car finance credit score

Car Finance and Your Credit Score: What You Need to Know

Car finance can be a fantastic way to get the car you need, but it’s essential to understand how your credit score impacts your ability to get approved. Your credit score is one of the most critical factors that lenders consider when reviewing your car finance application. Here’s what you need to know about car finance and your credit score.

  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate

One of the most significant ways your credit score impacts your car finance is through the interest rate you’re offered. Lenders use your credit score to assess the risk of lending you money, and if you have a high credit score, you’re seen as a low-risk borrower, and you’ll typically be offered a lower interest rate. Conversely, if you have a low credit score, you’ll be seen as a higher risk borrower, and you may be offered a higher interest rate or even be declined for car finance.

  1. Late Payments Can Damage Your Credit Score

Payment history is one of the most important factors that affect your credit score, and late payments can significantly impact your score. If you make late payments on your car finance, it can lower your credit score, making it more difficult for you to secure future credit.

  1. Applying for Too Much Credit Can Lower Your Score

Every time you apply for car finance or any other type of credit, it can lower your credit score. When you apply for credit, lenders conduct a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can lower your score. If you apply for too much credit at once, it can have a more significant impact on your score.

If you’re looking for car finance Sunshine Coast, it’s essential to understand how your credit score can impact your chances of getting approved. At Journey Finance, we work with a range of lenders to help you find the best car finance deal for your situation, regardless of your credit score. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your car finance journey. Our team of experts can guide you through the process and help you find the car finance that works for you.

It’s important to keep your credit score in good standing by making timely payments, avoiding too much credit at once, and taking steps to improve your credit score over time. With the help of Journey Finance, you can find the right car finance deal to help you get on the road and start living life to the fullest.

1800 861 009

Test Driving a new car is important

Why Test driving a car before buying is important

Buying a car is an expensive decision.  You can research online, you can read reviews or talk to current owners, but there is no better way to understand if a car is right for you and your loved ones than to test drive.

Annoying car salesman riding shotgun

Test drive vehicles are known in the industry as demonstrators.  The car is usually registered, and the dealer does not get the car for free, they have purchased it, and eventually, before 5,000km has been put on the odometer they will have to sell it.

In most cases you won’t be able to test drive by yourself – the dealer will cite insurance clauses or they plain just don’t trust you not to throw the handbrake on or to flog the car they’ll eventually have to sell.

For a car you are unfamiliar with, a good salesperson will point out all the features and benefits, usually ALL the positives – this can be helpful but also distracting.  If you go into a test drive with these key points in mind, no matter what the salesperson does to continue his pitch from the passenger seat, you will have a good idea if the car is suitable.

Is the test drive car the same?

You may be looking at a particular variant, but the salesperson has put you in the model up, or even the top of the range.  There is obviously a tactic to this (showing you the best!) but also economics at play for the dealership. They cannot have every models variant as test-drive vehicles, so they usually will purchase a top-spec car for test drives.  If you are going to demo, you are going to show the best!  Of course, they hope that you will fall in love with the features of the top model and go for it.

Some things to ensure you find out is whether the car you are driving have the same

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Body style
  • Wheel size and type
  • Technology
  • Specifications

If your test drive car is not the same spec, make sure you find out the exact differences and see if you can live without them.

Try out the tech

In this modern age, cars have become computers/entertainment hubs/navigation/voice activated assistants on wheels.

Whilst these generally are great additions to a car and a ‘nice to have’, do you need them?

A lot of people now will want Android Auto or Apple Car Play as standard – it makes long hours of driving much better and integrates your phone into the car.  Like the prior tip, make sure the model you are looking at rather than the car you are testing has the tech you are looking for.

  • Is the audio crisp and loud enough? Does it have enough bass?
  • What driving technology is included? (Lane departure, cruise control, adaptive cruise, driving assistance, parking sensors, reverse camera etc) These technical marvels can make your ownership of the car that much better if you will use them.
  • Is the Bluetooth easy to connect and setup?
  • Is the satellite navigation intuitive and easy to use and understand?
  • Where are the USB ports for charging? (if any) Do they make sense, or will they be inconvenient?

