Buying A Used Car
There are a few things to consider when buying a used car so you don’t end up with a lemon. Let AutoChic help you out...
First you need to decide which kind of car you’d like – hatch, sedan, SUV, etc. You might like to check out our Car Reviews section to see what’s around, visit a used car dealership to suss out the scene, read the Classifieds section of the newspaper (especially packed with ads on Saturdays) and/or check out these websites: www.carsales.com.au, www.drive.com.au, www.automarket.com.au, www.autotrader.com.au, www.cars.ebay.com.au, www.needacar.com.au or www.tradingpost.com.au
Can you afford it?
After you’ve decided on a particular car or general style, check out www.redbook.com.au to see what the fair price of the car is. Do you have enough money to buy it? If you don’t, perhaps you might like to consider a loan if you think you can repay the debt. Check out our Car Finance page for more information.
Used car checklist
So you’ve found a car you like. Check. You have the money to buy it. Check. And now you’re face-to-face with the seller and your dream car. But before you put your feet over your head and hand you’re your hard-earned cash in a state of ‘I’ve got to buy it now or it’s going to go!’, make sure you consider the following first...
* How many kilometres has the car done?
* Is there proof of regular services?
* Check out how much rego is left and see if there’s any damage to the car that wasn’t listed on the ad – these can also be good price bargaining tools.
* Get the car checked by the NRMA (NSW), RACV (VIC) or other equivalent in your state. They’ll inspect the car and give you a condition report. You can then take this back to the seller and use it to negotiate the price. If you don’t want to get this, ask a mechanic to check over it and do some basic checks yourself (e.g. are all the lights, windows and locks working? Does the car get hot too quickly? Is there lots of smoke coming out the exhaust, etc.?).
* Is it stolen? Does it have any outstanding debts on it? Do a security check by calling your state’s transport authority (eg. RTA in NSW, Vic Roads in VIC, etc.) and quoting the car’s VIN number, car model and year, rego number, engine number and the state where it was last registered. You can also get a check done at www.checkitout.com.au – an online initiative by Transport Queensland.
* Is it still covered under warranty? There’s usually some kind of warranty when you buy from a used car dealership.
* Do they accept trade-ins (if you want to use your current car as ‘cash’)?
* How safe is it? Weigh it up at www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au
* How environmentally friendly is it? Find out www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au
* Go for a test drive – we can’t stress this enough! Make sure you try before you buy!
Once you’ve bought it
Before you sign for the delivery or pick-up of your new car, inspect it in broad daylight to make sure:
* There are no dents and scratches, etc. that weren’t there before.
* It’s exactly as it is explained in any written contracts you may have signed.
* Check that the odometer number (how many kms its done) is reasonable to when you bought it.
* Everything is working like before (e.g. lights, electric windows, locks, etc.).
* There’s a car manual, service book, jack and spare tyre somewhere.
* Make sure the appropriate paperwork has been done (see below).
You have to register your new car into your name (or switch over registration for used cars that are registered). The procedure can vary from state to state, so contact your state’s transport authority for all the information.
Some states require sellers to have a ‘Roadworthy Certificate’ before they sell a used car. Again, check with your transport authority for the procedures in your state...
NSW: Road Transport Authority (RTA), 13 22 13, www.rta.nsw.gov.au
VIC: Vic Roads 13 11 71, www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
QLD: Transport Queensland, 12 23 80, www.transport.qld.gov.au
TAS: Transport Tasmania, 13 11 71, www.transport.tas.gov.au
SA: Transport SA, 1300 360 067, www.transport.sa.gov.au
WA: DPI, 13 11 56, www.dpi.wa.gov.au
ACT: Rego Act, 13 22 13, www.rego.act.gov.au
NT: Northern Territory Transport Group, (08) 8924 7216, www.dpi.nt.gov.au