We can’t all be mechanics; but when it comes to buying a used car, there are plenty of questions you can answer yourself to avoid landing a lemon.
Let’s take a look below.
What is the Car Like to Drive?
You should always, always test drive a car before purchase. While a visual inspection is helpful, (we’ve canvassed what to look out for here) it’s no substitute for getting those wheels on the road. When you take the car for a spin, it gives you a chance to answer various questions including:
- How comfortable are the seats?
- Does the car have good visibility?
- How quiet is the ride?
- How does the car handle on different surfaces?
- What is the acceleration like?
- Do all the internal electronics work? (think air-con, radio/CD player, auxiliaries, GPS, side mirror buttons, window buttons, internal locking feature etc) Ideally you should be checking out every button. If some features don’t work, and this has not been previously disclosed, you may be able to negotiate a reduced price
Is Your Car a Lightning Rod for Potential Thieves?
58,285 vehicles were stolen across Australia in 2019 alone. While your choice of used car will be influenced by numerous factors, it does pay to do your research on which makes and models of car have consistently proven popular with thieves. We suggest checking out articles like this one, which tell you the rate at which particular vehicles are targeted as a portion of the number of that particular vehicle on the road.
What is the Car’s History?
This is something you can easily Google yourself. For a small fee you can enter the car’s VIN into various websites and receive a report on its history. This type of report can alert you to things like car theft, write offs and previous sale information. It can also alert you to instances where the odometer has been rolled back. As cars have got more high-tech, many people assume that odometers can no longer be tampered with; but that’s simply not the case. Instead modern-day fraudsters rely on illegal software to reprogram odometer readings. In fact it’s estimated that about 1 in every hundred cars in Australia has undergone an odometer rollback!
How Safe is the Car?
Australian car safety ratings are determined by The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). To find out the safety rating of cars you are interested in purchasing, simply head to the ANCAP website. It’s important to bear in mind that the same make and model of car could carry different safety ratings depending on the year of manufacture. It’s also worth noting that the newer the vehicle, the more stringent the safety tests it has passed. This means that a car built in 2010 may carry the same 5-star rating as a car built in 2020, however; the 2020 car is most likely a safer car.