How to save money in the long run when buying a car

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Buying a car is a big financial commitment, so it’s common sense that you take steps to ensure that the vehicle you’re looking at buying won’t cost you a mint down the track.

Part of a vehicle’s overall value is determined by the condition it’s in. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may miss important repairs in places you can’t see, short of jacking the car up and having a professional take a look. Missing these prior to purchasing could see you parting with hefty sums of money, on top of the purchase price.

Did you know that you could get any prospective car inspected before going ahead with a purchase?

If you’ve found a car you would really like to purchase, having a pre-sale inspection of the vehicle conducted, will ensure that any hidden nasties are revealed before you fork over your hard-earned cash. Any discoveries can then be used to negotiate a reduction of the sale price.

Cars purchased interstate can also come with their share of risk, as interstate vehicle laws are different with regards to registration to those registered in NSW. So that nice car you purchased from someone in Queensland, it may cost you more just to get it on the road.

NRMA MotorServe pre-sale inspections are more than just a safety check. They also include:

  • A comprehensive visual check of the interior, exterior, underbody and engine compartment.
  • A driving test.
  • Test of the battery, electrics and pressure.
  • Paint gauge.
  • Fluid checks.

We’ll also check the vehicle’s compliance, log books, spare tyre, paint and panel; providing you with a comprehensive report, including photographs, which will provide information on any issues found.

We provide you with peace of mind in providing you with the knowledge of anything that may compromise the vehicle’s value or lead to ongoing costs.

For enquiries and bookings, call 1300 770 116 or check out the webpage.

Towing? Do your research

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When we’re in the market for a new vehicle it’s customary to take into account its looks, level of comfort and fuel economy, as well as other factors like safety and handling, before we even contemplate signing the dotted line.

But if you intend to use it to tow a caravan, boat, trailer etc., you must do your research. Otherwise you might find out on the wrong part of your holiday that your SUV can’t tow 3000 kilograms of caravan after all. Sometimes the towing limits change with specification levels, tow bar type, engine or transmission choice and with model updates.

Before purchasing the vehicle you need to understand a few things:

  • the legal requirements for towing;
  • the manufacturer’s recommended towing specifications;
  • the vehicle’s towbar specifications – many manufacturers offer different levels of towing ability depending on the tow bar package purchased.

Did the dealer explain the towing capacity when the trailer is braked or unbraked?

Most vehicles are able to tow up to 750kg without the need for brakes to be fitted to the trailer. However, if you do want to tow a caravan, boat, horse float or trailer that weighs more, it will need to be fitted with its own brakes that activate when you press the brakes in the vehicle. We recommend an inertial or motion sensing brake controller for the best performance.

While they may assure you the car is up to the task, you can’t take their word for granted. If you’re not provided with enough information, you might feel like they just want a sale – and you could be right.

On the other hand, when buying a caravan you’ll need to shop within the limitations of your car. There’s no point buying the perfect caravan that weighs 200kg more than your vehicle can tow, or one that will put too much load on your tow ball, because you’ll never be able to tow it anywhere or you’ll have to buy a new car. Again, double-check the facts. If you’re not provided with the necessary information, don’t do the deal.

Do you have any other tips?

- For more information on towing, check out our Learning how to tow story.
- Make sure your caravan or trailer is covered next time you hit the road. NRMA Road Assist Premium Care covers up to 3.5 tonnes including trailers and caravans and Premium Plus covers anything up to 10 tonnes including up to $3,000 in breakdown benefits. 

Think twice this ANZAC weekend

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We remind motorists that double demerits apply from 22 to 25 April 2016 inclusive. Please drive safely and take extra care on the roads. 

Also, on 4 January 2016 the standard penalty for mobile phone offences rose to four demerit points. Since the end of last year, mobile phone offences have been included in double demerit periods. This means those caught talking or texting illegally while driving during this ANZAC weekend will incur eight demerit points – a huge amount when the threshold on unrestricted licences is 13 points.

The double demerit point scheme now applies for the following types of offences:

  • Speeding
  • Illegal use of mobile phones
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Riding without a helmet

The scheme is designed to encourage safe and responsible driving. Working in conjunction with financial penalties, demerit points provide a strong incentive to drive within the law.