Ask a lot of questions about the buttons and tech, if you are not going to use them in the future, what is the point of spending the money if you do not want or need it?

Power trip

We are not talking about a drag race machine here, but if you needed power to get out of trouble is it there?   Check how the car accelerates from a standstill and whilst cruising.  Many things can contribute to a car feeling underpowered including the type of transmission.   If you do not put it through it is paces in the test drive, then you really will have no one to blame if you find issues later.

Give me a brake

Most modern cars come with some amazing technology when it comes to brakes.  Testing the brakes is still important.  Do they feel powerful? Is there lock up?  Do you feel like the brakes are adequate? You probably will not be taking the car for a blast around a racetrack, but brakes are probably the most important system in any car.

Peace and quiet

Wind the windows up, turn the air conditioner and radio off and listen for noises.  Tyre, wind, and engine noises can be a deal breaker for some.  For others, not enough engine noise!  If you can get on a highway and do 100km/h legally, that would be an ideal test for wind noise and ‘drone’ from the exhaust system.  Whilst you are up at that speed, how does it feel? Solid on the road?  Try different road surfaces to see how well the suspension works over speed bumps or contoured roads.

Carry on

Some people forget about things they will have to carry.  Is there enough luggage or boot space?  Test it out. Put the seats down if necessary and visualise the things you normally cart around.  Shopping bags, golf clubs, surfboard, kids’ bikes, prams, camping gear, fishing rods. Think about the things you carry before getting carried away with signing on the dotted line.

Have a look at the cockpit storage.  This is a big deal. Handbags, wallets, phones, tablets, people carry a lot in a car. Is there adequate and logical storage?

Cram the pram

If you have kids, take your child seats, prams, and baby bags.  Do the child seats fit?  If you have one child seat, does it still allow for 2 adults in the back? Imagine fitting your shopping or other items you normally carry around along with the necessary items that you store.

If you have 3 child seats, will they all fit?

Where are the anchor points and if you must take seats in and out, how easy are the buckles to access? These little things checked now will mean a more positive ownership experience in the future.

Final approach

Parking, reverse parallel, 3-point turns.  All incredibly stressful at the best of times.  Do them all in a test drive.  See how the car handles, see how easy or hard it is to park.  Consider that you potentially have a salesperson sitting beside you and try not to choke, but if you do, it is ok.  The idea here is to see how manoeuvrable the car is.   Some cars will have a very wide u-turn footprint or be horrendously difficult to reverse parallel park.  It is good to know before time and to know you can live with it.

To tow or not to tow?

If you are going to be towing a boat, caravan, trailer, or anything on wheels behind your car, make sure you check the towing capacity.  There are two measurements.  Load on the tow ball (how much weight the suspension will handle) and towing capacity (how much weight the car can pull).

Backseat driver

It sounds weird, but a lot of car owners have never sat in all seats in the car except the driver’s seat.  Testing out all seating positions is important to make sure there is enough room for all intended or potential passengers.  Are the seats comfortable? Is there good visibility out the windows?  Are there air-conditioning vents in the back or does the AC system have a way of cooling the back of the car if they do not?


Sit in the driver’s seat and really feel it.  Adjust your mirrors and check visibility.  While you are there, see if the location of the hazard lights, indicator stalks and other switches and knobs are in a logical place that you can get used to.  A lot of cars in Australia now have the indicator on the opposite side to what most drivers are used to.  This is not a hard no situation, but you must ask yourself if you can live with it.

Warp speed

Does the car have any driving selection modes?  A lot of cars come with intelligent computer driven adjustments to save on fuel or to provide more power when needed.  Test all the modes out if the car does have them and ask any questions about them you need to.

Use sparingly

Most modern cars only come with a space saver spare tyre.  Although this is common, for some people who may do a lot of highway driving, this could be a deal breaker.  Space savers do offer the names intended purpose – to save space, but it also means in the event of requiring to use it, you will be restricted to 80km/h until you get the main tyre fixed.

Baby sitting

If you can, leave the kids at home.  Children as wonderful as they are and probably the main reason you are wanting to buy a car will become a distraction.  Telling Johnny to get his feet off the back seat or to stop poking the nice salesperson will inevitably cause you to miss something or not to get the experience you need to decide.


