Buying a used car is not as easy as it seems. You might buy it for a low price, but what will it cost you to run?
As an owner of over a dozen cars in the last 10years, I have learnt how to pick a decent car and avoid an expensive lemon.
Tips for when looking for a used car:
What is your budget?
How much can you afford per month? Think fuel costs, servicing and insurance. What other important events are occurring in your life that you may need the extra money for? i.e. Purchasing a home, holiday, getting engaged.
What is the car going to be used for?
Would you drive a yellow car? Will the car's appearance and size impact your job?
Will the sporty 2-door cater for your weekend camping and adventure trips?
Is safety a main factor for your family?
Will the turbo-charged thirsty engine send you broke as a daily commuter?
Dealer or Private Sale?
Majority of the time, I purchased my vehicles privately. I just found that the owner could tell me a lot more about the car and I could picture how it had been treated. Also, I found that bargaining with a private owner was a lot easier then reducing the price through dealer.
However, a dealer came in handy if I was trading in a vehicle and wanted to avoid waiting for weeks and months to sell my existing car.
Do you know the vehicles history?
When is the next service due? Is it a major? These can cost anywhere from $200-$1000.
Does it need tyres? If so, then that's another $500-$1000.
If the car didn’t have a logbook or service invoices, I would simply walk away. The vehicle would be worthless when you come to sell it.
Read through the logbook and service receipts to ensure all minor and major service intervals were completed correctly. This could save you thousands down the track.
How expensive are parts if they needed to be replaced? Google the cars make and model to see if there are any common problems.
Make sure you pay the $30-$40 and run an online car history report to see if the vehicle has ever been written off, owes finance or has had its odometer tampered with.www.carhistory.com.au
Have you seen the car during the day and in every angle?
I did make the odd mistake of inspecting a car at night in my early days and was disappointed with the dings and dents when I brought it home. I suggest you see the vehicle under natural light to see the condition of the interior and exterior. Check the wear on the tyres, feel the carpets for any dampness, complete 360 turns to listen for any crackling and Inspect under the vehicle for any leaks.
If you're not car savvy, leave it to the professionals to carry out a comprehensive vehicle inspection with a detailed 10page report on the vehicles condition. There are many providers in the market place. Google ‘Vehicle Inspections’
How much registration is left on the vehicle?
Registration can cost anywhere from $200-$400 + CTP insurance, another $500-$800. Use this as your bargaining tool to negotiate on the sale price if it is going to expire within 1-3months.
How much does it cost to insure?
This should fall into your budgeting process to see how much it will cost you per annum to insure the vehicle.
We can help provide a competitive insurance quote.
Are you getting the most cost effective finance solution?
If you don’t have the funds to pay for the vehicle outright, what is your monthly budget?
We can work with you to tailor a competitive car finance solution.
We can also provide you with a indicative value of the vehicle you intend to purchase either privately, from a dealer or directly from a wholesaler.
Happy to assist you with any questions when your hunting for a good used car.