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A Brief Guide to Buying Used Cars in Australia

  • Apr 02, 2018

Buying used cars in Australia is not as easy as it used to be in the past. Today, Australia has one of the highest car theft rates in the world, with states such as Western Australia having one vehicle stolen every hour. So, if you are ready to own a motor vehicle and owning a used car is the most convenient way to do it, here are a few steps we recommend you take when making the purchase.

Make a List

Before looking for a used car in the Australian market, you have to make a list of the requirements you want in the car. For instance, do you want to drive a sedan or a compact? Do you have color preferences? What budget are you going to operate using? Will a manual do for you or do you prefer driving an automatic?

Once you know what you want in a car, make a list of those preferences. You will need that list when moving on to the next step of buying used cars in Australia.

Shop Around

You can never get the best experience buying used cars in Australia unless you shop around for the car you want. Shopping means going through dealerships, auctions and even private offers looking for the used car with the make, model, price, and safety statistics you are in the market for. You can choose to physically approach sellers and look over the vehicles they have on offer or scour the internet for the perfect car before setting up a meeting with the seller.

Of the three options, buying from a dealer is perhaps the most convenient option as it makes the process easier for you. Dealers are required by Australian law to verify the vehicles in their stores prior to purchase. They conduct a Revs Check before giving potential buyers quotes on the cars, so you can be sure the car you buy has no money owing tied to it nor is it stolen. Of course, buying from a dealership does not guarantee that you will not encounter defrauding, but it lessens the chances of that happening. Furthermore, car dealers offer warranties on second-hand cars though these differ in length according to state.

If you want to buy from an auction or private seller, however, you may need to do more due diligence.

Conduct a PPSR Check

A PPSR check is a low-cost search on the government’s national register that allows buyers to know the status of a used car, that is, whether it is a registered security interest or not. Getting a PPSR check allows buyers to assess the financial risk related to buying a car. When you run a PPSR Check and the car turns up positive results, that means that the vehicle has an outstanding loan attached to it. Such a car, one registered under the PPSR, presents a greater financial risk for a buyer as it can be repossessed by a lender.

When you conduct a PPSR check and find out that there is a money owing for the car you are purchasing, you can either opt to purchase another car or follow through with the sale, taking some precautions along the way.

If there is no money owing, buy the car because it has a clear title. If PPSR check shows that there is one, ask the seller to pay off the loan before completing the transfer of ownership for the car. Remember, once the car is in your name, you will have two courses of action. You will either have to drive the car knowing that the financier could take it away at any time, or have to clear the debt yourself to ensure your peace of mind. When it comes down to it, you have to ask yourself whether buying a financed car is the best option for you or if the purchase will drain your resources unnecessarily.

On a final note, even with a PPSR check, it is a good idea to run a search on your car’s history to prevent future legal and financial entanglements.

Have the Used Car Inspected

Have the car you are purchasing inspected after conducting a PPSR check if you are buying the used car from an individual or auction. Companies such as the Australian RAC can conduct independent checks to assess the condition of the car and whether it is worth the price demanded.

Alternatively, choose a dealership to purchase the car from. Buying from a dealership has greater benefits in this case because most dealerships will have their cars already inspected. Ofcourse, you can still choose to inspect the car yourself in the car dealership, or have an independent assessor look at it. Inspections are essential when buying a car in Australia because they prevent you from having to deal with car problems in future. A PPSR check  will show you the owing on a car, whether it’s been stolen and whether it is in good shape. An inspection will aid you in verifying that last part.

Contracting a car inspection company or independent mechanic is the way to go if you want to be thorough before buying a car in Australia. However, if you’re not buying your first car, or if you know what to look for, looking over the car yourself could save you significant time and money. Ensure that the car is in the condition advertised before signing any papers.

After Making the Purchase

Contact your insurance provider and organize a policy for the car immediately you make the vehicle purchase (it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle on any Australian road). Transferring the registration of the used car to your name should be the next step on your list, though you typically have a few days after buying the car to get this done.

Following these steps makes it not only easier but safer to buy a used car in Australia. Remember, it is better to err on the side of caution by following these procedures than lose money and resources down the road because of not following them.

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Always run a Quick Revs check before buying a used car.

It is a financially prudent habit and can save you from huge legal problems.

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