Check the spare tyre
Often these days, the standard spare tyre in many cars is a space-saver.
If you are regularly a freeway driver, space savers are impractical and even dangerous. They’re limited to 80km/h (dangerous, on the freeway), they wear out fast (so don’t wait until you get a repair) and they are hideously expensive to replace.
Another common problem is when the wheel that has the flat tyre doesn’t actually fit where the space-saver spare is stored.
Tip: Space-saver spares are next to useless, so try to avoid them wherever you can.
When will the next model be released?
You’ve just bought the car you always wanted and three months later….. a brand new model with better bells and whistles and a lower price hits the showroom floors.
This puts a major dent in your resale value so make certain to do your research.
Tip: Check car enthusiasts online forums – those guys always know when a new model is in the pipeline.
Why is the car so cheap?
When a particular car fails to live up to sales expectations, a dealership really has one option – to drastically discount prices for that particular model.
For example, Ford has done this with its Territory, and Holden does it routinely with the Commodore and Cruze.
But remember, these ‘crazy sales’ happen when nobody else wants to buy these cars and the dealer has run out of other tricks to sell it.
If a car struggles to sell when it is first released, it’s not likely to become popular years later either.
Tip: Make sure you do this research because it’s otherwise very easy to see yourself saddled with exactly the wrong new car, in the heat of the moment, on the showroom floor.
What’s the resale value?
There are two ways to lose money on a new car: A) You can pay too much for it up front, or B) it can rapidly drop in resale for the term of ownership.
Some cars (like BMW 7-Series) drop value very quickly.
Tip: At the very least, check the resale values of used examples of your make and model at the likely age you intend to sell yours.
Confirm the build date
The thing to watch out for here is buying a car that’s spent 12-18 months between emerging from the factory and getting to your driveway the first time.
When that happens, should you decide to sell it in, say, five years’ time, the dealer will try to trade it based on an age of six (or maybe seven) years. And they’d be right.
Example: You purchase a new Ford Territory in March 2016. The build date is 15 months earlier (December 2014). Five years later, you go to trade it in. To you, the car was brand-new in 2016. To the dealer, it’s a late 2014-spec car.