From lush rainforests and idyllic white beaches, to breathtaking burnt orange deserts, Australia has something for every traveller and there is no better way to explore this extraordinary continent than by taking a road trip. Travelling by car allows you to take your time, stop where and when you want and really soak up the Australian experience. In order to ensure a smooth journey, there are a few key things you will need to organize before taking off. Buying a car in Australia is relatively easy once you know what to look for and most importantly what to avoid. Here are our top 6 tips for buying the perfect car for your Aussie road trip:
1) Shop Around
It’s worth shopping around to get the best ‘bang for your buck’. If you’re buying second-hand, check online car price calculators such as Redbook to ensure you know what the car you’re looking at is really worth. Keep an eye out for online classifieds from other travellers who are looking for a quick sale before heading home. These sellers often include camping equipment and other goodies they have collected that could come in very handy for your own trip.
2) Read the Fine Print
Some car dealers may offer a buy-back guarantee. This means they will buy the car back from you after your trip for a much lower price than what you paid. If you decide to go ahead with this option, make sure you read the fine print. It’s often a requirement of the contract that you keep the vehicle registered, that you show evidence that you have serviced the vehicle regularly and there is no damage to the body of the vehicle. If you are buying a car second-hand from anyone, dealer or private, make sure you are given a roadworthy certificate, without it your car can not be registered.
3) Safety First
No matter how far you are travelling, or the kind of terrain you will be driving across, having a safe vehicle is of the utmost importance. We recommend you talk to a mechanic about safety features when you get the vehicle inspected by a Mobile Vehicle Inspection service such as the NRMA.
4) Consider Fuel Efficiency
Australia is an enormous country, so chances are your new car will be covering long distances. Unfortunately, long distances mean you will go through a lot of fuel and that’s not cheap. Aim to buy a fuel-efficient car that will get you further for less money. If buying an older vehicle, check out the Australian Governments Fuel Consumption Guide Database here for all the details.
5) Get Comfortable
If you’re going to be spending hour upon hour in the same seat, you want it to be comfortable. Look for a car with lumbar support. Trust me, your back will thank you for it. Also, consider the seat fabric. Vinyl can get very hot in the Australian sun. Remember to try before you buy!
6) Last, But not Least
Once the vehicle of your choice has passed a mechanical inspection by a qualified mechanic, you’ve agreed to sale price and handed over the cash you’ll need to register it under your name. Registration requirements vary from state-to-state. Visit your local Department of Transport to pay a registration fee and hand in all the required paperwork. Next, make sure you have insurance, even if you are the best driver on the road!
Follow these tips and you’ll be out on your Aussie road-trip in no time! If you’re a first time car buyer, take a look at the P-Platers Guide to Buying Your First Car for some extra tips.