Buying a new or used vehicle can be a daunting process. Fortunately, people have been doing it for decades which has helped develop some fantastic guidelines on how to buy a car. We all know that BMWs depreciate fast and are expensive to maintain and that Toyota Corollas will outlive you, but here are a few general guidelines that apply to any vehicle to help narrow down what car to buy.

Buy a car that is 3 – 4 years old

Buying a car which is 3 – 4 years old comes with plenty of benefits in of itself. The first 3 – 4 years are when a car depreciates the most, buying after this time allows you to get the best bang for buck. As cars advance in technology, they use less fuel while producing more power, reducing the cost of running. Some cars are even still under warranty or extended warranty if the original owner purchased it.

Buy a car under 60,000 kms

A car with 60,000 kms or under still has a long life ahead of it, both in terms of maintenance required and many more kms of driving you will get to enjoy. A car with this many kms should have a complete dealer service history as most brand-new car owners will get it serviced at the dealer due to fixed or even complimentary servicing costs. One common issue with brand new cars is all too often the first owner players the role of tester, this leads to early buyers or a new model or refresh running into all sorts of problems and issues, mostly fixed under warranty of course, but a huge hassle having to work with the dealership. After 60,000 kms the chances of running into these sorts of issues dramatically decreases.

Buy the right type of car for you

The general rule of thumb in Australia and New Zealand is that sedans depreciate faster than hatch backs, so decide what matters to you – you could grab yourself a bargain sedan which is only 4 years old and a similar price to an equivalent hatch back. Cars with bigger engines will also be cheaper to buy than ones with small fuel-efficient engines, regardless of features, but may be more expensive to run and maintain. SUVs are the exception here, due to popular demand in recent years. SUVs will be expensive to buy, maintain and run!