Everything you need to know about

Safe cars

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.

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Star rated

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.

Check the safety rating here

The anatomy

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%.
Structural integrity Sound structural integrity means things won't collapse on top of you when it comes to the crunch.
Windscreen No cracks! A quality, undamaged windscreen helps keep everything rigid and in place.
Electronic Stability Control Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps you maintain control in risky situations.
Anti-Locking Braking Systems Anti-Locking Braking Systems (ABS) helps you stop in time, before things get out-of-hand.
Airbags For all-round protection, make sure your car has airbags in all the right places - front, side, curtain and knee.
Seatbelts Make sure you're properly restrained with pretensioning seatbelts.
Protect ourselved 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.

  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Reversing
  • Ease of parking
  • Cooling and heating
  • Turning circle
  • Extra roomy back seat!
Download full checklist
Don't get carried away just because it looks and feels good.
Dont let love blind you

Get it checked by

an expert.

Protect yourself. Get an independent inspection report from a qualified mechanic or RACQ.

Get it checked by an expert

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.

Do you know where its been
Visit the PPSR website or Phone 1300 007 777

Keep

all your

paperwork.

It'll get you out of sticky situations.

Keep all your paperwork
  • 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.

Use protection.

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

Even the safest car is only as safe as its driver.

So always drive safely.