Tips for Buying a Used Car

Buying a Used Car? Here’s some helpful tips from our team

Although we always recommend to carry out a Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection before buying a used car, we understand sometimes it just isn’t convenient or within your budget.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled some basic things to consider when buying a used car.

Disclaimer: this is purely a little bit of helpful reading material and we take no responsibility for your choices. If you’re not confident inspecting any aspect of the car, it’s best to get it checked by a qualified mechanic for peace of mind. 

Tips for buying a used car

  • Does the car have a Current Roadworthy/Safety Certificate and is it from an approved Roadworthy Station?
  • Have you completed a PPSR check? Have a look at the website as you can carry out a basic search to check the following:
    • The car isn’t a “write-off” e.g. as a result of being in a serious accident
    • The car doesn’t have finance owing on it e.g. a loan on the car that hasn’t been paid in full
    • The car isn’t listed as stolen
  • Some websites like even have a function to check if the car has had any insurance claims against it (e.g it has had an accident and was repaired).
  • Do a walk around the car, just check the bonnet, doors and boot all open and close nicely. Is there any notable damage, dents and dings?
  • Have a look at the service books if the owner has them. When was the last service done? Hopefully there is a sticker on the windscreen.
  • If the car engine is cold, start it up and listen for any strange noises.
  • Go for a test drive, turn the radio and any sounds off and listen to how the car runs.
  • Try and find a motorway to test drive up to 100 km/h, ensure no strange vibrations or droning noise.
  • Make sure the transmission shifts nicely, or if the car is a manual, test the clutch doesn’t slip
  • Make sure everything works, such as electric mirrors, cruise control, check the sun visor is staying up.
  • Turn the car off, check the oil level level (if a dipstick is fitted) if you have a torch, see if you can locate any oil leaks, even have a look where the car is usually parked to check for oil drips on the ground. Sometimes though, a car with oil leaks won’t necessarily drip onto the road. Undo the oil cap, see if you can see any sludge in the oil cap or the engine. Sometimes it can give evidence of lack of oil change, ensure you can’t see any water in the cap either.
  • Have a good look at the tyres, best to turn the wheel to full lock to be able to see the whole tyre.

We hope these basic tips are helpful and have given you some ideas regarding things to check when buying a used car.

However, if you are not feeling confident, please get in touch with us Ashmore RWC and we can help inform your purchase decision with a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection.