Here are 5 tips to buying a second hand car in Australia

1. Do your research

Before you start looking at used cars, it's important to do your research and figure out what kind of car you want to own.

You should also have a budget in mind so that you don't overspend.

If you plan on borrow money to finance your purchase, you should start with a car loan repayment calculator to work out how the loan repayments would be for various loan amounts over different repayment periods.

There's also a great deal of merit in getting a loan pre-approval before shopping for a car. A pre-approved car loan means that you have a much better idea of how much you can afford to spend, and it will put you in a stronger negotiating position with the seller. 

Once you know what kind of car you're looking for, you can start searching for dealerships or private sellers.

2. Get the vehicle history

If you're buying from a dealership, they should provide you with the vehicle log book and vehicle history report if they are available. If not, you can request this from the seller. This information will tell you more about the car, including the diligence of the previous owner in vehicle care and maintenance.

It is also important to find out whether the car has had any major repaired damage or has been submerged in floodwaters. 

Knowing this information will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to buy the car.

3. Take it for a test drive

Once you've found a few potential cars, it's time to take them for a test drive! This is the best way to see how each car feels and if it suits your needs.

Pay attention to how the car handles and if there are any strange noises coming from it.

Also pay close attention to the car's tires during the test drive. Wear and tear on tires can be indicative of other problems with the vehicle, so it's best to err on the side of caution if they don't look 100%.

If everything looks and feels good, then take note of which car YOU like the best!

4. Have an inspection done by a professional mechanic

Even if the seller tells you that the car is in good condition, it's always best to get an inspection done by a professional mechanic before making your final decision. Auto Associations in each State, such as NRMA, RACV, RACQ, etc, provide vehicle inspections at a very good price to members.

They will be able to spot any issues that may not be apparent to the naked eye and let YOU know if it's worth purchasing or not.

Before buying a car privately, check that the person selling it is the registered owner. Check that the certificate of registration and safety check report for the vehicle are up to date (the last issued no more than 1 month ago). The details on all documents should match those of the vehicle.

5 negotiating with the seller

When negotiating with the seller, always keep your budget in mind so that you don't overspend on the car itself or on repairs that need to be made after purchase.

And take your time! This is a significant purchase, so don't feel pressured into buying a car that you're not completely sure about - you'll likely regret it later down the road.

When purchasing a used car privately, on the Internet, or by bidding at an auction, make sure that the seller is legally entitled to sell it. If the car was stolen, or if it is being financed through a loan and registered under someone else's name, then that person may not be able to sell it.

Before buying a used car privately, the buyer should check the vehicle security register to confirm ownership and learn if the car is being used as collateral.

Ownership checks are carried out by supplying the vehicle registration number, engine number and chassis number.

To find out if a vehicle is held as security for a loan, you can check the Personal Property Securities Register.

Finally, in order for you to transfer ownership of the vehicle, the seller will need to inform the state road authority and you will need to accept this transfer. This can usually be done online via your state motor authority.

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect used car for you!

Author: Paige Estritori
Published: Friday 20th May, 2022
Last updated: Thursday 19th January, 2023

Share this article: