If you’re lucky enough to win one of Johnny & Davo’s $500 car fails, you could put it toward your next set of wheels – but how do you know if you can really afford it?

Sometimes we’re desperate and sign anything put in front of us – as long as it gets us that shiny new object – but you should pump the (non-existent) brakes and have a think, as well as do your homework!

Here’s our tips and tricks to help you get behind the wheels of a new car and not pay through the nose while you’re at it!

Making sure you don’t break the bank

Yes, we all want a Ferrari. (Not the servicing fees though!) But back in the real world, sometimes our budget allows for a twenty-year old hatchback – and that’s okay! You don’t want to run into trouble by buying something you can’t really afford and regretting it later on. Since we all need finance at some point, you need to figure out how much you can afford in repayments. How? Find out with a car loan repayments calculator. Play around with numbers, but you need to learn: how much you intend to borrow, at what interest rate, and for how long.

Remember to factor in insurance, rego, fuel, servicing, and fluffy dice (optional) too.

Going for broke(r)

Maths is so Year 10. Interest rates, over five years, blah blah blah – ain’t nobody got time for that! We already have the calculator to help us make a rough estimate – but then there are interest rates and comparison rates. Comparison rates are full fat interest rates that include most fees in the percentage. Think of comparison rates giving you full body shots on Tinder as opposed to just high-angle duck face ones being interest rates – they give you a complete picture. If you can’t swipe right on your own, go to a loan matchmaker – a car loan broker. They can hook you up with lots of cute loans so you can find the one you can settle down with, minus the huge price tag.

What about buying used?

Buying used is an option; but you need to do due diligence. They have a lower upfront cost but may cost way more in maintenance, fuel, and interest rates. Lenders are hesitant to approve loans for used cars due to their low value. If you do go that route, you should:

Get a REVS check

This is your first port of call. REVS will tell you if the car you’re eyeing off is registered or not, whether it’s a write-off or stolen, is still under finance – or anything else nasty that spells scam.

Lemons are for gin, not cars

You need to do full vehicle inspections before you commit to buying anything. This goes beyond tyre kicking: that means checking the chassis for dents, checking if the engine doesn’t stall or struggle, whether the doors work, the lights blink, and the oil…oils. If you aren’t a petrolhead (like us) you can download a full guide from Consumer and Business Services – it’s a massive help!

So go forth and find that car that you’ve always wanted – and remember to do your maths and check everything is hunky dory first!

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