Top tips to avoid the hidden costs of a new car

Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 - 10:29

Purchasing a new car is an exciting process, but it is also one that comes with many headaches, most of them related to costs. Thought that you would just pay the sticker price and be done with it? Think again – there are all kinds of hidden costs that you may not be aware of when buying a new vehicle. So, before you venture into the car dealership, read these top tips to avoid the hidden costs of that new car you’ve been contemplating. 

Consider running costs

Before you decide on a specific model, analyse the vehicle from all points of view. Yes, it may seem cheap now, but how much will it cost you in the long run? Does it use a lot of fuel? Are auto parts affordable? Are they easily available, or do you have to order special ones, directly from the manufacturer?

Remember that every special feature the car may present is a potential money-sucker, should it break down and need to be repaired. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled; do the math first, and consider everything. Read our handy article on car costs on the rise in Australia. 

Have an idea of what you’re looking for

Don’t just go in and start wandering, without a clear goal in mind. You should know what model you are after and what features you’re interested in. This way, you don’t run the risk of having the dealer tack on a set of expensive extras you don’t really want or need. Remember that every car comes with a basic set of features and anything on top of that is paid with good money. It doesn’t matter how good of a “deal” it is, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

Compare and contrast

Cars don’t have a fixed price; in fact, the cost differs depending on the dealer. That’s why you should shop around, before signing anything. Who knows, maybe a different place has a better deal. If you find yourself somewhere where the price is a bit steeper, simply point out the difference in price; you may just be able to lower the cost of your car. You never know until you try.

Learn the difference between Manufacturer List Price and Drive Away Price

Which one is advertised? Manufacturer List Price (MLP) is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the price from the manufacturer. However, you can’t get away with only that. Add to that insurance, registration and dealer delivery, and you get the Drive Away Price, which is several thousand dollars more. If you also want to opt for things like a different colour or automatic transmission, it’s going to go up another few thousand. Be aware of the difference.

Check out dealer accessibility

Is the dealer close to where you live? Are they outrageously expensive? Those are important aspects to consider because you’re going to need to go back for things like warranty and service. If you have to drive forever every time or it costs you a fortune, it’s simply not worth your time and money. Look for something else.

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