How to Purchase a Car

Hey all,

I am 18 years old looking to purchase my new car. However I have never been taught on how to purchase a car. I have found the car I want on auction at Pickles and I will pull the trigger on it. I have more than enough for it available in my bank account but I have no clue on how to purchase it. It is over east and I am in Western Australia so I will pay for the car + the freight.

Sorry if it is a dumb question.


  • +40

    Buy a Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai i30, Honda Civic, Mercedes Maybach or Nissan Pulsar as your first car.

    Just do it. No complaints, kid.

    • +1

      The car isn't fancy, it is cheap and reliable with good fuel economy

      • +2

        You should be able to get it in WA. What's your budget?

        • +3

          10k-15k, and I have 5k stored for insurance and repairs for the future

        • +26

          @BigTone: mate frankly, buy an el cheapo and drive it for at least 6 months before you move on to a 10k car, especially since it's your first car at 18 :) kudos on saving the money for it though

        • +1

          @BigTone: I'm going to go against the grain a little bit, and say at 18, for your first car (that you and your friends won't really care too much about the practicalities of), you can absolutely consider a hot hatch (just maybe not a Focus). Honda Civics, Hyundai i30s, Mazda 3, etc.

        • @BigTone:
          At that pricepoint, Buy something used but STILL UNDER FULL NEW CAR WARRANTY .
          Many new cars these days have option for 5 or 7 years warranty.
          Try to get something that is still covered (parts and labour) from when it was bought new. If you're buying something that costs nothing for the seller to fix any issues as still under warranty, there is much less likely to be hidden/undisclosed issues with the vehicle.
          Buying a used car for 15k when you know nothing about cars or mechanics, is a very risky thing. Even if you have it inspected by a mechanic pre-purchase, the mechanic that inspects cannot reasonably look at 'EVERYTHING' .
          I know someone that had a business selling used cars (but still under new car warranty) . It takes away so much of the potential issues if things go wrong, or any problems undisclosed at time of sale.
          Be sure to check if parts and labour are covered still under the new car warranty, and also I believe service intervals and logbook have to be done correctly, in order for the warranty from new, still being valid

    • +18

      +1 for Maybach. One of the best 1st cars you can have

      • +17

        Research shows a strong correlation between "driving a Maybach as your first car" and "being a billionaire at age 30". Coincidence? I think not!

    • +1

      One of them is not like the others. ;)

  • +25

    I have found the car I want on auction at Pickles and I will pull the trigger on it. I have more than enough for it available in my bank account but I have no clue on how to purchase it.

    STOP… This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

    1. What is the car? Post a link here. No one is going to bid on it don't worry.

    2. Has it been inspected independently?

    3. Does it have a full service history?

    4. Have you done a PPSR check on the car to see if it has finance owing? Or has been written off?

    Do you have any mates who are interested in cars Who can help you out? I would be really trying to buy a car in WA that way you can drive it, make sure you are comfortable in it, and know what you are buying.

    • Here is the link:

      Yeah I have mates who work on cars regularly that can help me out.

      • +25

        Focus' are alright, but you are MUCH better off with a 2015-16 corolla for $15k-$16000. It will last you decade+.

        Everyone who buys a Ford Focus wishes they bought a Japanese car instead.

        • Cheers, I will look into Corolla's

        • @BigTone:

          AIm for a Corolla Sport Hatch (more likely to be owned by a private owner) and don't buy an ex-rental. Check the logbook and rego history (usually inside the logbook)

        • +11


          Many, many Ascent Sports are owned by rental companies

          Source - Toyota Used Car Salesperson here πŸ˜‚

        • +3

          @BigTone: Corollas are boring.

          Go and look at a range of cars.

          Found this

          Very similar except it is in WA so you'll easily be able to arrange an inspection.

        • +2

          @knick007: Boring and cheap.

        • +3

          @Spackbace: Don't know about over your way, Spackbace, but the majority of rental Corollas over this side of the continent are povo pack Ascents. Guess that will change with the new gen Corolla, considering the Ascent has been dropped altogether.

          Source: ex-Toyota Business Manager/Salesperson here πŸ˜›

        • +1

          @knick007: Corollas and Camrys took out the prize in a recent poll for most boring cars on the road.

        • +5


          Ooohhh…. Toyota Salesperson vs Toyota Business Manager/Salesperson!

          FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! (+ rabble rabble)

        • +1

          @HighAndDry: if Spackbace was still selling shitbox Holdens, then yeah definitely a fight. :D

        • +3


          Oooohhhh it's ON!

