Car Buying Tips for Used Cars

Our car buying tips for buying a second hand or used car can help you avoid a bad experience and end up costing you a significantly large amount of money in repairs.
Your decision to buy a used car should not be based on how a vehicle is presented by way of how it looks or how it drives.
Inexperience and being naive can be a downfall of a purchaser as they base their decision on what they see and how a car may drive.

Just because a car may present well is certainly what you would like to see as a start but has the car had any accidents, does it have previous body repairs or rust that you can’t see?
Does the car have any mechanical issues (current and future) or computer problems?
if you don’t have any car knowledge then you are only basing your purchase on the looks and the way it drives which is a start but there may be significant underlying problems you can’t see, feel or hear.

Are you aware that just because a car may come with an inspection certificate (pink slip) that does not mean the car does not need repairs? It may need suspension or brakes also a timing belt or have computer faults and even minor oil leaks all of which can pass an inspection (pink slip).
These repairs could end up costing another $3000-$5000 in repairs can you afford this? If you didn’t know during a “pink slip” inspection brakes are only tested on a brake meter and if they pass then that is just indicating they can stop the car adequately. 
Those same brakes could be almost worn out along with the disc rotors.
The same goes for suspension and other items which have no bearing on the outcome of a vehicle passing a “pink slip” but it will when you take your car to the mechanics and he gives you an estimate for repairs you might get a shock.
Unfortunately, it happens quite often to unexpecting buyers who think they are getting a good deal when if fact it’s just the opposite so here a few basic tips.
If you have no real car knowledge then you should really consider having a vehicle inspection before you the car not after.

Car Buying tips to consider when buying a Used Car

  • The obvious tip, have a PDS Vehicle Inspection done to avoid the disappointment and potential financial loss if you are not sure what you are buying.
  • Do a car PPSR/car history check on the vehicle for money still owed and written off status. (PDS can also do this)
  • Do not hand over money to a seller if the vehicle has finance still owing you should contact the finance company prior and check the payout procedure, don’t rely on a seller to pay out their loan or finance otherwise you may lose your vehicle and end up with the debt.
  • Does the car have service or log books and can they be validated?
  • Check the chassis/VIN number with the manufacturer as even some late model vehicles may not have a factory warranty.
  • Is the seller is the actual owner of the vehicle or actually has permission to sell the vehicle on the owner’s behalf?.
  • Did you know anyone can sign the car registration papers? and many times I have seen a seller selling a car on behalf of a “friend” or family member but without written permission of the ” registered owner of the vehicle” which leaves the car open to being stolen or may even be repossessed if encumbered which means you will lose the car you have brought along with your money.
  • Be wary of car finance when purchasing motor vehicles read the contracts carefully before you sign as they aren’t always what they seem.
  • Check the motor dealer’s contracts of sale on the vehicle carefully before you purchase.
  • I would note there are some reputable motor dealers who do the right thing but there are those who just rip off buyers and this also goes for private sellers.
  • Inform the seller that you may want a pre-purchase vehicle inspection prior to buying.
  • Don’t be pressured into making a rash decision, leave a small deposit if you must to hold the vehicle prior to an inspection and be prepared to lose the small deposit.
  • Have the seller write the terms of deposit, is it refundable or do you forfeit the money make sure you are clear before leaving deposits?
  • Try not to negotiate a purchase price prior to a vehicle inspection being done if all is good you can agree to pay the price but should a vehicle need repairs leave it open to negotiating the price that may include any repairs or discount off the selling price.
  • Best to walk away from a vehicle then buy a vehicle with problems especially on private sales as this may be the reason the vehicle is sold.
  • Remember the car you buy today is the car you sell tomorrow.

For more information and the right advice, you can always contact me at PDS Vehicle Inspections who can help give you peace of mind with your purchase and alert you to any problems with the car you may be thinking about purchasing.