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Important Info for Owning a Car

Car registration and licence

Every car on the road must be licensed (registered) to an owner so whether you get your first or one hundredth car, you are required to get your car licensed to your name. For cars to be licensed in your name you must fill out the correct forms. All the information can be found here . Also you are required to update your registration regularly and you can tell when this needs to be done by the licence sticker on the bottom left of your windscreen. By updating this licence it means that you as the driver are covered under compulsory 3rd party insurance.
3rd Party Insurance gives you unlimited protection in the event of personal injury or death that is caused by you as a result of negligent (improper) driving. However 3rd Party Insurance does not cover you against damages to any vehicles or property.

Important facts:

  • If you do not update your car licence by the expiry date, then after 15 days you will no longer have 3rd Party Insurance.
  • If you don’t update your licence after 3 months of expiry you will have to go through the process of re-licensing your vehicle which will include taking it through a vehicle examination centre (which can be frustrating and sometimes expensive if they find anything wrong).

Getting a Car

Getting your first car or motorbike is an important step as it involves buying one of the most expensive things in your life to date. So it is important to choose correctly and make sure that you get ‘bang for your buck’ as the old salesmen used to say. The first thing that you should think about is what type of car you need (if you need a cheap car to drive short distances perhaps a V8 is not for you; so make sure you know what you’re after).

Tip: It could be a good idea to make a checklist of what you want your car for and work out what you need, this will give you a good idea of what type of car will suit you.
Be wary of used car salesmen who may be out to sell you a bomb – maybe take some one with you to back you up if need be.

Some things worth checking on the car are;

  • How old is it?
  • How many kilometres on the clock?
  • How much petrol it uses?
  • Is there any rust?
  • How much longer is it registered for and has it been regularly serviced?
  • When were the brakes last checked?
  • Has it ever been involved in a serious accident?

Where to get a car from

There are lots of different places to buy cars from. The most obvious is car dealers but this is quite an expensive option for a first car. Second hand cars are probably the best way to go and you can get them from:

  • Ads in the paper from private sellers
  • Second hand car yards
  • Ads online
  • Friends or family (or friends and family of friends and family!)

Paying for your car

If you’ve saved up enough you can pay for your car upfront with your own money. This is a really good way to do it but isn’t always possible. The other options are taking out a personal or car loan from a bank or lender, or working out a payment plan with the seller you are dealing with. Go through all the finer points of the contract before you sign anything. Make sure it’s a realistic contract that you’ll be able to stick to. Find out what happens if you can’t make payments or if you want to make payments early etc. Once this is all agreed on, you and whoever you’re buying the car off need to sign a written agreement. This is so important- watch Judge Judy to see what happens if you don’t have a signed written agreement! Its usually best not to get finance from a car yard but to see the bank first to see if you can get a better deal with the interest rate.
It is important for you to check that your car does not have any money owing on it because if it does then someone else (eg a bank or finance company) may be able to repossess the vehicle you have purchased. To check out the car click here .

Cost of Running Your Car

  • Petrol (depending how much you drive it could vary from around $30-$70 a week)
  • Registration
  • Regular services
  • Insurance for your car or just third party in case you hit another car
  • Surprise emergency costs, eg. New tyres, new batteries

Handy Hint:
If something is going to go wrong with your car Murphy’s Law states it will always happens when you least want it to! So try putting some money aside so you are ready for it. Also make sure to budget for servicing and licensing.


It is a good idea to learn about maintaining your car. To do this try and find someone you know that will be able to help you to keep your car running as best as it can. Arguably, the most important things are checking your:

  • Battery water levels
  • Oil levels
  • Water or radiator fluid
  • Tyres (pressure and tread)
  • And also learn how to change your tyres

It is always a good idea to register your car with RAC, especially if it is old. Check out the Free 2 go program on their website which offers free roadside assistance for 17 year-olds.