Don't skimp on safety when buying a used car

Red may be believed to go faster, but choosing a car for its colour over its safety rating could be a fatal mistake.

Used car buyers can now access the latest research to be able to make the safest possible choice, with the release of the 2019-20 Used Car Safety Ratings Buyers Guide covering 300 makes and models.

The guide, developed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre, on behalf of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, the NRMA and other members of the Vehicle Safety Research Group, analysed records from more than 8.3 million vehicles involved in road crashes and 2 million injured road users in New Zealand and Australia between 1987 and 2017 to produce the ratings.

“The stats are clear. The safer the car, the better your chance of survival if you’re in a car crash, which is why you should always look to buy the safest car you can afford,” said Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole at the launch.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said the ratings were invaluable for people looking to buy on the second hand market.

“The safety benefits of getting into a five-star car are extensive, it can literally save your life and that’s why these ratings are so important,” Mr Khoury said.

“Aussies love holding on to their cars so it’s vital we provide them with as much information as possible to keep them safe.”

The guide covers about 300 different makes and models of cars and gives safety ratings out of five stars. There are five star vehicles in every category ranging from light cars and SUVs, through to people movers and utes.

It also identifies ‘safer picks’, which are vehicles that give excellent protection to the driver, cause less serious injury to other road users and include crash avoidance technology.

Some of the safer pick vehicles are almost 15 years old, showing that safety technology is available even in older vehicles. The ratings also show that some of the highest rating vehicles are priced between $5,000 and $10,000, which means there is a car to suit every budget.

Choosing a used car based on its safety rating rather than cosmetic choices like colour, number of doors or boot size could save your life.

Download the Used Car Safety Guide Brochure and Chart for your reference.