Whether you’re driving along the Great Ocean Road, going cross-country through the bush, some sandy dunes, or rolling through the city, Australia is a vast and diverse land that’s best experienced on four wheels. Before you disappear into the sunset, there are a few things you’ll need to think about. Are you travelling alone, or with family or friends? Which places do you want to visit? Most importantly, which vehicle should you choose for your trip? Here are 5 tips to find the perfect vehicle for your Aussie road trip:
- Shop til you drop
Finding a car doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you know what to look for and what to avoid. To begin, if you’re a first time car buyer, or are new to Australia, check out this handy p-platers guide to buying your first car in Australia for essential information on purchasing a vehicle in Australia. Next, it’s time to start shopping around. If you’re buying second-hand, do your research. There are plenty of free sites online that will give you information on car makes, models, and price calculators to ensure you know how much your potential new vehicle is worth.
- What you NEED, not what you WANT
Before buying a vehicle, you need to ask yourself some questions. Where will you be travelling? What will the terrain be like? Will you be sleeping in your vehicle? What distances will you be covering? Will you need a 4WD or AWD vehicle, or will 2WD be enough? If you are traversing off-road terrain, it is worth thinking about an AWD or 4WD vehicle. Although they are generally more expensive to purchase and run, these vehicles are more powerful, and are much better at handling steep and slippery situations.
- Safety first and foremost
There is nothing more important than the safety of your vehicle. There are a few steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is safe enough for you. If you’ve decided to buy your car second-hand, make sure it comes with a roadworthy certificate, this certificate not only tells you the car is in decent condition, it also means you will be allowed to have it registered. Make a note to enquire about the safety features of your vehicle when you have it inspected by a mechanic from a service like the NRMA. Work out which safety features you need, and don’t settle for anything less.
- Budgeting for now and later
When choosing a vehicle, you need to think not only about the up front cost of the vehicle, but also about how much it will cost to keep it running. To begin with, make sure your car is in good condition when you purchase it. Spending an extra few bucks for a decent vehicle will save you money in the long run. Next, consider fuel economy. Fuel in Australia is quite expensive, particularly if you are travelling in a larger car. Take a look at the Australian Government’s online fuel guide for your vehicle’s fuel economy rating and go from there.
- Make sure it’s comfy
Driving long distances can wreak havoc on the back and neck. Make sure you take your vehicle for a good, long test drive before signing the papers. Some things to think about include the long hours you will be spending in the driver’s seat, whether your seat is high or low enough, has enough padding, whether your passengers will be comfortable, and whether or not you will need air-conditioning.