Buying a used car

Buying advice for people looking to purchase a used car.

Ok fancy pants so you want to buy a second-hand car. Remember that buying a second car or used car should feel like buying a new vehicle. So there is no reason to be stuck with a lemon.

These are the key things to look out for and our tips when buying a used car

  1. Search the market and make sure you get the best price!
    Look around at all the available platforms including Carsguide, Drive, Carsales, Gumtree, Facebook Market Place, your local dealerships and even those cars parked on the side of the road with a price on the rear window. Create a spreadsheet of the prices of vehicles and the odometer reading for each vehicle or use our report and it will do it for you. Once you have done this you will be well armed to know the right price in the current market. When bargaining you can use this or the Car Story report to justify your asking price.

  2. Get the car facts!
    Once you have a list and have narrowed it down to a few vehicles you should check the cars history and get the car facts. You can use our Car Story report to help you do this. Look out for things like:
    • Flood damage, written off status, historical odometer readings, time left of the registration, any finance owing, recall notices on the vehicle, safety ratings and if you have your ommm on then you may want to check the pollution ratings.
    • Ask the seller for the service history as well.

If any of these issues appear then you will want to ask the owner about it. We have some handy tips on what each of these mean and what to ask. Just click here.

  1. Really kick the tyres by getting a mechanical inspection.
    A used car can cost a lot of money so it’s worth it. If you don’t have the cash to get a mechanical inspection get a technically savvy friend or relative to go with you to check the car out. Ensure they have some cool overalls to look the part. Make sure you test drive the car and find a hill to drive it up and down testing both the engine and the brakes.

  2. Understand the running costs.
    There are some big ones to check.
    1. Insurance – Go to a few online sites and put in the registration number to find out what it will cost you. Check with a big brand and a few smaller insurance brands. The difference can be hundreds of dollars per year.
    2. Finance – Check the rates and your credit score. These days with a good credit score you can demand a better rate.
    3. Running Costs – We like to know how much it will cost to get the car serviced, when the next service is and how much the tyres and fluffy dice will cost to replace. You can just call a few mechanics and tyre shops to find this out. It’s really worth it as tyres on fancy brands can be expensive!

  3. Test the acoustics!
    When you are on the test drive crank up the radio and smash out some tunes. Really bad singing in a car is pure joy and must be tested.

A second-hand car on average costs $28,000. So doing some simple checks can save you a load of money

There are some big differences between buying from a motor dealer and from a private seller. The main difference is that there is some protection when buying from a motor dealer. Generally, you will get a 6 month warranty in Australia when buying from a motor dealer and this is part of the law. You don’t get that when buying from a private seller.

Remember, buyer beware! If you are on top of things you will get the car you want for a cracking price.