Checklist For Buying a Used Car


Top Tips – What to look for when buying a used car

When you’re buying a used car a little bit of homework up-front can save you a lot of strife in the long run! Here are our top tips to help you find what you’re looking for.

1. Know your budget: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there and the average price of your desired model. Prices that seem too good to be true most likely are.
2. Decide on the basics: Make sure you know your essential criteria, for example the type and size of the car you’re looking for.
3. Ask questions: When first contacting the seller, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions:
a. How long have you had the car and what is the reason for selling?
b. What condition is the car in?
c. Has the car been in a crash of any kind or sustained any damage?
d. Who was the car bought from? Ideally the seller or the previous owner bought the car new.
e. Will the car meet a Road Worthy Certificate (RWC)? If not, walk away.
4. Meet the seller: Take a friend and meet the seller at their home address, and ensure it is the same as the one listed on the registration certificate. Inspect the car in full daylight to easily identify possible defects under the bonnet, any rusting under the car or dents in the exterior.
5. Test drive cold: Arrange to test drive when the engine is completely cold, which will give you a good idea of how the car starts. Test drive the car in all gears and on a range of road surfaces to identify any potential issues.
6. Check the history: Get the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and check the history of the vehicle with your state database.
7. Independent inspection: It’s worth the investment to have the car inspected independently. If there is any hesitation from the seller it is likely they are hiding something. lists a range of service providers you can choose from in your local area.
8. Negotiate: Negotiate the price based on your research into the average market prices and the faults you found with the car that will require further spending. There is usually leeway for bargaining.
9. Check paperwork: Before making a deposit on the car make sure you have all the necessary paperwork; this includes registration papers, logbooks, service history and relevant receipts.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. It is really a difficult decision to find out the best cars from the large number of available cars.Great checklist to make wise decision.Thanks!

  2. Thanks for providing a great knowledge about buying the car. Your checklist was very helpful to find the best car.

  3. People should be aware of the law concerning defected vehicles, as I see a number for sale on here.
    the law states this about a defected vehicle:
    that the vehicle is not to stand or be driven on a road or be SOLD or otherwise disposed of, until:
    •produced at specified place for examination;
    •a clearance certificate is issued by a member of the Police, an inspector or vehicle registration authority certifying that the repairs are done; and
    •the Police, inspector or vehicle authority caused the label to be defaced or removed from the vehicle; and

    any other matters.


    1. Also, really a defected vehicle is like buying a lotto ticket. what starts as a minor fix can end up costing heaps. I know of someone with a defect for a out of date gas tank. he got a new tank but has been back 4 times to regency and it has cost around $2,000 in fixes. he was stopped by the police the other day and issued a warning concerning other defects. So really the scrap price for a vehicle is a couple of hundred, and really that is all a defected vehicle is worth TBH>

  4. Negotiating with the seller in person would do the big play for you to get the used car for a reasonable price. But check also the car itself to be sure that it won’t go into car wreckers after you bought it.

  5. Check the History, 6th point, is very important in terms of knowing the past history of the car. This can easily be done by VIN Check websites just on a click. It helps you know what all has happened with the vehicle in its’ past. Few sites provide vin check data but the most i liked is Clearvin which provides you with detailed vin history reports with the data which is NMVTIS approved.

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