Be careful with used car sales

Used cars can be a smart purchase, particularly if they are still under warranty. But anytime you buy a car that used to be owned by someone else you should be careful to have it carefully checked for problems, and preferably buy from a reputable dealer. Naturally there are some areas where you should be careful buying a car, such as near the seaside or places that have recently flooded.
Here are some signs that your new used car could end up costing you money.

  1. Excessive body work. Old school buyers tend to bring magnets to car yards to identify areas where a dented panel might have been replaced by filler, or “bog”. If the magnet does not stick then your car has had some work.

  2. Odometers rolled back. Odometers that do not match log books are a dead giveaway that someone had probably replaced or wound back the speedo. Similarly if the car is very old and has no log books, and the odometer does not have many kilometres on it, think twice.

  3. Cars reported as stolen. Just what did those car thieves get up to when they took the car? You can probably bet that driving safely was not among the options. Beware cars with ID tags missing or damaged. These cars are best avoided.

  4. Cars with finance owing. It pays to make sure there is no money still owning on the car that you plan to purchase, as it could be the property of a finance company. Checking online is easy and not checking can be costly.

  5. Listed as a repairable write-off.   Sometimes when a car is in an accident the insurance company finds it cheaper to pay the owner market value then to pay to get the car fixed. These cars can be bought at damaged auctions by people who pull them back into shape (literally) and do cosmetic work before re-selling them. Beware.

  6. Storm or water damage. The title says it all. Cars that are immersed in water tend to rust a lot more than others.