          Not even completely joking… is anyone actually selling Holdens anymore? Last I heard they were about to be overtaken by Kia as a Top 10 car seller in Australia.

        • +1

          @HighAndDry: Spackbace saw the light bright and early. :)

        • +3

          yeah focus' gearbox had a lot of issues unfortunately.

        • @mbck:

        • @smuggler: My dad really wants to buy a 2015-16 Corolla with around 50000kms from a rental company, for around 15-16k, exactly like you said. No idea why. His logic was that since it was ex rental, it must've been serviced regularly. I told him most people drive rental cars like they stole them. Still in debate.

        • +2


          Ex-rental corollas are still fine, though. A lot of people have this idea that ex-rentals are driven by maniacs, but most people aren't speed demons.

          My cousin has had his ex-rental corolla for 5 years now.

        • @charlesli679: I bought a Corolla ex rental with 40,000 kms. I had it for 8 years without a single issue. Sold it at 115,000kms after changing a couple of sets of tires and two batteries. The best investment ever.

        • Corolla? Noone gets a b*****b in a Corolla. He's 18. His friends will laugh.

          At least get something cool looking like a PD i30 Active. Or a wrx. Or a golf gti.

        • @dogboy: Boring us a virtue with cars, no surprises. I find it hilarious that people buy hot cars to do 60 kph around the burbs, or even 100 on the freeway.

      • +22

        Focus and automatic. The gearbox will fail on this. I believe there's a class action against Ford for the issue.

        • +2

          This. Run away from this gearbox and do not look back.

        • @Vieira4: The rest of the vehicle is okay. Just remove the gearbox and drive away

        • @josho9: Yabba Dabba Doooooo.

      • +3

        Just run away. My first car was a 2014 focus and have to sell it low price due to gearbox stutter. Run and run fast! For your budget I'll suggest a golf, corolla or camry.

      • Looks good! I've been on the lookout for a 2015 Focus and I live in that area.

      • Mate, don't buy this focus.

        Source: I had one and am going thru with the independent review.

      • STOP. The automatic focus powershift transmissions were recalled due to faults. AVOID.

      • Just checking you've sat in one? I was interested in the Focus XR5 when it first came out until I sat in one at an auto show… really weird dimensions. Realised I'm too tall for it. Not comfortable at all.

        Sight unseen is always a bit risky. If you are going to purchase the car for $10k, maybe pay a couple of hundred bucks for a plane ticket first :D

        Certainly have it independently checked

      • did you buy it? what did it go for?

    • Agreed. Just what is so unique or appealing about such a modestly priced vehicle that you can't buy an identical or similar one in Perth for a similar price and save yourself a heap of hassles and expense?

    • +1

      To add…

      Pickles is generally ex fleet cars. Most damage (if present) is repaired before the auction. Most of Pickles' cars are for sale because the lease ran out, not because the owner is trying to off load it. It also means their stock is generally more conservative.

      At auction, always check the condition. At auction, cars are sold as is.

      Make sure the car is either registered or has a pink slip.

      Everything Knick007 said is true. Full service history can give you the remainder of manufacturer warranty, which is a valuable thing at the auctions because cars are sold as is. PPSR is also very important because money owing or a repaired write off will significantly impact your ability to sell the car later on.

  • +16

    Buying a car, especially an auction car, when you have no mechanical knowledge, experience nor ability to inspect is about as terrible an idea as it gets.

    The only way you can make it worse is to take a loan for it and/or drive uninsured.

    • -18

      Pretty much this. Its just an 18 year old who's probably seen a "cool" sporty BMW affordable on auction. Yet reality is far sourer than fantasy.

      Best to stick an Automatic, 9 year old, Japanese, midsized hatchback with a bog-standard 2L/4cy engine and under 100,000km's.

      • +19

        If you bothered to check the car the OP linked to in a previous comment, you'd see your assumption is wrong. OP appears to have done as much research as they can previous to coming here, I say kudos for that.

        • +1

          except they missed the big one about a focus transmission issue.

        • +1

          And the fact that I posted my comment before his one came up, it seemed quite obvious.

          Just wondering, as people are downvoting my above comment… do they realise they're also downvoting the suggestion of sticking to a tried'n'tested Japanese car. I mean there's a good reason why the Corolla and Mazda3 are high up on most people's recommendation here on OzB.

        • @Kangal: well you did post this after he said what model it was but you might not have seen the whole thread. People don't like assumptions it seems.

