Buying First Car

HI guys, I'm looking for my first car any suggestions what to do when buying?. Advice is much appreciated.

Comments

  • +3 votes

    By no means a complete list, but as a start …

    • ALWAYS get a pre-purchase check - either the AA mobile service or take the car to one of the vehicle testing stations.

    • ALWAYS take the car for a good test drive on different types of roads (suburban streets, motorways, etc.) that you will be driving on. Take along someone else so one of you can listen for strange noises when the other is driving. Also park somewhere quiet (a local park for example) where you can have a good look around the car throughly, inside and outside, without the salesdroid interfering. You should try to get any problems fixed as part of the (pre)sales agreement or at least a price drop.

    • ALWAYS ignore pushy salesdroids, and if they get too pushy just walk out and go somewhere else. (Many salesdroids work on a commission basis, so they are really only interested in pushing you into spending as much as they can so that they get paid more. It's the same with real easter agents, etc. Commission selling, whether in full or as bonuses, should be illegal - it only makes the salesdroids greedy and self-interested!)

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      Another one is to get a service history, if possible. Especially if it's a high mileage used car. That way you will know whether or not the car is nearing, or needs, expensive servicing (e.g. a cam belt replacement) or has already had it done.

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    It's good to try to get on the motorway when you test drive, some problems only surface when driven above 80 km/h, eg. vibration (though may not be anything serious, but…)

  •  

    Avoid Ford. Nough said.

    • +1 vote

      Toyota seems to be a good choice for a first car.

      • +1 vote

        In general, the Japanese cars tend to be more reliable - Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda - but some of the other Asian brands like Kia have gained ground too.

        The Suzuki Swift seems to be a popular choice, but it's best avoided since it has a rather dismal safety rating.

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          I bought a Mazda 3 2015 brand new. Never again. Had a shit tonne of issues from getting the transmission replaced, to cabin clicking noises, etc. Most of the issues are commonly posted on Mazda forums.

          I would recommend searching for forums for the car you are buying and check for any issues that are commonly reported by the owners.

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            @Chaoscreater: Personally I'd be reluctant to buy a brand new car, even if I had the money. Not only are you more likely to get you potential manufacturing issues (although they will be covered by warranty), but you'll also lose a ton of money as soon as you sign the purchase papers. You're better off to buy a second-hand car that is about four or five years old and has done a low mileage.

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      These days, thanks to all the joint ventures and intermingled ownership, there's often no real difference. Most Ford models, for example, are simply rebadged / facelifted Mazda models.

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      What are your thoughts on Ford Fiesta's though? I've been eyeing them up, and they seem to have a reputation of being reliable and really fuel efficient.

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        My mother had one of the newer 2000+ models briefly. She didn't like it - too difficult to see out of the back, felt too big and cumbersome. She replaced it with a VW Polo.

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          Pretty much all the car manufacturers have had issues - VW with their emissions cheating, various models with the airbag recall, various recalls for all sorts of cars.

          Part of the reason is the idiotic rush to update models every year, which means they don't get proper testing. Then there's all the fancy new (mostly pointless "features" and gimmicks) they keep adding which simply adds more ways for things to go wrong.

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    Out of my interest, what is your budget and what kind of car you looking for, eg. Sedan, sports, hatchback, economical, suv etc?

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    Hey there I'm most interested in a manual weekend car since I do not want to drive to school during traffic. so I hope this information helps. My budget is quite low $5k is the max since I'm still not competent at driving.

    •  

      I heard good things about the Toyota Mark X. Rear wheel drive, manual and some tidy models can be found in the 5k mark. And as others have already suggested… you need to do test drives, mechanical checks etc

    • +1 vote

      I'm still not competent at driving

      Neither are most of the other people on the roads. ;-)

    •  

      Personally for a first car I wouldn't be looking more than $2-3k. Get something economical and with a small-ish engine (1.8l or smaller).
      You want to be looking at how much it is going to cost to insure, how much registration will cost and how often you need to get a WOF.
      I would be looking at something 2000-2010, less than 200,000kms either a hatchback or small sedan and something that isn't often used as a boy-racer car.
      You will need to be keeping a look out as to whether it has timing chain or cambelt, if it has a cambelt how long ago it was changed (can be $1,000+ job for some cars such as Subaru's). Check how much tread is on the tyres (are they going to need replacing soon). You can also check what brand tyres are on the car (this can be an indicator as to how well it was serviced, cheap tyres = cheap owner).

