Is it easy to buy secondhand cars in Australia?

Looking to buy secondhand cars in Australia and not sure where to start? It can be daunting to decide between buying from a dealership and buying privately. Then you’re probably wondering where to buy a secondhand car in Australia or what is the best secondhand car to buy? We’ll try and break down everything you need to know about how to buy secondhand cars in Australia.

Where to Buy a Secondhand Car in Australia?

Government data reveals over 1,500 new car dealers in Australia, while the number of used car dealerships will be much higher. This makes it relatively easy to find used cars for sale, especially if you live in a city like Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart or Melbourne. Private sellers also put up their listings on sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace – making it easy for buyers to research online before finalising a particular make and model.

What is the Best Secondhand Car to Buy?

The type of secondhand car you choose to buy will depend on your specific needs. For example, families may choose SUVs over sedans and hatchbacks, while young professionals may choose smaller vehicles. Tradesmen and those involved in more physical activities may favour utes. In fact, buying data shows that the Toyota Hilux topped the list of the top 10 selling cars in Australia in 2020.

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Do you Buy Secondhand Cars from a Dealer or Private Seller?

Ultimately, the decision is yours to buy secondhand cars from a used car dealer or private seller. But you should absolutely know the differences between the two before making your choice. Dealers are licensed and must provide a clear guarantee or title and statutory warranties. A good dealer confident of the quality of their vehicles may even provide extended warranties to give you additional protection – and peace of mind.

Checks When Buying a Secondhand Car

Buying a secondhand car can be a little tricky when you don’t know what to look for. Take a look at some must-do checks to help guide your decision:

Kilometres on the Clock

Obviously, an older model with fewer kilometres sounds like a good thing, but you have to be wary of tampering. A good way to protect yourself is to order a car history report or get the dealer to send you one. This lets you verify what is advertised versus the reality. If there is a major disparity between the two, walk away!

Check Whether the Car Has Finance Owing

Finance is usually not a problem with dealers because have a protect yourself to provide you with a clear title and no finance owing. But when you buy from a private seller, it becomes important to check whether the vehicle has any finance owing on it because they don’t have the same legal obligation.

Take the Car for A Test Drive

Ask to test drive the vehicle to make sure the engine runs smoothly. Ask to see the service book and history so you are aware of how often the car was serviced. Make sure all the tyres are in good condition visibly with no obvious signs of damage. Check the indicators, headlights, taillights, number plate lights, parking lights and reverse lights during your test drive. Also, make sure you check for things like excessive smoke and strange noises coming from the car while driving. Once you are done with your test drive, be sure to look under the car for any leaking fluids.

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Check the Interiors

Look for signs of damage and wear and tear inside the car. It should be as clean as possible and free from any odours. This tells you the vehicle has been well looked after. Also, look at accessories like air conditioning, fans, reverse camera (if available), power windows and stereo to make sure everything is working as it should. As part of your check, make sure the seat belts are in good condition and that all locking mechanics are smooth and functional.

Check the Body of the Vehicles

Check that the doors open, close and latch easily – including the boot and bonnet. Also, look for signs of faded paint, which could mean that the vehicle has been exposed to the elements for a long time. If there are any dents and bumps in the car, it could indicate that the vehicle was in a previous accident. A car history report would come in handy here.

You don’t have to be a car expert to perform these small checks when you buy secondhand cars, plus they could save you a ton of money in the long run.  A comprehensive $36 car history report can prove extremely useful as it provides detailed information about a vehicle. Some dealerships will provide this document to you without charge as well. 

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