carry debt. If it does and you purchase the car, you may be liable for that debt. Statistically one in five cars for sale carry debt. Please note the REV check does not ensure that the car has not been stolen. It is also advisable to get a vehicle inspection, which will be at your own cost.
- The certificate of registration is current
- The vehicle has a Pink Slip which is no more than 42 days old (unless the vehicle was registered in the last 42 days). A Pink Slip is the Safety Inspection Report which is required for all vehicles over five years old. If the car is younger than five years it does not require a Pink Slip.
- Proof that the person selling the vehicle is the owner eg. a sales receipt or driver’s license to help identify the seller
- The registration number
- The engine number
- The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or chassis number
You will be expected to pay a deposit to hold the car once you have decided. This only applies if you are not paying in full at the time of test driving the vehicle. When you finalise payment, check all paperwork as per above and then you will be handed the Registration Paper and the keys.
Register of Encumbered Vehicles https://transact.ppsr.gov.au/ppsr/QuickVINSearch
Links for buying cars online
- Car Point http://www.carpoint.com.au
- Drive http://www.drive.com.au
- Autoline http://www.autoline.com.au
- Cars Guide http://www.carsguide.com.au
The benefit of buying at auction is it is possible to buy a car at a very good price. Auction vehicles are not covered by a warranty and it’s rare you can test drive the car beforehand. Auction houses are responsible to ensure the vehicles at auction do not carry debt.
- Car Auctions Sydney http://www.carauctionssydney.com.au
- Drive – See website above
- Autoline – See website above
Registering the Vehicle
There is only one document required to register the vehicle and that is the Certificate of Registration. The license for the car stays with the car so you do not buy separate license plates.
When the sale has gone through, either through dealership or privately, the seller will sign the back of the certificate to acknowledge the sale of the vehicle.
You then have 14 days to submit this certificate to the RTA for transferring the registration to your own name. You must go in person to an RTA office and submit the paper and will need to pay a stamp duty tax. This tax is a % of the sale price of the car.
You can drive the car during this time. At the RTA offices in Sydney you cannot make an appointment and on arrival you will take a ticket to wait in a queue. This is often a lengthy process so allow lots of time to wait.
Roads and Traffic Authority: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/
Cars in Australia use either petrol, LPG, are electric, or a hybrid of electric and petrol. Petrol non-hybrid run cars are the most expensive of the four fuel options. At the time of writing, fuel was $1.25 cents a litre.
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas. It is a less commonly used fuel, the vehicle engine must be tailored especially for it. You cannot use LPG in a petrol engined car unless it is retrofitted. LPG is much cheaper than petrol and unlike petrol, there is a surplus of LPG.
Electric cars are in their infancy but they are available. Electric cars are great for the environment and are economical to run. They lack the power petrol and LPG fueled cars have but if you are driving around the city there is really no need for a car that can accelerate to 180 kilometres an hour. The Bev and the Reva are two models currently available on the market.
There are a couple of hybrid vehicles on the market, namely the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid. These cars use a combination of an electric motor powered by a battery and a petrol motor. They are very economical and much better for the environment than using petrol or LPG alone.