Buying a new car does not necessarily mean purchasing a brand new one from a dealership. The used car industry is a booming market and many people look towards purchasing a second hand car. Second hand cars are suitable for a lot of people, with the main reason being that they are a lot cheaper than buying brand new. But with anything second hand, there are things you need to look out for. The last thing you want is for your second hand car to stop working not long after purchasing. Check out our tips below on what to look for when buying a second hand car.
Most importantly, you need to know that in Queensland, if a car is being sold with valid registration, it MUST have a valid road worthy inspection. The owner of the car must pay for this and be able to present it to you when you are inspecting the car. If you buy a second hand car from a private individual in Queensland without a roadworthy certificate you will NOT be able to transfer the registration into your own name. The rules are slightly different when purchasing from a dealer, but make sure you are fully informed before you hand over your hard earned (or borrowed cash).
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History of the car
The first thing you want to do is find out as much as you can about the car and its history. Knowing as much as you can about the car and what it has been through will help you to make an informed decision.
Things you need to find out can include:
- Servicing history – Has the car been serviced regularly and on time? If the car has not completed its regular services, there is a chance that issues may arise due to not being maintained and cared for correctly.
- Accident history – Has the car been involved in any accidents? If a car has been involved in an accident it is important to find out what damage was caused to the car from the accident and how it was rectified. Was the car considered a write off? If so, this can cause issues when trying to insure the car.
- Driving history – How many kilometres has the car driven? Was it driven off road or only on road? The meterage of the car can give you an idea of whether there may be impending repairs or maintenance that you will need to pay for. Cars that have driven large numbers of kilometres could be coming close to needing replacements for different parts. Having an idea of how and where the car was driven will also help you to make an informed decision on whether the second hand car is for you.
Inspect the car
Once you know the history of the car, it is time to look at the car, both inside and out. It is important when buying a second hand car that you fully inspect the car. Where possible, having a professional look over the car with you is a good idea. They will be able to check the mechanics of the car and the body to ensure you are getting what you pay for.
Things to inspect an include:
- Body of the car – Ensuring the body of the car is in good shape is crucial. This is what holds you all together and damage to the body can be very dangerous. There are things such as dints and scratches that may not be an issue. But when it comes to cracks, rewelds or repairs that are coming apart – you need to know whether they are going to affect your driving or cause issues when it comes to re-registering the car.
- Engine – Without a working engine, you are pretty much up a creek without a paddle. If you are not confident in checking over the engine yourself, take someone with you that has more knowledge about them. Check for leaks, damage, repairs and strange noises. Having to get work done to the engine can become a very costly exercise, so its important to know before hand if you are going to be up for these costs.
- Interior – The interior of the car is not just how good the seats look. It is important to check over the electricals such as the radio, air conditioning and the lights. Things such as the radio not working or the air conditioning not cooling enough may not turn you off purchasing the second hand car. Things such as lights not working or seat belts not buckling are definitely reasons to reconsider.
Buying a second-hand car can be a great investment when done right. Take your time and inspect a number of cars before making your decision. When in doubt, ask your local car mechanic if you can bring the car in for them to inspect and check over.
Happy car shopping!