        • @spillmill:

          I meant to say, his comment was not up. I started typing first, paused, came back and posted.

          I never assumed people are stupid or fooled into these Euro cars… but OzBargain has changed me, just seen too many "high yield investment" threads pop up over the years.

  • +8

    MoneySmart and RACQ both have guides for newbies buying their first car.

    Choice also has a checklist of things you need to lookout for.

    With Pickles: always check the log book before purchase and make sure that it has been serviced by approved mechanics, and on time, or else you might not have much luck with the left over warranty. If warranty is important to you, that is. When cars are not serviced 'on time', the warranty on the cars are affected.

    • With the non-salvage cars for auction, are the confirmed to be serviced correctly if they have a full log book?

      • Not necessarily 100%. There are definitely occasions where a seller will go to a mechanic buddy and have them stamp the logbook full before selling, BUT that's a crime so it's far rarer (and basically non-existent if the stamps are from dealer approved mechanics), to the point where a full logbook is generally considered reliable.

      • Not necessarily. I once saw a Subaru Outback that was privately advertised as "full log book history". The seller conveniently posted pictures of the log book which indicated that it had been serviced every 30-35,000km - or something like 4 services/oil changes in 10 years. I messaged him to confirm, and he said yes, the photos of the log book were correct and no additional services or oil changes had been performed. Subarus are notoriously fussy with their oil changes so needless to say, I didn't investigate that car any further.

        • or something like 4 services/oil changes in 10 years.

          Service intervals are based on lower of kms or years though, so that's far from a full logbook - they've missed more services than they've had done.

  • +6

    Keep in mind - auction cars = no statutory warranty since Pickles is just selling on behalf of a private seller most likely. Consider getting it from their fixed price department.

    Don't buy interstate - it's a set of problems you're choosing to give yourself.

    • If I purchased from someone local in WA, wouldn't I still have zero warranty though?

      • -1

        Really unless you have a friend who knows about cars, which I suspect you dont, otherwise why are you here? then go to a dealer, or even buy new.

        Now if you were experienced then sure look at private etc

        You could also consider using a buyers agent - there are a number of these around

        Buying from Pickles (or anyone) interstate is crazy. Shipping is going to cost, also you have to go thru a change in rego to that in WA. I dont know WA's rules but on the east coast QLD, VIC, NSW you have a few more costs etc including in some cases stamp duty etc.

        Also Pickles adds a buyers premium to any final price.

      • Buying from a dealer comes with a warranty, but (not sure about WA) but it's something basically useless like 3 months and covering a very limited subset of parts. Having a mechanic check the car beforehand is the real important part, and driving it yourself to make sure you will subjectively enjoy driving it.

      • In Queensland, a statutory warranty applies for second hand cars sold that are less than 10 years old with less than 160,000km (off the top of my head). However, this warranty does not apply to cars sold at auction - they are sold as is. Western Australia may have something similar?

        Yes, dealers aren't great with honouring warranties, but buying a car sight unseen without a mechanical inspection and with literally no form of warranty is, in my view, crazy.

  • +9

    Dont buy Ford.
    Buy Japanese car at least.

    Many suggestion is not to pull the trigger on ozbargsin for a reason kid.

    Your $5k stored for insurance will soon be eaten by machanical failure.

    Fuel econ is not that important compare to machanical reliability.

    • +3

      Are Corolla's better in that aspect?

      • +2

        Corolla (Japanese) > Yaris (Thailand), for sure.

        • +3

          Corolla, I had a second hand one. Didn't break down once in 7 years.

        • +4

          Let me fix it for you…
          Corolla Hatch - Japan
          Corolla Sedan - Thailand
          Yaris - Japan

        • @sheepy: Nope Yaris available in AU is manufactured and assembled completely in Thailand. Though the failure rate far less than many other cars.

        • +1

          @Zedsdeadbabyzedsdead: First car was a Corolla. I swear it was almost as old as I was and honestly, almost in better shape when I sold it. Not a doubt in my mind it's still going strong somewhere.

        • @ashinmelb: Sheepy is correct, and Spackbace will back me up on this one as well. Yaris in current gen (along with earlier 2 gens, Echo for first gen) has always been sourced from Japan. HiLux since early 00's and Corolla sedan (in current shape) are the only 2 vehicles in Toyota Australia's lineup sourced from Thailand.

        • +2



  • +7

    Focus auto? Don't do it!

    • +1

      The normal autos are fine it's the dual clutch powershift that has the big issues which this car has.

