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Biggest car buyer regrets


Laine Gordon

By Laine Gordon

3 min read

Buying a car is one of the biggest financial decisions many of us will make but unfourtunately it's a decision some of us may end up regretting.

To avoid heartache, and potential financial ruin, it pays to do your homework before driving away in your new purchase. In fact, the homework should begin well before you apply for a car loan.

It can also help to know where buyers before you have gone wrong – so here are the top car buyer regrets to consider and avoid.

Faulty vehicle

The top complaint among motorists surveyed was that they’d been sold a lemon. Almost one third said they purchased a faulty vehicle, one that had developed faults over time, or a vehicle that turned out to be of poor quality.

Identifying a faulty vehicle can be difficult for the untrained eye, and buying a pre-loved car can be risky business with some unscrupulous operators in the market, so consult a professional before signing on the dotted line.  

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Running costs blowout

When buying a car – whether new or used – don’t just look at the sticker price. Factor in other costs such as car insurance, servicing and fuel economy.

A study by Canstar Blue found that one in two new car owners who purchased a vehicle in the past three years were already looking to replace it with a smaller, more efficient, model to help cut costs.

Didn’t do enough research

The key to success is to do much of the research before you hit the car yard. Go online and read up about a vehicle’s reliability, running costs and depreciation, and shop around for the best value deals.

If you’re buying a used car, consider doing further research using the car’s unique serial number, also known as the Vehicle Identification Number, to determine whether the car has been written-off or stolen. The Personal Property Securities Register also exists for would-be buyers to check whether a vehicle has a security interest registered against it.

Lost money due to depreciation

Cars depreciate on average by around 14 percent per year in the first three years, then up to 8 percent after that. If you buy a vehicle on finance, then you could be still paying off a depreciating asset in years to come.

Unless you buy a classic or collectable vehicle, there’s no way to completely avoid depreciation. Some cars hold their value better than others, so it pays to do your homework to avoid disappointment.  

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