Handy tools, resources, and checklists for buying your first car.
Used car checklist
Thinking of buying a second hand/used car? There are a few quick checks you can do yourself to assess the general condition of the car (before you have a formal vehicle inspection).
- Look for obvious signs of rust.
- Windscreen wiper & washers
- Check they work properly and don’t smear.
- Engine & Vin Numbers
- Check that there is a compliance plate. This shows the car was either built in Australia or has been imported.
- Engine & exhaust
- Check for excessive emissions/smoke from the engine. If there is excessive exhaust smoke, check with a mechanic.
- Crash damage
- Look along the car’s contours for ripples in the paintwork.
- Make sure the car comes with an immobiliser.
- Check for frayed or damaged seatbelts.
- Check the operation of all electrics and lighting systems.
- Check that the tyres are the size recommended by the manufacturer and that they are roadworthy or legal.
- Fluid levels
- are the levels for engine oil, radiator inhibitor and the brake system OK?
Used car safety ratings (UCSR)
Safety features are there to help you avoid a crash and there are lots of new ones being added to cars every day. Look out for some of these when you’re on the used car hunt:
- AEB – Autonomous Emergency Braking.
- ESC – Electronic Stability Control.
- ABS – Anti-lock Brake System.
- Blind spot warning.
- Traction control.
- Brake assist.
- Lane departure warning.
For more information on the above and other safety stuff check the most up to date UCSR.
Other tools & resources
Buying a car
The Department of Transport provides some extra information on the process of buying or selling a car.
Make sure you have the right insurance for your new car. RAC Insurance is a great place to start.
Visit the RAC website for more about car insurance
Still stuck on what sort of car you are looking for? Check out Australia’s Best Cars for some inspiration.
Try the Car finder
Once you turn 17, sign up for RAC free2go to receive on year of free roadside assistance.
To apply for your free roadside assistance visit the RAC website
RAC Auto Services
Keep your new wheels in top shape with 10% off all labour on servicing and repairs at any of RAC's 9 Auto Service centres.
Head to the RAC website for more information about RAC Auto Services or to book your car in today.
Looking to buy your first car? RAC car loans are easy to apply for and come with great rates to get you on the road sooner.