A Quick Guide to Buying Used Cars

You’re in the market looking for a quality second hand car. You want something that’s worth your money and worth the price. ‘Lemons’, or cars that appear nice but are really just pieces of junk, should be avoided at all costs.

If you’re in the search for a used car that’s more affordable than buying a new one, here’s a smart guide to buying used cars. Just follow these steps and you’re more likely to get the car that fits your style, budget, and needs.

Step 1: Research

Taking the time to research about what car you want and what market you should visit makes a big difference. Researching before buying a used car will help you narrow down your options. It also prevents dishonest salesmen and scammers from taking advantage of you.

You need to research the following:

  • Budget
  • Requirements
  • Safety and security
  • Insurance and repair costs
  • Regulations
  • Environmental impact

The first question is budget. Since you’re in the market for second hand cars, you need to define how much you can afford to spend. There are online resources and databases that can give you an idea of what you can get at what price.

Note that buying from dealers is usually more expensive than buying through a private sale or auction, but it also provides more protection and guarantees.

For car requirements, think of your specific needs. Are you going to drive only in the city or out of town? Perhaps you are looking for a big car for your family? If you plan to go outdoors often, through rough roads, then a four-wheel drive might be more appropriate.

Research is also important to assure safety and security. Know what car safety rating or history you’re comfortable with. Insurance and repair costs also vary model to model, so knowing beforehand the models you can afford is important. Check with insurance providers and service providers once you’ve narrowed down your options.

State or territory regulations regarding the sale and purchase of used cars can differ also. Lastly, the fuel energy design of your car can also impact your budget in the long run. Know what type of fuel you can afford as well. As a bonus, checking the emissions rating is one way to contribute to the environment.

Step 2: Inspect your options

Carry a prepared checklist as you shop for cars to help narrow down options. Having someone with you can also help solidify your opinion. Best not to rely solely on your own perception or on the dealer.

Here’s a sample checklist:

  • Paintwork
  • Body fillers
  • Panels and doors
  • Tyres and spare
  • Oil leaks
  • Dipstick
  • Coolant
  • Radiator cooling fans, battery, and other parts
  • Upholstery, trim, and carpets
  • Seatbelts
  • Comfortability of seats
  • Function of lights, equipment, and accessories

Any problems, signs of corrosion or damage can indicate a past crash or accident. As you inspect, be sure to start the engine and check for exhaust fumes, excessive or irregular noise, and signs of leak. If possible, you should take the car for a test drive.

If you don’t trust your own judgment, you can also get professional help by organising an independent expert inspection. During inspection, check if the purchase is debt-free. Buying from dealers will make this a non-issue, but you need to be more careful if you’re buying through a private sale.

You can get this type of information by asking questions about the vehicle’s history. A third-party service may be hired to dig deeper for you.

Ask about:

  • Number of owners
  • Crash and accident history
  • Mileage of the car
  • Cost to fill the tank
  • Registration and insurance details

Basically, everything you researched beforehand should be checked out during the inspection.

Step 3: Finalise your purchase

Once you’ve compared all your options, it’s time to finalise your purchase. Don’t sign until you are 100% confident of your purchase.

After finalising your purchase, don’t get too excited to drive your car across the state. Make sure you have insurance. You should also make sure to transfer the registration to your name within a few days.

Aside from guaranteeing that there’s no debt on the car, dealers are also often required to provide a statutory warranty. There’s a “cooling off period” where you can cancel the agreement within three days of purchase, so keep that in mind. Other rights and responsibilities differ by the state and territory.

Find quality used cars at New Deal Autos

Following this guide will help protect you from the common risks and mistakes associated with buying second hand cars. If you are in Newcastle and looking to buy use cars, then check out our selection at New Deal Autos.

Find the car of your dreams today! For more enquiries, drop us a message via our contact page.