Used Car Buying Tips


Buying a car in Newcastle is an exciting but also daunting process. Even if you are looking at affordable options, buying a ‘lemon’ or a bad car is still a devastating waste of money and time. Don’t worry – we’ve rounded up these 5 tips when buying used cars so you can get the most out of your budget.

Tip #1: Research, research, research

To avoid ‘lemons’, exercise a lot of caution and arm yourself with preparation. A survey from CarHistory says that almost 1 in 4 used cars on the market hides a serious issue that can cost you thousands of dollars in repair and maintenance. With around a million Australians buying a used car every year, don’t be one of the unlucky buyers who gets a bad deal.

Don’t be so quick to trust the pitch and approach of the salesman or the previous owner. Do a vehicle history check, and don’t rely solely on the opinion of your friends or family. Ask for records and even hire a third party service that can help you dig deeper into the state of the car.

Research how and where you want to purchase your car. According to CarHistory as well, the riskiest place to buy second hand cars in 2015 was Melbourne North West in VIC, and the best would be Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands in NSW.

Because this is a financial investment, do a research about what kinds of cars you can sustain in the long-term. What models have good fuel economy? Are the repair costs for this car too high? By answering these questions, you can help narrow down our options to only the best fitting cars.

Tip #2: Know your budget

Be realistic about your budget. Don’t just think about the initial investment of buying a car. Consider hidden charges or fees, such as debts, and running costs, including fuel, maintenance and insurance.

Narrow down your options by checking with different providers. Check with your insurance and service providers if they will cover your purchase and its future repairs. Ask and check records to see how much it would cost to fill the tank of your potential car.

Another part of your budget is payment schemes. Interest on your payment and instalment options can make an inexpensive purchase more expensive in the long-run.

Tip #3: Car Requirements

Look at other essential aspects outside of your budget. How often will you use the car? You might need sturdier and reliable models if you’re planning to use the car daily and for commute.
Consider the environment. Vintage sports cars probably won’t cut it for rough terrains and outdoor use. A solid compact car might be best for city use. If you’re buying for a family, looking for a larger SUV might be in your priority list.

If you’re buying for a teenage or first-time driver, check if you want a manual or automatic transmission car. The maintenance and upkeep costs may also depend on the future user.

Tip #4: Be smart during the inspection

It might sound like a simple tip, but it pays to be smart and cautious. Conduct your car inspection in the daylight, and not in the dark or rain. Do a thorough inspection of the outside and inside of the car.

Here are some things you can check out:

  • Body marks
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Paintjob defects
  • Body fillers, welding, and paint overspray
  • Gaps between body panels, malfunctioning doors or lids
  • Comfortability
  • Carpeting
  • Interiors
  • Car accessories
  • Oil leaks
  • Corrosion
  • Tyres

During inspection, don’t just rely on your eyes. Look for records. Know the details of the seller, and confirm if the sale is debt-free. You can even use the Vehicle Identification Number to search the state database and registration to confirm the legitimacy of the transaction.

Lastly, be sure to take the car for a test drive. Check the performance of the steering wheel, the handbrake, and any excessive or irregular noises.

Tip #5: Be savvy

Before you finalise the paperwork, you can still work on negotiating the price down. There’s usually some leeway to drive the sale to your benefit. You can negotiate based on what you’ve researched. List down and present the different faults you were able to spot during the inspection.

Once you’re satisfied with the prize, finalise the paperwork. Make sure everything is in order, from the records to the receipt, then go out for a spin and enjoy!