  •  

    Something like this, reasonably modern, manual, reliable Toyota, economical etc.

    https://www.trademe.co.nz/2241456125

    But it also depends on what style of car you like. Hatchback, sedan, station wagon, sports. Have you seen any particular cars, brands etc you like?

  •  

    I quite like the look off of Subaru's are there any good ones available?

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      As Hamster said, it really depends on what type of car you want - for example, there's zero point buying a two-seater roadster if you want to be able to transport six friends and equipment on skiing and surfing trips.

      It's also largely down to personal preference, which is why you really need to test drive them. You may like the look of a car, but then discover don't like how it drives, doesn't have much visibility out the back, etc.

      All Subaru cars (except one below) are all-wheel drive, so are a bit safer on wet or icy / snowy roads, but do also use a bit more petrol than the two-wheel drive makes.

  •  

    I don't have any specific vehicle recommendations but here's my buying tips based on past experiences.

    1: CHECK all the little switches and knobs.
    Looking back at my first car in the early nineties, it was only when winter arrived I realised the rear demister didn't work. Obviously if everything else is okay and the price is right, you might overlook some small issues - but you want to be aware of them.

    2: DON'T believe everything you read in the ad.
    You wouldn't believe how many 'one lady owner' ads I came across whose phone numbers were answered by men. That means 'always garaged' or 'never driven hard' could be fudging the truth a bit as well.

    3: DO ALWAYS run a finance / stolen check (like carjam.co.nz).
    I committed to buying a motorbike in the UK and then found it still had money owing on it. The guy claimed it was a mixup and he'd thought it was fully paid. He was going to finalise the small outstanding amount with the finance company in two weeks time. Bollocks to that and I ran. But he'd seemed decent and easy to deal with before that. You just can't tell.

    4: DO ALWAYS get a vehicle inspected before you commit (pre-purchase inspection) - EVEN IF it has a brand new 1 week old WOF.
    I bought a car with a brand new MOT (UK equivalent of our WOF) and drove it for a year - only for it to fail the next MOT because apparently one of the tyres was put on backwards!! I guess the dodgy seller had put good tyres on to get the MOT and then swapped the old ones back on (poorly). That leads me to….

    5: DO TRUST your intuition. If something feels off, walk away! Buy with your head, not your heart.
    The guy that sold me that car had a very dodgy feeling about him - he was smoking in the car when he picked me up from the train station, he was fidgity and trying too hard to play down the poor state of the interior ("We don't like to tart them up or anything when we sell them you know…we want to be honest blah blah blah").

    I should have walked away but I'd travelled 2 hours by train, always wanted one of those cars, not found any others closer, and needed a car that week for a new job. It would have meant another 2 hours by train and starting my search again from scratch on a Sunday evening. So I went ahead with the purchase, but in the long run that car had more issues and I should have trusted my gut.

    The guy had apparently bought it for his daughter, serviced it all himself and then found the insurance was too expensive for her and that's why he was selling it. But when it started to run poorly after 6 months the mechanic said the throttle bodies were filthy, he'd had to clean the o2 sensor which might still need replacing (expensive) and it had been a long long time since that vehicle had had its oil changed. Apparently he'd spent a lot of time flushing it out etc.

    Lesson learned - approach warily, don't listen to any sob stories, get a feel for the person you're buying from and if anything feels off, just walk.

    That said there are plenty of good cars. I got my mother a small Toyota Corolla hatch 10+ years ago and apart from regular servicing, batteries, tyres etc, it's never caused us any issue. Not everyone is out to rip you off and sometimes a mechanical failure is just bad luck. But learn from our experiences - just be a little cautious and do get the finance and pre-purchase inspections done.

    Good luck.

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