Buying a used car involves several potential pitfalls. Not only are they less reliable, but they can have a checkered history that some owners may try to hide. However, if you can consider certain essential factors, it is possible to reduce the risks involved in buying a second-hand car.
To assist you, here’s what you need to look for when buying a used car.
- Suitability of the car for you
There’s a huge variety of cars on the market today, and the choice can be overwhelming. Think about what you’ll be using your car for and what your non-negotiables are, and what you can go without.
When choosing a suitable car for you, some of the most important things to consider are its affordability, safety, comfort, reliability, and resale value.
- History of the car
Expectedly, every used car has a history. History can go a long way in determining whether a vehicle is the right choice for you. Therefore, you must be concerned about the history of the car you want to buy.
Has the car been involved in an accident before? Was it serviced regularly? How many people owned it in the past? These are essential questions that can help you to learn about the history of a car.
Websites like carhistory.com.au can provide you with a comprehensive history of a car using its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Although these services often require a fee, they could easily save you thousands down the track. If the vehicle has been in an accident, check out the VicRoads written-off vehicles register to make sure it’s been well repaired and is safe to be on the road.
Whatever the case may be, you must be certain that the registration and servicing history records of the car are in order. Also, go for a car that was serviced regularly by the previous owner.
- Detailed inspection
A second-hand car can look great on the internet. Every seller will likely say amazing things about their cars. But a comprehensive inspection can let you know whether such a car is worth your money or not. Therefore, you must create time to inspect the car before parting ways with your hard-earned money.
Although many of us would like to think we could conduct such an inspection on our own, you should inspect the vehicle with an experienced mechanic. In doing so, you will receive a comprehensive report on the car and make the most informed decision possible. They will be able to detect any mechanical or electrical fault that you could have overlooked and save you from making an ill-informed purchase.
- Test drive
Don’t stop at inspecting the car physically; take the time to test drive it. Many used car sellers will allow you to test drive their used cars. So, this will allow you to look for any issues with performance or mechanical faults.
Ask the seller if you can drive it on a range of different road surfaces such as freeways, uphill and streets with sharp corners. This will give you a better understanding of how it handles different driving conditions and if it’s up to your standards. However, if you are not allowed to test drive the car, consider renting the same car model to evaluate its performance.
In many cases, pricing is always a big concern when buying a used car. Many sellers will put an expensive price tag on their cars and expect the buyers to negotiate. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an idea of the market value of the car, you may not buy it at the right price.
To avoid any issue, you should research similar cars in the market. This enables you to know the best price range for the used car. However, you should note that car prices fluctuate. According to Daily Mail, the prices of used cars in Australia have increased by about 37% since the beginning of the corona virus pandemic. Therefore, consider this possible fluctuation.
With that being said, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller. You never know just how desperate they may be to sell the vehicle and you could get a better deal than expected. Come prepared with a list of any faults you’ve found in the car and have a clear argument as to why your price is a fair one.
- On-going costs
The initial cost of purchasing a used car is not the only thing you should consider. You must always think about its running costs. The costs of spare parts, fuel consumption, servicing costs, and car insurance are some of the other things that can affect the use of your car.
While it can be tempting to purchase a more upscale model at a lower price, it could very well cost a bomb to maintain down the track. A third-party car service expert can provide you with information about these ongoing costs.
- Trustworthiness of the seller
The last thing you must look for when buying a used car is the trustworthiness and carefulness of the car seller. A careful and trustworthy seller will not want to sell you a bad product that can give you problems. Even if a car has some issues, such a seller would have notified you before selling it.
Regardless of the trustworthiness of the seller, you should also protect yourself by getting the identity of the seller. Get a valid address and request photo identification before completing the transaction just in case there are any nasty surprises later on.
As long as you have considered everything described above, you should be able to get a used car without much hassle.