How to buy a used car in Australia

If you’re in the market for a used car, it’s possible to get a good deal and to steer clear of lemons. Here are some of the top tips for smart used car buying in Australia.

Researching which car to buy

There are always risks associated with buying used cars. Knowing what to look for and what you’re looking for is most important. Determine the type and size of car you’re looking for as well as the amount of money you can spend. Once you’ve decided on the exact make and model, do more research to find out what current owners think of the vehicle, what problems exist with it and what tips to look for used models of this vehicle.

Depreciation of a used car

Honestly if the price is too good to be true, it usually is. New cars lose as much of 50% of their value in just three years. This is why so many look to the used car market. It allows them a chance to avoid high depreciation rates and to pay less upfront and to lose less value shortly after purchasing. Used vehicles are usually priced to allow for negotiation. Never be afraid to ask for a lower price, especially if you have your finance organized already. This applies to private or dealership sales.

How to test drive a used car

Take the vehicle for a test drive. Driving the car can highlight any problems it may have and give you an idea of how it drives and if it is suitable for your needs. If you’re not good with mechanics of a car, bring someone with you that is, or ask if the vehicle can be checked out by a professional. A pre-purchase inspection is a good idea and can be arranged through a qualified mechanic or state motoring organization.

Safety of used cars

Safety is an important consideration when purchasing a used vehicle. Look for safety features such as airbags, traction control, anti-locking braking systems and stability control and make sure they work. There are numerous websites and companies with online resources that outline which are the safest used cars, and which used cars are safer than others.

Dealer Versus Private

Choosing between the two can be difficult. Buying a car privately oftentimes leads to a lower price, however the risk is much higher. Dealership cars typically have some type of statutory warranty and these dealerships must guarantee a vehicle is of good quality and has a clear title, something private sellers don’t have to do.

If you decide to purchase privately, a background check on the vehicle is important. Also, verify registration documents to verify the seller’s identity is the same person the car is registered to. There are many online services available to help you to do these detailed background checks. They can include information such as any outstanding finance on the vehicle, whether it is stolen, information about the sale history and odometer readings and much more.

Buying a Used Car with a Warranties

As stated before, dealership often have statutory warranties, while private sellers don’t supply warranties. New cars are covered by a manufacturer warranty, ranging from two to five years, which may pertain to your vehicle purchase. This means that if you purchase a used vehicle that still is within these limits, you can still enjoy the benefits of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Statutory warranty is something required by law of all licensed car dealerships. This means that dealerships must fix any defects that occur soon after the purchase of a vehicle. The length of the legally required warranty varies from state to state, but is usually three months or 5,000 km for vehicles under 10 years old. For older cars or those with more mileage, a shorter warranty is required.

Extended warranties are add-ons to be used one the statutory (a state based, compulsory used car warranty) and/or manufacturer’s warranty has expired. These are purchased to cover additional costs over and above the price of the vehicle’s existing market value. They can be purchased after the purchase of a vehicle, but must be purchased while the vehicle is under some type of warranty.

Ultimately, taking the proper time to research all aspects of used car buying will protect you the most as a consumer. By learning all of the aspects to used car buying, you can prepare for any issues that come with your used car purchase and prepare ahead of time.

Finance a used car.

Not all cars are created equal (at least in the eyes of your finance company). Many banks and lenders have age and kilometer restrictions on which cars they are willing to finance. Generally newer, more reliable vehicles are easier to obtain a car loan on. It can help to speak with your lender or broker before narrowing down exactly which vehicle you want to finance.

Buying an Accident Damaged Used Car

Some buyers will flat out refuse to purchase a car with accident history. However other buyers do not mind, so long as they receive the appropriate discount.  Useful things to know would be who went to carry out the repairs, ie was it from a reputable shop, and also understanding what exactly the damage was. Unfortunately dealers are not legally obliged to reveal any accident damage on a used car purchase however an inspection by a mechanic or repair shop should revel most of the cosmetic repair work and be able to provide more information to you to inform your decision.

We hope this guide has helped inform you on some considerations when buying a used car

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