Before the salesperson leads you back into his or her office and starts their process of getting you to sign up, take some time.  Unless you need a car yesterday, emotional decisions can be costly ones.   Do not just test drive one car, find other cars in the same class and test drive those, preferably on the same day so you can do a like for like comparison.

Accentuate the negatives

Even if the car is perfect, it is a good idea to talk about what you do not like about the car with the salesperson.  The more positive emotions you show, the more likely you are to fall prey to a good salesperson.  It is not their fault nor are they bad people for doing this. Their job is to understand your needs, match you to something they have and ultimately sell you a car. If you only show positive 'buying signals' then you will likely drive out in that car.  Some easy things to say are comments such as "I'm not sure if I like the seats" or "I don't like the layout of the instrument panel".  If you actually spend the time looking for things you don't like, you won't notice them 3 months down the track and regret not taking the time to do this.

Insurance and maintenance costs

Always get a quote on insurance before signing anything.  Some cars in some location have astronomical premiums.   It is always good to be forewarned on costs including insurance and even servicing prior to ensure the total cost of ownership fits in your budget.

Put the pen away

Again, unless you are desperate to buy, do not sign anything on the day.  We always encourage buyers to have their finance in place first.  It will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes time to negotiate.

Final word

Hopefully, this has helped you create your own mental checklist of what to look for.

If you would like help in setting up a hassle-free test drive, please complete the form below and Journey Finance will help you.

Get In Touch

1800 861 009





Sunshine Coast



[email protected]


Mon:10am - 5pm
Tue: 9am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 5pm
Thur: 9am - 5pm
Fri: 9am - 3pm
Sat: 8am - 1pm
Sun: Closed

Buying a new car using a novated lease

Getting a great deal with a new car purchase


Most people when buying a car will do some research online and then head into a dealership to test drive a car.
It is at that point that the sales machine of a dealership takes over.
A dealership employs salespeople and those salespeople have targets and a sales system they are trained in to get you into the car.

Car Dealership tactics

Not all car salespeople are sharks, there are some excellent professional car salespeople in Australia -  but there are those who don't really care about you or what you want and are driven by commission.
From pressure tactics to plain badgering through constant follow up calls, going to a dealership can be a stressful experience.
How can you get a good deal when the dealership is in control?
Below we discuss the methods you can use.

Pay cash

In the old days, paying cash was king.  Dealerships loved cash because it meant that they were paid straight away, and they were able to move stock quickly.  Discounts flowed.

In modern times, dealership models have changed.  They have their own finance department and a big part of a dealership’s revenue comes from the finance.  Cash is no longer king, in fact, you may expect to receive LESS of a discount if you pay cash, no matter how good a negotiator you think you are.

The other issue with paying cash is you are purchasing a fast depreciating asset.  The average depreciation (lessening in value) of a car is 19% in the first year and 15% in the second and third year.

If you were to use the cash you have for something else, like an investment or paying down your mortgage to make money from your cash, that may be a smarter move.

The walk out

Other tactics customers employ include the walk out.  In the salespersons office the customer will be presented with a price and they will counter that with an offer. If the offer is not accepted, they walk out. The hope is the dealer will come running after them to concede defeat.

This can be a good method; however, you are reliant on the salesperson being desperate to achieve their targets and for their Sales Manager to approve any deal that you put forward.  Dealers are also very savvy and understand this tactic. They employ counter-tactics to deal with this.

Bottom line, a dealership has a price they will not drop below as it costs a lot of money to have a car in stock at a dealership.  The overheads in a dealership are huge!

The time of the month will also dictate whether this method works.  Towards the end of the month usually the pencil is sharpened a lot more than at the start, this is due to targets.

If your offer is realistic, you may get the deal, but in most cases, you will settle somewhere in the middle depending on the popularity and availability of the car.

Buy ‘old’ and in stock

Car dealers will generally be sharper on price for cars in stock over cars they have to swap with other dealers or order from the factory.

Dealers have a system that measures ‘ageing stock’.  The longer the car sits on the lot, the more it has cost the dealer and the more motivated the dealer is to sell that car.

