How to get the best deal on a new or used car

New car sales plunged a record 48.5 per cent in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sales plummeted from 75,550 in April 2019 to 38,926 vehicles in April 2020. This was the biggest fall in almost 30 years. Passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles were all hit. That suggests that the industry lost over $1 billion based on an industry accepted average sales price of $32,500.

It is in fact the 24th month in a row that car sales have declined.

There has been a call by car dealers for government incentives to encourage drivers to upgrade to new vehicles. Calls for vehicle taxes to be abolished or reformed have also been made.

Reform should work in both the dealer’s and consumer’s favour. For the consumer that would men cheaper cars, however before any reforms are made we seem to be in a perfect storm to pick up a bargain.

As such, it may be a good time to get a car loan. InfoChoice offers you the choice of over 95 car loan lenders to help get you started. 

And if you need car insurance, comprehensive, third party and third party fire and theft are also on the InfoChoice menu.

They should be your first two steps, but here are nine other tips to help you get the best car deal.

  1. Do your research

First and foremost, do you research. Find out what the fair price is for your dream car. You can look at a number of different dealerships in different suburbs to see how much they are selling that car for. If it’s a used car, check for private sellers as well as dealerships.

  1. Pick the right time to shop

When it comes to purchasing a brand new car, Sunday afternoons are a great time to go car shopping. Car salespeople may be desperate for some extra sales to meet their targets before the weekend is over. Where targets are involved, going in a week before the month is over is also a good strategy

  1. Don’t negotiate with someone who you find intimidating

If you feel as if the situation is being controlled, back away. It should feel like a win-win situation.

  1. Use your poker face

If the seller can see that you are very eager then they have won before it has even started. If this is the case, it may be very hard to negotiate a lower price or even to negotiate any extras or upgrades.

  1. Get the seller to go first

The opening number defines how your negotiation will go. Once you give them a dollar figure, you can’t go any lower than that. Always let the seller give  the first price.

  1. Barter the price down 

The sellers often expect that you will try to barter the price down, therefore they bump up the price. So don’t miss the opportunity to barter! With brand new cars, there may not be much movement on price but you could be lucky enough to get yourself some free extras like car mats. With used cars, there is usually room to barter.

  1. Investigate the cars history:

If it is a used car, are there any outstanding debts on it? Any speeding fines associated with it? Is it stolen? You can do a security check by calling your states transport authority.  If it’s a used car that you are after, find out the following and bargain the price down:

  • How many kilometres has it done? 
  • Does it have service records?
  • How often were services done?
  • When is registration due?
  • Is there any damage to the car?

            Get it checked by a mechanic to make sure it’s in good condition.

  1. Take it on a test drive: 

This is the most essential part of purchasing any new or used car. You will know if the car is for you the second you sit in the driver’s seat. Check that you fit comfortably in the vehicle and can see everything that is necessary. If the car isn’t comfortable as soon as you get in, it probably won’t be any more comfortable after you take it home.

  1. Sometimes you just need to walk away

Walking away from a bad deal before you commit is crucial. Particularly if you are using finance for the purchase. You don’t want to be left paying for a car that was not worth the price you paid in the first place. 


This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.

Home Loans: The comparison rates are based on a secured loan amount of $150,000 and a term of 25 years.

Personal Loans: The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless otherwise indicated in the product name with^, in which case, the comparison rate is based on a loan of $10,000 and a term of 3 years. The comparison rates are for unsecured personal loans only for the relevant amounts and terms. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise.

WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

The products compared in this article are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market and influenced by a range of factors including interest rates, product costs and commercial and sponsorship arrangements

InfoChoice compares financial products from 145 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Australia. InfoChoice does not compare every product in the market. Some institutions may have a commercial partnership with InfoChoice. Rates are provided by partners and taken from financial institutions websites. We believe all information to be accurate on the date published. InfoChoice strives to update and keep information as accurate as possible.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Do not interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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