Buy a peach, not a lemon
BUYING a used car can be fraught with trouble.
So carsguide.com.au has come up with 10 tips to help you find the car of your dreams, not your nightmares. 1Set
your budget Work out how much you can afford and don’t forget to include registration, insurance and regular maintenance and running costs. You should shop around for quotes on a loan and insurance. 2Do
your research It’s important to have a thorough look at what’s out there. To get an idea of a model’s current market price, search used car ads online or in the newspaper. Also check out our price guide.
Be wary if you find a used car priced much lower than the market suggests it should be. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. 3Find
the right car Browse cars by body type, make or price to find out which make and model might suit.
Go window shopping by make and model, age and location, and read expert Carsguide reviews of the car you’re looking for.
Check the latest car news to see if a new model is coming which can reduce the price of previous models. 4Contact
the seller And when you do, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. • How long have they had the car? • Why are they selling it? • Has it ever been damaged? • What condition is it in? • Will it meet a RWC? • Does it have any ‘‘bad habits’’? 5Look
at the car If the seller is a private party rather than a dealer, go to their home address. Don’t arrange to meet them somewhere else.
Check that the home address is the same as the one on the registration certificate.
Take a printout or copy of the seller’s advertisement with you to check that details like the odometer numbers are accurate. 6Check
the car’s history No matter how genuine the seller seems, check the history of the car to make sure it’s not stolen, encumbered by an outstanding loan, or even a previous write-off. Get the car’s VIN and check against the database in the state in which it’s registered. For a small fee, this simple step could save you a lot of money and problems. In Queensland, go to: service.transport.qld.gov.au/ vehicleinformationcheck/ 7Check
the car Make sure you have a thorough look over the car yourself, and best of all, have an independent mechanic check it out properly on a hoist. It could save you thousands by revealing mechanical problems and previous damage. • Always look at the car in full daylight, never in the dark or in rain that could conceal body marks, dents, rust and other defects. • Take a look at the tyres to make sure they’re in good condition and have plenty of tread. • Inside the car, make sure the seatbelts work correctly, the steering wheel and dashboard are bolted on correctly, the front seats move properly and all switches work. • Start the car with a cold engine, which will make it easier to reveal problems like poor starting or too much smoke. 8Test
drive the car Make sure you: • Drive on as many different road surfaces as possible. • Use all the gears, and check the gear change is slick and smooth. • Ensure the clutch pedal ‘‘bites’’ around the middle of the pedal’s travel. 9Negotiate
the price The price is the price, but there’s often leeway for bargaining.
Make a list of any faults you found with the car, or any work that might need doing, and calculate how much this could add to the price.
From this position, negotiate the price with the seller. 10 Paperwork and payment Make sure all the paperwork is in order, and that you have original versions (never photocopies) of everything – registration papers, service history and logbook.
If you’re making a payment or even just a deposit, get a receipt and make sure the seller’s full details are on it.
Never give or send a seller money without seeing the car, or without getting a receipt with all the details.
Call our Customer Service on 1800 026 705 (Mon-Fri 8.30am5.30pm) if you have suspicions.
CHOICE: If buying from a dealer expect to pay a little more than from a private party, but look for a warranty.