If you are prepared to compromise on colour or variant and settle for what the dealer has in stock, you may find yourself with a very sharp deal.   This of course is dependent on the popularity of the car.  If a dealer knows they can sell it to another person for more because it is popular, then they will likely reject your offer.

Shop around

In the old days, dealerships were owned by families or individuals and you could shop around if you had multiple dealers in the city you reside in. Now, dealerships are mostly owned by large corporations or dealer groups. The dealer on one side of town is likely owned by the same company that owns the dealership on the other side of town. Shopping around is also time-consuming and somewhat exhausting.

You cannot generally just call up and get a deal, you must go in and spend time. Or you must look at buying outside of your local area which means the car will be trucked in and dropped off to a depot or your home. You miss out on the car handover – which is the feel-good part, with a nice smelling clean shiny car instead of receiving a truck soiled vehicle from a nameless truck driver.
There are other methods customers employ, however, these are the most common. Some work and some do not. When going up against car salespeople, you need as much help as you can get.

Use a car buying broker

There are car buying brokers who can do the negotiating on your behalf.  These services aren't free, but a quick Google could save you hundreds if not thousands off the purchase price of your new car.

Timing is everything

Dealers have targets, both from a business perspective and also the manufacturers they represent.  As the end of the month approaches dealers to become far more negotiable than at the start of the month, especially if they haven't hit their target.  Individual salespeople are more likely to bat harder for you if they aren't hitting their targets that month individually.

Some tips for this.  You need to be ready to go now.  Have your finance in place and be ready to sign on the dotted line.  Most of the deals you'll be offered in the last 10 days of the month will expire at the start of the next month.  You can usually tell if the dealership is busy on a Saturday and don't be afraid to ask "how's business?  Are you guys busy?".  Looking around the dealership will tell you if they are or not.  The quieter it is, hopefully, the more likely they will be to wheel and deal.

Pitch a price that's low, but not ridiculous

Doing your research prior will assist with this.  It should be understood that a base model vehicle will have less margin (profit) for the dealer, so asking for thousands of dollars off a car that sells for $19,990 probably won't fly.   If you start high, you have nowhere to go, but if you start low, you can always come up from that point.

This is my limit

You can also set a maximum limit of what you can spend.   Use the husband or wife as the backstop "My partner said I can't spend more than..." even if there is no partner! Just make sure if there is a partner, they aren't sitting there with you when you use this - and also are really hard to contact if the salesperson asks you to get them on the line.

Don't trade unless you absolutely have to

Having your finance in place first and if you can sell your current car elsewhere, do it.  What you see your 2003 Commodore being worth, the dealer sees probably 25% of that value.  They may give you a discount on the car you're buying, but they'll make this up by low-balling the trade.

Accessorise, but don't go overboard

Accessories personalise the car and make it yours.   You just have to ask yourself whether branded floor mats are important to you and if you are willing to pay full price for them.  Contrary to popular belief, new cars don't come with a full tank of fuel or carpet mats, these are all options.  Only get the accessories that you need!

Dealer delivery charges... what on earth?

It comes up on every quote you'll get from a dealer.  Most people say "But I'm picking the car up??!!". Dealer delivery is the money dealers charge to 'prepare' the car for you.  Detailing and covering their costs.  But $2,000+ is just ridiculous.  Try to negotiate this to under a grand.  If they don't budge, ask them what's included in the charge to justify it. Walk out if necessary!

If it's popular, good luck

If a particular car is popular, you are going to find it more difficult to get a great deal.  New models are usually hard to discount unless they aren't selling well, then you have to ask if it's the right car for you!   Usually after a few months the demand will die off and you will find yourself in a good position to negotiate.  If you line up for every new iPhone, then you may have to pay the full price.

The smart choice

Journey Finance takes all this hassle out of the process and negotiates the best deal we can get for you.  In 99% of cases, the deal is local which means you get the support of the dealer if things go wrong and ongoing personal service.

Get In Touch

1800 861 009





Sunshine Coast



[email protected]


Mon:10am - 5pm
Tue: 9am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 5pm
Thur: 9am - 5pm
Fri: 9am - 3pm
Sat: 8am - 1pm
Sun: Closed