Using the internet to buy your next car

Living in a remote community means it is often difficult to have a good look around before buying a car. Did you know it’s possible to go shopping for a car from the comfort of your own home?  ICAN has put together a list of must go to websites to use when shopping for a car online. Buy a car the smart way and use the following websites to your advantage.

(1) Shop around

Presuming you’ve worked out what type of car you want and how much you’ve got to spend, you can visit these websites to have a shop around. ; ; ; or

The advantage of looking for a car online is that you can get an idea of prices without having the pressure of a car salesman trying to get you to buy the first car you see. Whilst shopping around these virtual car yards, it is important to take note of who is selling the vehicle. Is the car being sold privately or through a licensed motor dealer?

Licensed Motor Dealer

Motor Dealers that advertise online should be licensed. A licensed dealer will provide a statutory cooling off period and a statutory warranty. A licensed dealer will also have registered the vehicle on the Personal Properties and Securities Register.

Private Sale

If the car you like is being sold privately, it probably costs less than the same vehicle at a licensed motor dealer. It is important to remember though that you aren’t protected with either a statutory cooling off period or statutory warranty when buying a vehicle this way. So if something goes wrong you’re in trouble.

Prevention is better than the cure

To avoid something going wrong you need to get the vehicle checked by the RACQ or an independent mechanic (see vehicle checks below) to make sure you’re not buying a lemon. Some other checks you’ll need to make are;

  • Personal Properties and Securities Register to ensure that the vehicle is currently owned by the personal selling it to you.
  • Police check to ensure the car isn’t stolen
  • Test drive to ensure the car drives well
  • Must have a current QLD Department of Transport and Mains Roads Safety Certificate. The time a safety certificate is valid for varies depending on who is selling the vehicle:
  • licensed motor dealers: certificates are valid for 3 months or 1000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue
  • all other sellers: certificates are valid for 2 months or 2000km (whichever comes first) from the date of issue.

NOTE: It is the seller’s responsibility to get the certificate before they put the car on the market. For more information go to

  • Last but not least make sure you check that the registered owners name, number plate, vehicle identification number (VIN) and engine number corresponds with the cars registration certificate.

(2) Price Check

So you’ve found a couple of cars that you’d potentially like to buy, it’s now time to check if the price is right. You can do this at . It is important to take as much information down about the car you want as possible. Some info examples would be the age of vehicle, number of kilometres, make, model, auto or manual, engine size and number of doors. NOTE: It is also possible to get an idea if the price is right from looking around the sites listed above.

Red Book can also give you an idea of how much money you’d get for a trade in on your current vehicle.

(3) Vehicle Checks

So you’ve found a car that looks good and is the right price, what next? Once you’ve found the car you want you should organise for it to be inspected by the RACQ or an auto association in your state. RACQ offers a wide range of vehicle inspection services, catering to a range of needs and budgets. The benefits of having an independent inspection is that it prevents you from spending a lot of money on a vehicle that doesn’t meet your needs and any major faults with the vehicle can be fixed before purchase. If your still in the shopping around stage and want to do your own inspection you can download the ICAN Car Buying Checklist from our website. The checklist will give you a good idea if you want to get it professionally inspected.

NOTE: You should always personally inspect the vehicle before purchase, as photos on the Internet and magazines can be misleading. or

(4) Time to Pay

Once you’ve found you ideal car for the right price and have had it checked by an independent mechanic, you can go ahead and make the purchase. If you’re getting finance for the vehicle or have decided to save, info choice is a must go to website.

Once your at the info choice website you can compare interest rates and fees on car loans, personal loans as well as interest baring savings accounts. If you’d like to get an idea of how much you can afford to save or pay into a loan you can use ICAN’s online budget planner.

If you need help with any of the steps mentioned above or would like further advice call an ICAN Financial Counsellor on 1300 369 878.