  • +1

    OP, you just missed a real gem that we had (Corolla) - 1 owner, low kms, full history. Genuine middle-aged lady owner

    • +4

      I thought there was one of those in the back always at a dealership..

      • +1

        This was legit though, 2011 with 50,000kms

    • Genuine middle-aged lady owner

      Probably a dude who identifies themselves as being of the female gender.

      • +2

        As long as that identification extended to their driving….

      • who thinks that age is just a number

  • Least he isn't going after some hot jap tuner car as a first

    • -1

      Basically all Japanese cars are tuner cars except the recent sedans.

      • ……

        JDM cars specifically where insurance is ^^^^^^ &
        Aswell as fuel eco etc etc.

        Not exactly the same experience as a Corolla.

  • -1

    YOLO and you're only 18 once

    get a mazda rx8 and rev over 9000 !!!!!

    balance $ keep for rebuild / topup oil / pump fuel

  • Have you clicked on the condition report. Plus you have $1000 plus in delivery.

    • +2

      Partial service history plus high mileage for its year (was it a hire or other fleet car) and a list of scrapes, dents and scratches. It sounds like ithe previous owner didnt give a stuff about it. There have been so many new car sales in recent years that there is no shortage of second hand cars. Buy in WA, find the right car, and bargain hard. If the dealer wont budge on price, walk away and find another.

      • Sounds like an ex rental.

        • My experience with pickles is they over-exxagerate all the scratches/dents which is what you want, but yes it is important to inspect the car and also check for fault codes or mechanical sounds ect.

          And service history is important, a lot of rentals have stamps like "wth pty ltd" which is a rental group.. so you can tell a lot from the service history

  • -1

    Buy locally.
    Spend the extra at dealership …. What you saved aside for repairs would cover the markups at dealerships and you most likely won't have too much problems.

    All paperwork's sorted and you just test drive and pay to get the keys

  • +3

    Don’t buy it unless you have sat in it, and driven it and looked over alll aspects.

  • +4

    2015 car with 86000 kms on the clock… I'd be cautious

  • +1

    It is over east and I am in Western Australia

    I know if you go in person, you can bring a 'friend' (mechanic) to look it over for you. Absolutely no idea how you'd be able to do this if you're bidding online, and even from Pickles (whose cars are usually mechanically fine) I wouldn't be buying a car basically sight unseen without even a cursory check.

  • +1

    cost of shipping the car over is around $1k. You can check with freight companies that does this.

    Although i do not know much about ford focus, a friend of mine have recently been forced to sell his focus due to issues with the car. Japanese cars like the corolla can be way more reliable.

  • +2

    Surely there are lots of good privately owned used cars for sale in WA - no need to buy a car whose history is unknown from an online auction. Buy a Corolla or Mazda 3 with a full service history and enjoy!

  • +1

    Steer clear of the Powershift Fords …
    Website lists the models affected… seems this car is affected, I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole

  • +4

    Firstly, Not a dumb question at all. It's prudent and a sign of common sense to seek out advice before making a large financial decision.

    I'll leave the car talk to others as they no doubt have more knowledge about these things than I do, but I just wanted to say, not a dumb question.

    • +3

      Appreciate that you said that. Could not agree with you more. No question is a dumb question.

  • +1

    I'd research the logbook schedule on this car. It's close to 100k kms which could mean an expensive timing belt change within the first year or so of owning it. That's also a lot of kms for a 3yo car (maybe a ex-rental?).

    Plus the $1200 to get it across the country is also required. I did this from west to east via a dealer two years ago and it was troublesome enough. You might find that you need to get the car off the auction site within a very short time which may prove problematic as you need to involve the third party carrier - you are stuck with their timing.

    Buying a car at an auction, unseen, is a risk for even the experienced. You'll have no protection or recourse if things go pear-shaped.

    I don't know much about a Ford Focus but there's not a lot of love being shown here. My wife has a 10yr old Corolla though and she won't upgrade it. It is a very reliable and economical car.

    Surely there's a similar car to what you're looking at available in WA?

    • Another reason for a first time buyer to consider a Corolla as they use a timing chain, negating the need for replacement (unless something goes wrong).

  • Wouldn't it be easier just to buy local for your first one?

  • Buy a car close to home. One you can check or get checked before committing to buy.
    Never buy a car at auction as you have no idea what you are buying or if dummy bidders are pushing the price up.

  • Maybe look at Westside Auto if you're in Perth. They are located in Bentley.
    Just bought a car from there for a price no dealers could match just 2 months ago.
    Good luck with your first car. <= for cars under $15k

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