Car Buying GuidePractical advice to help you reduce any risks when buying a used car
When buying a used vehicle, by following a few practical steps you can reduce any risk that may be associated with your car buying experience.
- Take a step back and look at the car. Is the condition on the car proportional to the vehicle’s age.
- Is there any sign of repaired damage? Do the body panels line up correctly?
- Is the paintwork even? Is the colour and texture consistent?
- Are there any broken seams, untidy welds or evidence of repair under the bonnet?
- Check the wheel arches, seams, bottom or the doors, seams and suspension for signs or corrosion.
- Check the spare wheel arch in the boot for signs of corrosion
- Take time by sitting in both the front and rear seats and look around the interior.
- Are the seatbelts working? Do they show any signs of wear or damage?
- Check the window seals to make sure there is no signs of damage.
- Do the doors open easily from the inside?
- Check the dashboard, warning lights, headlights, tail lights, power windows, central locking to make sure they’re operational. Check obvious items such as horn, stereo, hazard lights, windscreen wipers to make sure they’re operational.
Under the bonnet
- Check oil and water levels
- Look for oil leaks, damaged hoses, or any sign of unusual wear and tear.
- How does the engine look? This can give you an idea of whether the engine has been regularly maintained.
- If the car has travelled high klms, is there a receipt of reconditioning or servicing?
- Check all tyres (including the spare) for tread depth. Do they need replacing?
- Check tyres for bulges in the tyre walls, cuts, nails etc
- Don’t just drive the car around the block. Take the car for a decent test drive as this will give you a good feel of the car.
- Try hill starts, highway driving and urban street driving.
- Listen for any unusual noises coming from the car
- Check the wheel alignment, steering responsiveness, brakes and clutch
- Look under the bonnet while the car is in idle for any signs of water or new oil leaks
Tips and Hints
- Your’e the one that will be driving the car and possibly repaying loan payments so make sure you have a budget or spending limit in mind and stick to it.
- Ask questions regarding to servicing, warranty offered, on road costs and if there’s been any accident history.
- Do a PPSR check on the vehicle as this will show any repairable write off status, stolen or whether there is any money still owing on the vehicle. It’s too late finding out this information after you have taken delivery of the vehicle and could result in you losing out.
- Mechanical inspection. If you’re still unsure on the vehicle, most sellers are happy to have their vehicle inspected by a reputable inspection station or RACQ.