Buying a second-hand car from a dealer or from a private seller can be difficult and stressful. But once you’ve done your research, inspected the vehicle and negotiated the price, the pleasure of driving the car will make all the effort worthwhile.
To help you avoid some common traps when buying a used car, here’s a handy checklist:
Know the important numbers
The vehicle Identification Number or VIN, the engine number, and the registration number are the most critical pieces of vehicle identification you must check before buying a second-hand car.
The VIN is a 17-digit alpha-numeric code that can be found on a metal plate inside the engine bay. The engine number can be found on the engine, and the registration number is on the car’s number plate.
Jot down these important numbers when car shopping to confirm if they match with details as listed on the registration papers. Be wary if they don’t, the car could be stolen.
Check if the car is encumbered
There’s a risk that you may also buy someone else’s debt when buying a second-hand car. You don’t want to be a victim if the vendor sells you a car that is security for a loan, and then defaults on that loan, causing the lender to repossess the car to recover the funds.
To prevent this, make sure you check that the car is debt free before buying. You can do this by searching the Personal Property Securities Register.
Get to know the car’s history
The second-hand car you’re buying may have undergone major crash repairs in the past, so it pays to have a trusted mechanic by your side to help inspect the car for you.
You can also obtain the vehicle history report by visiting carhistory.com.au and register the VIN. You may need to pay a small fee but this could save you a lot of money and problems in the future.
Organise your finances
Don’t hesitate to try to knock down the price of the car. Once you and the car seller have reached final agreement on the price, it’s time to organise your finances.
You can take out a car loan to help you purchase a second-hand car if you can’t afford to pay for the whole price upfront. You can calculate your monthly repayments by using our car loan calculator.