How to Tell if Your Ideal Car Will Be a Fuel-Guzzling Money Pit

How to Tell if Your Ideal Car Will Be a Fuel-Guzzling Money Pit
This article is sponsored by CARS24.

Buying a used car is fun. But it’s also fraught with risk. From your safety to your savings, there are lots of factors to consider before pulling the trigger. 

One of the biggest worries hanging over my head before I bought my last car was that I’d find my ideal one – low kilometres, price within my range, cute colour – only to have it start conking out within a few months and end up quickly costing more in repairs and replacements than I paid for the car in the first place.

There are ways to avoid this, though. To help you gauge if a car is going to be a money pit in the long run, take note of the below.

Compare fuel consumption

When it comes to running costs of a car, fuel is (painfully) constant. It’s unavoidable (in non-electric cars), but your fuel money can go further with certain models, so it’s worthwhile doing some comparisons.

Fuel consumption labels are now required to show how many litres a car uses for every 100km it travels. The label consists of an ‘urban’ figure to indicate fuel consumption in inner-city conditions, ‘extra urban’ for when you drive longer distances and higher speeds and then a ‘combined’ figure to reflect driving in both kinds of environments. 

You want to look for a low number of litres per 100km – the lower the litres, the further you’ll get for less. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average rate of passenger vehicle fuel consumption was 11.1L per 100km in 2020. Anything below 6L is considered very fuel efficient. 

Inspect the car thoroughly

It’s an obvious one, but you need to check your ideal car out to spot any potential problems before you fork out the cash. If you’re not car-savvy, you can shell out up to a few hundred dollars for a mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection to save you from buying a dud that needs endless expensive repairs.

Better yet, there’s now a new way to buy used cars in Australia where all the extensive inspecting is done for you. Enter: CARS24

CARS24 is a 100% online trader that puts all the cars it owns through a rigorous 300-point inspection and on-road test. And if anything isn’t up to scratch? It’s fully refurbished before being listed onsite. For extra peace of mind, there’s also a seven-day return policy and six-month warranty in place. Each car comes with a roadworthy certification, service history and, because it’s 2022, if you live in a metro area, it gets delivered straight to your door – for free!

Choose the right fuel type for you

Assessing how you’ll use your car is an important step to avoid pouring money into it later down the track. Consider where you’ll be driving, how often and how long you expect to own the car to ensure you choose the most cost-effective fuel type for you.

Diesel cars are more expensive to buy and fill up, but they will get you more kilometres per litre. On the other hand, petrol is cheaper to fill up with but won’t get you as far. So if you’re just zipping around the city, a petrol car might save you money. But if it’s going to be a work car that travels big distances for a long time, then diesel could be a better choice.

I may be kicking myself for not knowing these tips earlier, but they’re firmly in the back pocket for when my current car inevitably blows the budget or gets written off because I didn’t inspect it well enough. 

If you’re in that boat now and keen to delegate all the stress to someone else this time around, check out the CARS24 website. You can find your ideal used car, have it fully inspected and organise it to be delivered – all without getting up off the couch!

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