BUYER'S GUIDE

Ready to Collect

Whether you're picking up a vehicle that's brand new or second hand, there are a few administrative tasks you need to take care of first. This guide will help to ensure everything is in place to help streamline the pick-up process.

There's nothing quite like slipping behind the wheel of your new car for the very first time. And if it's come straight from the factory or ship, there's the extra pleasure of breathing in that unique new car smell. It's an exciting day.

But whether you're picking up a vehicle that's brand new or second hand, there are a few administrative tasks you need to take care of first. This guide will ensure everything is in place for a seamless pick-up process.

Checklist

  • Money order or bank account details (most dealers won't accept personal cheques) so you can finalise any outstanding payments.
  • Your driver's licence so you can drive your car home.
  • Registration papers if you're trading in an old car.
  • Insurance documents.
  • Registration plates if you're doing a plate swap.
  • If buying privately, take a camera to record photos of the cars original condition (as protection against any marks or damage that you might not spot until later).
  • If you still owe money on the car you're trading in, bring a letter from the bank or lender to confirm the amount still owed.
  • If you are taking out finance with the dealer, bring in all requested documents such as payslips, proof of address etc.

What to bring on the day

There are some important documents you need to bring along when the keys are handed over. You'll also need to show additional documentation if you're buying a company car, trading in an old car, or have never owned a vehicle before. Our checklist will help you.

Print out this handy list to help you on collection day. From making sure you have your driver’s licence, to bringing the right documents, checking over your new car, and making sure insurance and registration is all sorted, it’s all here.

Download checklist PDF

Before you drive away

Taking the time to thoroughly go over your new car, even if it's brand spanking new, can save you time and hassle in the long-run. Read our list of things to check and what to do if you spot a problem.

Taking care of registration

Whether your car is registered with the previous owner, or whether it's brand new and the registration is being organised by the dealer, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure the vehicle is correctly registered.

Before you sign the contract

While you might be tempted to hit the highway immediately, it's important that you spend a bit of time with the dealer on pick-up day going through your purchase. Reputable dealers will take the time to make sure you understand everything you need to know, and give you an opportunity to double-check everything.

Don't be scared to ask questions.

Signing the contract

If you're buying a brand new car, before you can drive away or take delivery, your dealer will prepare a contract for you to sign covering the agreement and any additional requests. Make sure you read it carefully and understand everything before signing.

Don’t forget insurance

Accidents do happen. Even on the very first day. So make sure your new car is properly insured from the second you turn the key in the ignition. Read about your insurance options and why it pays to shop around.

If you do spot a problem

If there are any problems picked up, negotiate with the car dealer when they are to be fixed. Some dealers will offer to correct minor issues on your first service but if it's something significant it's probably best to get it addressed straight away.

If you agree to problems being fixed at a later date, ask the dealer to confirm the agreement in writing before you leave. If the car is second-hand and purchased privately, try to negotiate a reduced price with the owner to cover repairs.

If you have any problems that can't be worked out, contact the Department of Fair Trading in your state.

Before you accept delivery or drive-away checklist

  • Are all the accessories you ordered correctly fitted?
  • Does the interior look perfect? Check for any loose threads or blemishes on the upholstery.
  • How does the paintwork and glass look? Check for any chips, scratches or rust especially if it's come off a dock.
  • Make sure all oils and coolants have been topped up.
  • Inspect the paperwork to ensure the vehicle's built-date is the year you expected?
  • Check all lights, door locks, window winders, seat adjustment mechanisms and audio or satellite equipment are working properly.
  • Check that the car has been registered to you and that all your details are correct.
  • Is the spare wheel, jack and tool kit in place?
  • Do a final test drive with the car dealer to make sure everything sounds and feels perfect.
  • Don't forget to go through the car's handbook, warranty books, service books, security info, radio code/immobiliser code and of course, ask for any spare sets of keys.
  • Make sure you have customer support contact details - a phone number and logon details for the manufacturer's owner's portal if they have one.

Don’t forget insurance!

You want to make sure that your new car is properly insured from the minute you drive off. It's important to speak to your insurer before the final transaction is made with the dealer or owner.

Get some quotes from car insurance companies and make sure that you are able to afford the likely cost of the insurance premiums for the car you intend to buy. As always, shop around for the best deal and the most appropriate cover to suit you.

Read more about insurance must-knows

Taking care of registration

Once the paperwork has been signed and you're officially the owner, the registration has to be transferred from the seller to the buyer. It's up to the buyer to make sure the registration transferal is done legally and promptly. You can do this online or by visiting your nearest state transport authority's office. Rules may differ from state to state. In NSW for example, you have 14 days to register the vehicle before penalties apply.

If you're buying a brand new car that's never been registered, some car dealers will organise the registration for you. But if this is your first time owning a car, and you've never had anything to do with your state's transport authority, you will need to go to a registry and provide proof of identity. Contact your state's transport authority for more information.

Read more about registration