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Buying or selling a car can be stressful, but it’s also a great opportunity to find the perfect vehicle or a fantastic deal. 

To make the process as easy and safe as possible, it’s important to be prepared and think ahead. In this article, we share our top tips for buying a car, and what to do when selling a car privately.

5 Tips for Buying a Car

Do your research

Before you buy a car, take the time to research different models, to find one that best fits your budget and needs1. Consider the following:

  • Space: How much room do you need in your car?
  • Safety: How safe are the options you’re considering? Check the ANCAP ratings to understand how good different models are at keeping you safe on the road.
  • Fuel economy and the environment: Is the model you’re looking at fuel efficient, or a fuel guzzler?

Always test drive

Test drive a car before you buy it, especially if it has been used. Try to choose your own route, and drive in a variety of conditions1. You can even take a friend and share your thoughts.

If you’re driving a used car, look for mechanical issues by2:

  • Using the full steering wheel range
  • Testing the handbrake on a steep hill
  • Listening for irregular noises, especially from the engine
  • Checking the transmission shifts and handling in a variety of conditions.

Visit an independent mechanic when buying used

If possible, have the car inspected by a qualified and independent mechanic before you buy it. Don’t accept the car if you’re not satisfied with the results. Don’t agree to take a safety certificate or warranty instead of an inspection, and make sure you see the outcome personally.

Negotiate terms and check your contract

Read the terms of the sale thoroughly. Make sure that none of the fields have been left blank, including the delivery date. Don’t sign the contract until everything has been negotiated, as you are unable to make adjustments once it has been executed1.

If you’re buying a used car, make sure the registration and service history paperwork is correct, and matches the seller’s details. Also, it is important to check the history of the car and if it has been reported as a write off or has hail damage. Always ask for originals, not copies2.

Insure your car before you drive away

Hitting the road without the right insurance is a risk, so it’s important to protect your car before you drive it3. When registering a car you will need to purchase compulsory third party (CTP) which covers liability you incur for injuries you cause to others on the road. You may also want to get car insurance, and Allianz has two options to choose from:

6 Tips for Selling a Car

Prepare your car and make sure it’s at its best

When selling your car, make it as appealing for buyers as possible4. Clean your car thoroughly, both inside and out. If it’s been a while since the last clean, consider having it detailed and polished by a professional. Inflate your tyres to the recommended air pressure, complete a wheel alignment and get the wheels balanced, so your car performs at its best during any test drives4.

If you’re selling a car and keeping the number plates, contact your state road authority to cancel the registration of those number plates, and register new number plates to attach to the car you are selling5.

Create a great ad

Putting in the time to create a great ad will help your car stand out from others on the market4. Include a precise description of your car, with details of important information such as model, year, and any extras or modifications. Invest the time to take high quality photos, to show off your car in the best light.

Set the right price, but be prepared to haggle

Do your research, and set an appropriate market price for your car6. The higher your price, the more time it is likely to take to sell. Beware, many car buyers will expect to haggle, so you may have to settle for a little less than you advertised6.

Get your paperwork in order

Different states and territories require different paperwork for selling a car, so check what is required in your location. Common documents include service log books, current registrations, and warranty information5. Some states and territories also require a safety inspection by a mechanic, such as a roadworthy certificate in VIC, QLD and ACT6.

Ensure you advise your car insurance provider that you have sold your vehicle.

Do your due diligence on the buyer

When arranging an inspection, ask for the buyer’s contact details such as name, phone number, and if possible, address and driver’s licence number4. Before finalising the sale ask for a second form of identification and always obtain payment in full before you hand over the keys4.

Prepare for a test drive

One of our top tips for buyers is to always test drive the car – as a seller, you will need to accommodate test drives in a way that is safe for you and your car.

If a potential buyer wants to test drive your car, make sure to record their licence details before you start. You should also contact your insurer or check your car insurance Product Disclosure Statement to make sure your car is covered if a potential buyer takes it for a spin. Always accompany the buyer on the test drive8. Going along for the ride is also a great way to explain your car’s features and answer the buyer’s questions.

Lastly, help look after your own safety by starting and ending the test drive in a public location during daylight hours.

Please note the information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any decisions based on this article
  1. Choice, How to Buy a New Car, viewed April 2021, https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/buying-guides/cars

  2. Carsguide, Best Used Car Buying Tips, viewed April 2021, https://www.carsguide.com.au/car-advice/top-10-used-car-buying-tips-29028

  3. Moneysmart.gov.au, Choosing Car Insurance, viewed April 2021, https://moneysmart.gov.au/car-insurance/choosing-car-insurance

  4. Carsguide, How to Sell a Car – Hints & Tips, viewed April 2021, https://www.carsguide.com.au/about-carsguide/selling-hints-tips-23578

  5. Vic Roads, Sell and Transfer a Registered Vehicle, viewed April 2021, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/registration/buy-sell-or-transfer-a-vehicle/sell-a-registered-vehicle

  6. CarSales, Do I Need A Roadworthy Certificate to Sell My Car?, viewed April 2021, https://help.carsales.com.au/hc/en-gb/articles/205449205-Do-I-need-a-roadworthy-certificate-to-sell-my-car-

  7. Practical Motoring, Top 10 Tips on Selling a Used Car, viewed April 2021, https://practicalmotoring.com.au/car-advice/top-10-tips-selling-a-used-car/

  8. Allianz Australia, Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Document, 
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708 (“Allianz”). Information contained in this article is accurate as at 23rd April 2021 and may be subject to change. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.

Give us a call, or send us a message. 

Any advice here does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about this insurance, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)/Policy Wording and Supplementary PDS (if applicable). Where applicable, the PDS/Policy Wording, Supplementary PDS and Target Market Determination (TMD) for this insurance are available on this website.

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 is the insurer of any general insurance products offered on this website.

Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited ABN 27 076 033 782 AFS Licence No. 296559 is the insurer of any life insurance products offered on this website.