Buying a used car can save you a lot of money up-front, however if you do not take the appropriate precautions before buying it can end up costing an arm and a leg. When you are shopping around for your next car, keep in mind these simple tips to ensure you are getting your money’s worth and most importantly, peace of mind!
Get as much information as you can
Buying a used car can be a daunting process and you want to ensure you are making an informed decision before you commit to purchasing. The worst thing is to be caught out because you didn’t do some basic research and easy to do checks.
If you are buying privately, one of the steps that you cannot miss is a PPSR search. A PPSR search, formerly known as a REVS check gives you vital information about the car you are looking to buy, such as that there is no debt owing on the car and if it has been written off or stolen. This check also allows you to verify registration of the car and that it matches with the VIN and engine number.
You may be surprised as to how many people do not do an easy PPSR search before buying a car, when all you need is the car registration/state and/or VIN number.
Conduct an inspection in daylight
You can buy a used car through a dealership, auction or privately. If you are buying from a dealership you will most likely be car shopping during the day due to normal trading hours, however prospective buyers usually overlook the time of day when inspecting a car through a private seller. If you can, opt for an inspection during the day. Why you might ask?
The reason being it can be difficult to see physical defects such as scratches, dents, rust or even hail damage when it is dark. Minor defects are not always obvious and most sellers won’t be quick to point them out if you don’t notice yourself!
Have an inspection checklist
It is important to thoroughly check the exterior, interior and mechanics of the car during the inspection.
Things to check include:
- Body damage such as scratches and dents
- Paint if there are any chips or cracks
- Doors and boot open and close properly, as otherwise could point to accident damage
- Interior for any stains and damage
- Seatbelts are in working condition
- Working accessories such as aircon, power windows and audio
- Tyres that have enough tread and the spare is included
- Jack and toolkit are intact and in working order
- If there any fluid leaks
- If all the lights are working both headlights and break lights
If you are not car savvy it would be wise to bring along someone who is and another set of eyes doesn’t hurt either.
Besides the physical and interior of the car, it is important to inspect what’s under the bonnet if you can. Unfortunately, when buying privately it may be difficult to get the mechanics of the car inspected on the same day, but you could get a copy of the last service from the owner and go for a test drive.
So it looks good? Take it for a spin!
If all looks well, it is time to take it for a test drive. You want to get a good feel of the car before jumping to make a purchase and you will have some peace of mind knowing that you’ve gotten a PPSR search, conducted an inspection and taken it for a test drive.
Good luck and happy shopping!