A Student’s Guide To Buying A Used Car

June 18, 2020

Written By: Bessie Hassan


Your first car is one of the highlights of your student years. It’s a symbol of freedom and independence, but it’s also a big financial commitment – even after you’ve driven it home.


Purchasing a quality used car can save you thousands, especially if it’s only a couple of years old. But there are a number of important things to tick off the list before committing to a sale – after all, you don’t want to drive off with a dud.


Here’s a student’s guide to buying a second-hand car.



Work out a budget

Before rushing off to the dealership, you need to work out what you can – and can’t – afford. For students, this can vary a lot depending on your living arrangements and level of employment.

You’ll need to decide whether to pay for the car in full with your savings (and a bit of help from the bank of mum and dad) or take out a car loan and pay it off over a longer period of time. If you choose to take out a loan, make sure you can afford to keep on top of regular repayments. At Zupps we offer on-site finance and our team of Certified Business Managers can assist you with your car loan needs.


You’ll also need to factor in some wriggle room for your CTP green slip, car registration and insurance. Together, these can add up to $2,000 to your bill on average, but without them, you can’t hit the road.


Do your research

Once you’ve got your funds sorted, it’s time for the fun part! Do your homework across a variety of makes and models. Important features to look for include the vehicle’s safety, fuel efficiency and odometer reading.



Go through a reputable seller

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a used car its important to make sure that you purchase through a reputable seller. Check out customer reviews online and make sure the seller’s up to scratch.

Always make sure you inspect the vehicle in person before committing to the sale as well. You’ll need to go through the logbook in detail and see proof of regular servicing. It can also be worth checking the vehicle on the NRMA’s CarHistory report. For a small fee, they’ll provide you with information about whether the car has been stolen, its safety rating, what its odometer reading should be and any previous sale listings.


Take care of your new car

Once you’ve purchased your new ride, make sure you keep it in good nick. When you eventually decide to resell, you’ll get a much higher asking price if the car has been kept in good condition.


Regularly clean the exterior to keep it free from rust and dirt, and keep the seats and upholstery in good condition. You should also stick to the recommended servicing schedule to prevent mechanical trouble down the track. If possible, try and set aside an extra $20 per week to put towards your next service.


Student life can be stressful, but as long as you’ve done your research, stick to a budget and keep on top of maintenance, your car will be one less thing to worry about.



Bessie Hassan is money expert at Finder