Double demerit periods were introduced in 1997 in NSW. By law, double demerit periods must be advertised and awareness campaigns are co-ordinated with traditional enforcement and increased police numbers. See the RMS Demerits points page for a full rundown of offences and penalties.

Do you think the Double Demerits scheme is an effective way of preventing dangerous driving?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

- Renew your NRMA Membership
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Sydney Harbour Tunnel Fire and Evacuation Exercise 17th April

Be prepared, plan ahead during Sunday night's Sydney Harbour Tunnel fire and evacuation exercise.

Be prepared and plan ahead during Sunday night’s Sydney Harbour Tunnel fire and evacuation exercise.

APP: Motorists are being encouraged to plan ahead and take alternative routes with the Sydney Harbour Tunnel closing to traffic on Sunday night.

“The Sydney Harbour Tunnel Company will close the tunnel from 8.30pm on Sunday, a few hours earlier than the usual closure for maintenance, so we can carry out an emergency exercise to test incident management under real conditions,” a Roads and Maritime spokesperson said.

“Fire and evacuation procedures must be tested to ensure incidents can be cleared quickly for the safety of all motorists.

“As with all tunnels in NSW, it is a requirement for robust measures to be in place should a fire or evacuation occur.

“Closure of the tunnel is not taken lightly but when it comes to safety, we need to ensure our procedures are seamless.

“Sunday’s exercise will involve simulating a vehicle fire and the subsequent emergency procedures required.

“Key learnings from this exercise will be shared with other tunnel operators with the aim to advance safety in other tunnel operations,” the spokesperson said.

Northbound lanes will be closed from 9:30pm and reopen at 11pm.

Southbound lanes will be closed from 8.30pm and will remain closed until 5am to allow routine tunnel maintenance to be carried out.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will be open but is expected to be busy. Motorists planning on travelling through the city after 8.30pm are encouraged to use the Anzac Bridge or Gladesville Bridge.

For full details of the tunnel closure, go to www.livetraffic.com or call the Traffic Information Line on 132 701.

10 tips to keep the kids safe while driving these school holidays

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Charging devices, pre-loading movies, planning safe rest stops and counting NRMA Patrol Vehicles are among a new list of safety tips released by the NRMA ahead of the start of the NSW school holidays this weekend.

Almost 40 per cent (36%) of crashes caused by distractions occurred as a result of distractions from within the vehicle. As many as one in 10 fatalities in NSW have been attributed to driver distraction.

NRMA Senior Policy Advisor Dimitra Vlahomitros said bored children in cars could become an annoying distraction for drivers.

“Kids aren’t used to road trips as part of their normal routine so they’re more likely to become bored, agitated or fight with their siblings,” Ms Vlahomitros said.

“Parents need to remember: reducing the risk of distraction means reducing the risk of a crash that could result in a devastating end to the holidays.”

Road trip recommendations from the NRMA include:

  1. Load up fully-charged smart devices with family-friendly movies (in case of poor internet service) and make sure each child has their own headset so the only tunes the driver hears are the ones they choose to play through the radio
  2. Refreshments are also important for a stress-free journey. Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water.
  3. If packing toys, try to make sure they’re not sharp (crayons or pencils) as these can become dangerous in the event of having to stop the car suddenly.
  4. Play games to take the monotony out of the trip, these can include getting children to follow their route along a map, count windmills or even count NRMA Patrol Cars!
  5. Sleep is the only effective guard against tiredness: so don’t cut your sleep short to reach a destination sooner.
  6. Drive to the conditions of roads, not to the speed limit.
  7. Make sure you stop in a safe place every two hours and get out of the car; plan a beach stopover for the kids if driving on the cost.
  8. Pack plastic bags and baby wipes for unexpected spills or accidents.
  9. Pack a ball to encourage the whole family to actively enjoy rest stops.
  10. Make sure your child restraints are fitted properly and if you’re not sure, have them professionally fitted or inspected.

Ms Vlahomitros said sticking to these tips as well as applying a good amount of common sense can help make a family holiday a safe one.

“With the right preparation, long road trips can be enjoyable and safe for everyone,” she said.

What tips do you have to share?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

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