Everything you need to know about
Our no-nonsense guide to safe cars saves you from awkward conversations.
It's easy to think that all cars are safe - but the truth is many new features and technologies make your chance of surviving a crash or avoiding serious injury much higher. So check out the tips below before you hand over that cash.
for your protection.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) rate car safety on a five-star scale. You want the safest car you can afford, so if a car scores less than 4 stars, don't take the risk.
Go for a younger model.
Only 10% of cars made in 2003 had a 5 star ANCAP rating, in comparison to 60% of all new cars in 2009.
of your ride.
Have a peek at body parts, protection devices and what they do.
- Sound structural integrity means things won't collapse on top of you when it comes to the crunch.
- No cracks! A quality, undamaged windscreen helps keep everything rigid and in place.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps you maintain control in risky situations.
- Anti-Locking Braking Systems (ABS) helps you stop in time, before things get out-of-hand.
- For all-round protection, make sure your car has airbags in all the right places - front, side, curtain and knee.
- Make sure you're properly restrained with pretensioning seatbelts.
- If we all protected ourselves by owning the safest car in its category with the latest safety features, road trauma (such as death and serious injury) could be reduced by 40%.
Don't let love blind you.
Take it for a test drive, and make sure you're happy everything works properly.
- Ease of parking
- Cooling and heating
- Turning circle
- Extra roomy back seat!
Don't get carried away just because it looks and feels good.
Get it checked by
Protect yourself. Get an independent inspection report from a qualified mechanic or RACQ.
Make your excuses if:
- You’re not satisfied with its condition
- Agreed repairs haven't been carried out
- The engine has been replaced with a hamster on a wheel
Do you know
where it's been?
Check it’s not stolen or written off.
Make sure there’s no money owing on it. Search the Personal Property Securities Register to find out. It costs less than $5.
Visit the PPSR website or Phone 1300 007 777
It'll get you out of sticky situations.
- Any document you've signed
- Any contract
- Warranty documents
- Safety certificate
Make sure you check that the safety certificate is valid and that all the vehicle details are correct too.Safety certificates
Don't fall for a cheap ride.
Buy the safest car you can afford, and it’s likely to be the start of a beautiful relationship.
While these tips will help, they're only a quick overview. For more comprehensive guides to vehicle safety and purchasing, check the sites below.
You have more protection if you buy from a licensed motor dealer rather than through a private sale. Weigh up the pros and cons.Check licensed dealers
Practise safe car ownership.
Regular servicing will ensure your car stays safe. Only make safe modifications. Find out more about what you can modify.Vehicle modifications