NRMA’s top car finance tips

Car-loans

REAL DEAL: Looking for a new car? Make sure you have the right finance

Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases we all make in our lives, yet many people head off to the car yard unprepared.

A car is often a deeply personal purchase: buyers can be lead by impulse to make expensive decisions. Therefore, before kicking the wheels at the car yard or clicking the deals online, Kent Marlow from NRMA Car Loans says it’s important consumers do their homework.

“Even before car buyers start looking, they should know how much they want to spend, how much they want to borrow and what sort of loan they want to take out,” he says.

“Taking out a car loan can be confusing, so we want to give our Members the right information to take out the best car loan for them. We want to save them money, but we’re also here to help them through the steps they need to take to get their loan approved.”

NRMA Car Loans has compiled some top tips to help first car buyers, but it’s advice that applies to all car buyers.

1. Have a sensible budget

A high performance or luxury car can be seductive, but you can easily fall into the financial trap of paying back more than you can afford for something that loses its value the minute you drive it out of the dealership.

Plan your budget carefully and work out your finances so that paying off your car is not a struggle, but simply a managed expense. Make sure you know exactly what your outgoings will be by using a loan calculator, such as the one offered by the NRMA.

2. Balance your wants and needs

Wanting a car and needing a car are two very different things. Sometimes the two come together, but remember not to fall for bells and whistles that serve no purpose. What will be the car’s primary use? How often will you drive it? Do you need an MP3 connection? Make a list of everything you need and want and find a happy compromise.

3. Safety first

All cars sold in Australia are given a safety rating of between one and five stars, according to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program and the Used Car Safety Ratings report. The three major safety categories are crash avoidance, crash protection and driver comfort. Each car is assessed according to these and other specifications to determine its rating. While a smaller and older car will cost less, it will likely be far less safe than larger and later vehicles.

4. Research! Research! Research!

You can never be too prepared. Get online and read up on different models, safety features and financing. And don’t forget to test-drive the cars you’re interested in! Visit NRMA Car Loans for information.

Have you ever bought a car on impulse?

Fostering safer drivers

NRMA Safe Driving School

SKILLING UP: Research also tells us that the more supervised driving practice a learner driver undertakes the lower the chances of an incident.

While safer roads and safer cars are fundamental to minimising crashes and fatalities on our roads, an often overlooked – but crucial factor – is driving ability.

A responsible and well-trained driver is far less likely to be involved in a crash, and prevention is better than cure.

The RMS Safer Drivers Course gives participants background knowledge about safe driving practices they might not otherwise have picked up while getting their L-plates or passing their driver knowledge test. It is also valuable for learner drivers, as it counts for 20 hours in their logbooks.

The first module includes an interactive classroom session where students learn the importance of low risk driving. The second module is a practical in-car session where an instructor helps each student put into practice the low risk mindset explored in module one.

It is not possible to ‘fail’ the course, so students can’t waste their money, but both modules must be completed before the 20 hours will be recorded in their logbooks.

The NRMA is one of the leading providers of the Safer Drivers Course. So far, more than 20,000 – or 33 per cent – of participants have completed the course through the NRMA. When asked what their initial motivation was for attending the course, many said it was the incentive of obtaining 20 hours credit in their log books. Upon finishing the course, however, many leave with a greater respect for the journey to becoming a safe and independent driver.

You can find out more about the Safer Drivers Course from NRMA Safer Driving. Gift vouchers for this course are available from the NRMA Online Shop.

If you were offered a free driving lesson from an expert, would you take it?

Reviewing the facts about side mirrors

REFLECTION: While most modern vehicles now come standard with convex side mirrors, according to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) side mirrors can be also be flat.

REFLECTION: While most modern vehicles now come standard with convex side mirrors, according to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) side mirrors can be also be flat.

In recent weeks, NRMA’s magazine Open Road has received hundreds of emails about convex side mirrors, with some readers questioning whether they pose a safety risk because they make it difficult for a driver to judge the distance of traffic approaching from the rear.

The benefit of a convex side mirror is that the shape acts like a wide-angle lens, reducing a driver’s blind spot and thereby lessening the risk of a collision while changing lanes.

