Used Car Buying Guide
Everything you need to know before buying a used car
STEP 1 – SET A BUDGET
Set your maximum budget - and make sure you stick to it.
Go online (or check the local paper) and see what’s out there for your price range. Pick a few favourites and make a shortlist. Be sure to check out the seller reviews online.
Tip: If you’ll be needing finance for your new car, we recommend getting pre-approval before looking at any cars to ensure you don’t miss out on the car you want.
STEP 2 - EXTERNAL INSPECTION
Now that you have a few cars in mind, it’s time to conduct an external inspection. This should be done regardless of whether the car is being sold privately or through a dealer.
Make sure you check:
- Corners of bodywork for scratches
- Panels for dents
- Tyres for tread on inside and outside edges
- Headlights and tail lights for cracks
- Windows for chips
To be safe, have another walk around and check the car again.
STEP 3 - INTERNAL INSPECTION
Now it’s time to check the inside. Open all doors (don’t forget the boot) and check:
- General condition of the car - it should be clean and tidy
- Switches and knobs on dash/console are present and working
- Electrics are working - including stereo
- Seat belts work
- Kilometres on odometer match the seller’s claims
- Upholstery for rips
- Back seat pockets - often they get ripped easily
- Spare tyre and jack/tool kit are in the boot
- Service log book - have there been regular services? And if so, by the same mechanic?
The internal inspection gives you an idea of whether the car’s been well cared for. If the interior looks neglected, it probably hasn’t been serviced regularly either.
STEP 4 - UNDER THE HOOD INSPECTION
Now, don’t think that you have to be a mechanic to conduct this check-just look for:
- Oil or water splatters - this can indicate leakages
- Engine cleanliness. A clean engine shows the car has been well-maintained.
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - note it down so you can run a security check on the car
- Oil colour - the darker it is, the longer it’s been since service
- Fluid levels - water and coolant
Remember, you don’t have to be mechanically-minded to perform this check, but, if you have a friend or family who knows what they’re doing when it comes to cars, it might pay to have them check the car out.
STEP 5 - TEST DRIVE
Now don’t get too excited but, here comes the fun part.
Take it for a spin along a test drive route that includes a 50-60km zone AND a 100km+ zone (like a freeway or highway). The car needs to perform well at all speeds. Be sure to focus on the way it handles, sounds and most importantly, the road (safety first).
STEP 6 – RESEARCH
Before committing to purchasing a car, check:
The seller is the registered owner. Check that the name on the registration documents matches the seller’s driver’s licence.
Locate the VIN number on the Vehicle (Not the Paperwork) and do a security check on the PPSR.
You can do this within 5 minutes online with a DEBIT or CREDIT card for under $5. This will tell you if the vehicle is under finance, wrecked or written off, or a stat write off, stolen etc.
Here is the link https://www.ppsr.gov.au/
Tip: If paying by bank transfer, ask to see a copy of the seller’s bank statement. Again, make sure it’s in the seller’s name.
STEP 7 - MAKE A DEAL
Time to negotiate a price! Consider:
How the price compares with other cars you researched.
What’s included? Many dealers include extras like warranties and roadside assist in the price. Is it an on-road price - i.e. does it include charges like stamp duty and registration? Does the price include delivery, or will you have to come back and pick it up?
Don’t be scared to drive down the price if you think it’s inflated.
Tip: If the dealer includes a warranty, be mindful there may be conditions (such as the car needing to be serviced at the dealership you bought it from). There are no warranties on private sales.
STEP 8 - SIGN THE PAPERWORK
Now that you have yourself a great deal, it’s time to finalise everything with a few autographs.
Read over all documents carefully and ensure you understand all terms and conditions. If you’re not sure about anything, talk to a family member, friend or even your local 2EASY finance expert to have a look over the paperwork and to answer any questions you might have,
STEP 9 - DRIVE AWAY!
Talk to your insurer and make sure you’re covered from the instant you take possession.
Don’t have insurance, talk to your local 2EASY finance expert to organise a NO obligation FREE quote today!
Congratulations, you now have yourself a new set of wheels. Have fun and drive safe.