Often mistakenly dubbed as Australia’s Capital, Sydney Metropolitan area is very very big. The area is no less than 12,100 square km – if it is a square, it’s roughly 110km by 110km. So, with public transport not in very best condition, the logical alternative will be to own a car to move around Sydney, especially if you have family with children.
Buying The Car
Sydney has wide range of car running on its road. Any brand or model car you want, the chance is it is here in Sydney (although sometimes it has different name). Some tips when you buy your first car in Sydney:
- Set you budget/maximum price
First thing first, define how much you want tospend on a car. Once you get soaked to it, it’s hard to really limit your budget. Better start with this. There is a car for every budget. Even for $1000. Around $10,000 will get you a very decent car.
- Buy from dealership.
You can buy car from private sale or from dealership. Buying privately will give you better price, roughly $1000 – $2000 cheaper than buying from dealer, but it has no protection for buyer. Buying from dealer will give you 3 months warranty where the dealer need to fix/replace any faulty item – giving you peace of mind.
Another factor to consider, there is a lot of stolen /rebirth car that being sold via private sale, unless you do thorough title check, you may end up with stolen or non-genuine car.
Shop around, visit 3-5 car dealer before even consider any car – check some online pricing before start. Beware: Sydney’s car salesman is very very good at its job.
- Don’t buy brand new car.
Buying brand you car will cost you premium money. Try to buy a car and as soon as you drive it away from the parking lot, the price has dropped maybe 20% if you re-sell it immediately. In other word, it has worst depreciation. Also especially if you need to borrow money to buy the car. It’s much better buy smaller/older/cheaper car but buy it outright with your savings.
My recommendation would be buy those 3-5 years old cars with low kms on the odometer. It will last at least another 5 years with proper maintenance and you have the biggest bang for your money.
Some websites to start: RTA website, http://www.carsales.com.au/, http://www.carpoint.com.au/, http://www.drive.com.au , http://www.autoweb.com.au/
Cost of Car Ownership
1. Registration Cost
This is the money that you pay to the government for owing a vehicle. The exact value varies from car to car, but normal family sedan will be around $300 mark. To register, for car that have more than 5 years old age, a safety check call “pink slip” is also compulsory. But the price is not that expensive: around $35 mark only.
You need to own a driver license first. Currently the fee is $47 for a year. (5 year license is $151, but depends on the number of year you have driven, you might not be able to get this one) – The cost to get the driving license (Driver Knowledge Test+ Driving Test) is $83. For for information check RTA website.
2. Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP / “Green slip”)
This insurance is compulsory to cover medical cost if you injured somebody on a accident. The cost varies according your driving record, but it will be around $600 – 700 mark every year.
3. Service/Maintenance Cost
Most of the modern car (made at year 2000 or above) will have the requirement to be serviced every 10,000km or 6 months. Unless you drive very long distance, you will only need to service your car twice a year.
The cost of service will vary according your brand of the car and the type of service needed (major service, minor service, 100,000km service etc). But be prepare to pay around $300-$500 for each service. It becomes around $1000 per year.
4. Comprehensive Insurance Cost
This insurance is not compulsory. This basically only to cover the cost of repairing if you have accident for both your card and the other party. It also cover some other liability that may arise from accident. For example: if you hit a house and the house collapse, you are liable to fix the house with all the content. Usually this insurance give you upto $20 million legal liability.
The cost of this insurance is roughly around $800 – $1500 (depending on your driving record, type of card and your address).
It’s actually a small price to pay for your piece of mind. Without insurance, a private car repair (panel beating, painting, etc) can cost you at least $5000. Remember, if you are the driver at fault, you need to fix 2 cars. I strongly recommend this insurance
Some big insurance company that can provide you online quote: AAMI, NRMA, GIO, Budget Direct, Bingle
5. Petrol Cost
Cost of petrol will depend of the type of car (the bigger machine the higher the cost), the way you driving the car, the traffic that you drive and the distance you travel.
But for the purpose of this article, say you have a car that consumed on average 10 liters for every 100km (or 10km for each liter) and travel around 15,000km per year (around 40km per day). The price of petrol is now around $1.10 – $1.40 (vary each day, let use $1.25 as average)
Then, each year cost of petrol = (15,000 / 10) x $1.25 = $1,875
6 Unexpected / Other Cost
Driving around Sydney with car could induce you with some unexpected cost such as parking fine, speeding camera fine and other infringement. For new driver, it’s very common to het these fine if you are not extra careful.
Also, some big ticketed item for your car from time to time will need replacement: shock absorber, tyres,etc. And although you are insured, every accident you need to pay the “excess” roughly around $600 or more.
You may also consider to become a member of Road Side Assistance at $92 per year. See NRMA motoring website.
Parking ticket also something that you need to consider. Although most shopping center will give you free (or at least 3 hours free) parking, some other premium places such Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour, Airport, Bondi Beach, etc will charge you parking fee ranging from $2 per hour to $15 per hour.
So, prepare to spend at least additional $500-$1000 on average per year.
So as summary, see below table for your cost of ownership:
|Yearly Cost of Car Ownership 2010|
|Safety Check/Pink Slip||$35|
|Compulsory Third Party/Green Slip||$700|
|Service / maintenance||$1,000|
Remember, the cost above is after you buy the car itself.
It’s not that cheap to have a car and drive in Sydney, but at least you have prepared.
See you on Sydney road !
great guide. Much needed for a foreign expat looking for a car to buy here. it sure is pricier than in the uk.
I had been planning and saving for quiet a while to buy a car…(95-98 model Integra) I work part time.
but you seriously made me thinking to drop the idea unless I get a good permanent paying job.
hummm… anyways this is very very helpful…post.
I am confused…….now!! hehe
This guide is great, thanks
As you say, this cost is after you’ve bought the car. According to the NRMA, the biggest cost of all, when owning a car, is the depreciation. The $6000 cost above works out at $115. They put the weekly cost as $130 for a Hyundai Getz, and $275 on average.
If you’ve got a family, you pretty much need to own a car. If you’re single, you might be able to hire a car for weekends away, use a car share, public transport, or best still, ride a bike. They are building more and more bike paths in Sydney, so you won’t have to risk all in the traffic.
If I see you on a bike, I will buy you a coffee, Denis.