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Procedure and Tips For Buying A Used Car

1. Inspect the vehicle

Split this into three parts — Body, engine, and test drive.

For the body inspection, look out for

• Dents

• Scratches

• Differences in the paint finish. This can be a sign of respraying — ask the owner why this was done.

For the engine:

• Get service records, receipts, logbooks, etc.

• Have the engine assessed by a mechanic. Organisations like RACQ, RACV, etc. can perform vehicle inspections for you if you can’t take the car to a mechanic.

2. Get a REVS Check

A REVS check, also known as a PPSR report, gives you comprehensive information about the car’s history. It tells you details such as:

• If there’s any money owing on the vehicle.

• If it’s ever been written off, and why.

• If it’s ever been stolen.

• Part numbers such as engine part number to ensure authenticity.

• If the car is part of a recall, such as the Takata airbag recall.

You can get a REVS check by entering the car’s VIN or registration number at revscheckreport.com.au. It’s fast, simple, affordable — and can save you a lot of trouble later on.

3. Settle on price and deposit

Once the car has completed all the checks, settle on a price with the owner, then a deposit, if necessary. Bank cheques are the most secure method for deposits, but cash and bank transfers also work.

Make sure you have official paperwork drawn up, signed by both parties, outlining the agreed on price, the deposit amount, and the payment schedule.

4. Double check the paperwork is in order

Make sure you have your relevant logbooks, receipts, service reports, etc. These are important documents and should be stored in the car, or in a safe place at home. Make sure none went missing between the inspection and purchase.

5. Sign and enjoy

Fill out the relevant section on the registration papers. Read and follow instructions carefully.

After your final payment, go to the nearest RTA/Department of Main Roads and fill out an Application for Transfer of Registration. You can skip this step if you bought from a car yard.

Enjoy your car!

Used Car Buying Tips

• Stock car models are more likely to be in good condition than heavily modified or customised vehicles.

• Generally, the fewer the owners a car has had, the better. It helps you have a clear line of title and service history.

• Check if you can upgrade the car in future if you need to.

• Don’t worry about high mileage. A car with high kilometres that has mostly run on the highway is going to be better off than a car with lower KMs, but almost exclusively driven in a city.

• The average mileage is about 20,000km a year. If you buy a 5 year old car, 100,000km on the odometer is about average. Much higher or lower, and you want to find out why.

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