Before going to a used car dealer, you should know how much you’re willing to spend on a car. Apart from the purchase price, consider the ongoing costs such as fuel, maintenance and car insurance. Financing your car is another thing you need to consider. You could get finance through your car dealer but many of the best deals for used car loans these days are with online lenders such as loans.com.au.
The Internet has a wealth of reviews for most models. Before you choose your desired model, do your due diligence by reading both professional and user reviews so you know what to expect when you buy.
Each second hand car has a back story. You never know, there might be some serious damage to the vehicle that cannot be easily seen. You can visit carhistory.com.au and enter the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to get a comprehensive history report within minutes.
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.
You may need to pay a small fee but obtaining the report could potentially save you a lot of money and problems.
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.
A pre-purchase inspection is an important part of the car buying process whether you’re buying from a dealer or a private seller. Get a qualified mechanic to inspect the car. The inspection should include the body, engine and all mechanical systems.
Spending time with the vehicle will give you an idea of how comfortable it is to drive and if everything is working smoothly. Ask the seller if you can drive the car on different road surfaces such as flat roads, uphill, highways and areas with sharp cornering.
The asking price doesn’t have to be the final price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller even if you are only aiming to knock the price down by a small amount. Every dollar counts. Make a list of any faults you discovered when inspecting the vehicle and use them to drive down the price.
Before you take the car home, make sure you have all the paperwork needed such as the registration, warranties, and any other documents that relate to the car. Make sure you get the original versions not photocopies.
It is worth taking your time when buying a second hand car as you don't want any surprises after you buy it.
Related: Buying a new vs used car
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