Tips for Buying a Used Car

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be a great way to enjoy a more affordable alternative to purchasing a brand new model – in fact, many of vehicle buyers go for second hand options. One of the most obvious benefits is the ability to define your budget based on what you can afford; and if you make sure to do your research, you could even find your budget catering to running costs as well.

But as with all expenses, you’ll likely want to focus on a few particulars to ensure that you go for the right model – and one that’s within your price range. A little research can go a long way and it’s important to note that a higher ANCAP rating can be much more of a priority than a lower one, simply to save some extra cash. Safety comes first and once you find a model that ticks these boxes, the next thing to do is to consider getting in touch with a seller.

What should you think about asking the seller before buying?

Once you’ve searched for a vehicle that you like the look of, it will be down to you to research as much information about that particular car as possible; especially as second-hand models can vary in quality, use and performance. Consider asking the seller things such as:

  • How long have they owned and used the vehicle?
  • Why have they decided to sell it? – paying special attention to whether they are simply upgrading, or trying to cut their losses
  • Has the car been involved in an accident and if so, has any long-term damage been sustained?
  • Is it roadworthy and if so, does it come with all documentation to show this?
  • A full car service history for your own reassurance and to help with insurance

You can also check the history of the car itself and then compare your results with what the seller tells you. This might seem a little under-handed, but the last thing that you’ll want is to be stuck with a vehicle that was sold to you under false pretences. Here’s a link to the VicRoads car history checker for your convenience:

https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/registration/buy-sell-or-transfer-a-vehicle/buy-a-vehicle/check-vehicle-registration

Another commonly overlooked feature is the ability to check personal property securities (PPSR), which roughly translates to the ability to gauge whether any money is owed on the vehicle that may be transferred as a debt to the new owner. The link to check is:

https://www.ppsr.gov.au

If after all of the above has been taken care of you decide that this car could still be the one for you, then you’ll undoubtedly want to see it up close to review its appearance and functionality. Don’t forget to:

  • Arrange the viewing for the day time and when the light is strong enough to provide great visuals
  • Look underneath the bonnet for signs of wear and tear and to ensure that all components and parts are as expected
  • Look for traces of rust and if any are found, be sure to investigate further
  • Check that the space between each panel of the vehicle is even and not shifted (typically demonstrating that the car has been involved in an accident, or hastily pieced back together)
  • Search under the car for any oil leaks. Water leaks can occur however, especially if the air conditioning was on, so take note of that
  • Ensure that the tyres have sufficient tread (and then look at the space-saver wheel in the boot or rear of the vehicle for the same)
  • Be sure to evaluate the functionality of every seat belt
  • Is the interior tidy and well-kept?
  • With the engine cold, attempt to start the engine to ensure that it activates as expected

And with all of the aforementioned checks taken care of, the next thing to do is to take the car out for a spin. Whilst doing so, be sure to check for irregular sounds coming from under the bonnet and near the wheels, as well as any rattling. Make a point of parking on a steep incline to evaluate the handbrake capabilities. You might also want to test the tyres on different road surfaces and gauge how the gears shift (with a smooth transition being the priority).

If you’re really keen to get a great blend of affordability and performance, here are 5 top vehicle models that may be ideal for your needs:

  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Mazda 3
  • Kia Sportage
  • Hyundai i30

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Disclaimer -This page/article provides general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. Subject to lenders terms and conditions, fees and charges and eligibility criteria apply.

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