“There is a strong argument that the first priority in rear-view mirror design is to enable the driver to sight a vehicle to the rear, rather than judge its distance accurately,” says a spokesperson from the NSW Government’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

“Drivers also need to be aware that while a rear-view mirror assists in overall road awareness, a look over the shoulder is still essential to ensure safe manoeuvring.”

While most modern vehicles now come standard with convex side mirrors, according to the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) side mirrors can be also be flat. In fact, a convex mirror can be replaced legally with a flat mirror, provided the mirror conforms to design rules and its reflective surface is made of shatter-proof material or safety glass.

Side-mirror-diagram

The reflective surface of a driver’s side mirror must be at least 120mm x 200mm. Australian Design Rule 14/02 requires a driver’s side rear-view mirror to provide a field of view (as shown in the diagram below) of the road to the side and rear of the vehicle.

The ADRs specify that the driver’s side can have either a flat reflective surface or a convex reflective surface with a radius of curvature that is at least 1200mm.

The Road Users’ Handbook states that “before you change lanes, give your signal in plenty of time, check your mirrors and look over your shoulder for other vehicles”. The head check is necessary to ensure it is safe to change lanes – drivers should not depend on their mirrors alone.

What is your opinion on convex mirrors? Do you like or dislike?

Convex mirrors on cars

Scam alert: fake infringement email targets drivers

SCAM EMAIL: If you receive an email like this, do not pay any money and do not click any attachments or links. You should delete the email straight away.

Be wary of scam emails pretending to be infringement notices issued by a government authority such as the Australian Federal Police.

The “Traffic Infringement Notice” email and the website appear to be authentic, featuring convincing official design and branding and replicating official statements about the offence. The email includes a “see your traffic infringement” button, which links to a website where you are prompted to download a file containing details of a penalty notice. Do not download this file. It contains ransomware.

If you receive this email you should delete it. These messages are a scam and the ransomware could severely impact your system.

The scam emails and the website could easily be mistaken as authentic. Current examples circulating are generic and do not refer to the recipient’s name, address, vehicle or registered owner details.

The scam emails and the website could easily be mistaken as authentic. Current examples circulating are generic and do not refer to the recipient’s name, address, vehicle or registered owner details.

Please see these resources from the Australian Government on how to manage cyber crime:

What is ransomware
Stay smart online – avoiding scams and hoaxes

Have you received any scam emails like these recently?

Can you participate in a new driving study?

OPEN ROAD: Annually around 1,300 people die and 33,000 are seriously injured on Australian roads. Using a new research method, the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), this study aims to provide Australia with answers to some significant road safety questions.

OPEN ROAD: Annually around 1,300 people die and 33,000 are seriously injured on Australian roads. Using a new research method, the Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), this study aims to provide Australia with answers to some significant road safety questions.

Car drivers are needed for Australia’s first Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), being led by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with several other leading universities. This study is part-funded by the NRMA.

The aim of the study is to improve road safety in Australia by better understanding how people drive in normal and safety-critical situations.

For the study, 360 participant drivers will have their own vehicles equipped for four months with a compact data collection system that records their driving behaviour, the behaviour of their vehicle and their interactions with other road users. The equipment is designed so as not to damage the vehicle or interfere with normal operations of the vehicle.

All vehicles will be equipped with the data collection system at a designated installation site by qualified technicians in Sydney or Melbourne. During the installation process, participants will be invited to complete a series of questionnaires, two physical tests (grip strength and rapid walking) and some non-invasive vision tests.

After that, participants will drive their vehicle as they normally would and, after four months, complete an exit questionnaire and have the data collection equipment removed by a qualified technician.

Participants, who complete the study satisfactorily, will receive two (2) $125 Coles-Myer Shopping vouchers (one after installation of study equipment and one after removal of study equipment).

To be eligible for this study, participants need to:

  • ​be between 20 and 70 years of age;
  • hold a valid NSW or Victorian driver’s licence (full licence only);
  • own a registered passenger vehicle (sedan, coupe, hatchback, station wagon, or sports utility vehicle/four-wheel drive) or have owner permission to use a registered passenger vehicle; and
  • drive at least 10 trips a week.

To register your interest, and for more information, please visit the study website at www.a​nds.unsw.edu.au or contact Dr Wu Yi Zheng by sending an email to ANDS@unsw.edu.au​. Thanks.

Australian Naturalistic Driving Study FAQs