Buying a used car – Dealership vs Private

Buying a vehicle can be an exciting time in your life, people often buy vehicles as a statement piece and can be very proud of their new wheels!  On the other hand, buying a used car can also lead of a lot of headaches, arguments with the seller and even court appearances in some cases.

Below are just some tips for people looking at purchasing their next car and taking the necessary precautionary methods to make a successful transaction.

Buying from a dealership:

It is always recommend buying from an authorised dealership based on the following factors;

  1. Guaranteed that there are no monies owing on the vehicle (i.e. finance)
  2. Dealerships will have to disclose any vehicle history of requested by potential buyer
  3. Dealerships will have to advise of any odometer rollbacks reported
  4. Dealerships will have to disclose if the vehicle has been in any major accident deeming it to be a repairable write off, include hail and flood damage
  5. Dealership have to supply the seller with a statutory 3-month warranty period – always read the product disclosure statement before proceeding with purchase

It is recommended that the seller ask about the above-mentioned items to gain an understanding of the vehicles past life.

If your still unsure whether to go ahead with the inspection or not, just get a professional to come out and look at the vehicle and get a comprehensive report in writing.

This will usually save you all the back and forward phone calls and a lot of time.
With all the issues set in writing you will then be able to negotiate your final offer depending on the outcome of the vehicle inspection report.

Buying from a private seller:

Buying from a private seller can seem like a better option in some cases by one major factor, the asking prices are almost indefinitely cheaper!  Whilst this option can seem appealing, nothing comes without its downfalls.

Please consider the following factors that all used car buyers should take into consideration before making their initial offer;

  1. Ensure that the person selling the car is the actual authorised owner – please check this by cross-referencing the registration certificate.
  2. Ensure that there are no monies owing on the vehicle – complete a vehicle REVS check or PPSR certificate
  3. The vehicle should be sold with an up to date roadworthy certificate – this can vary from state to state but a general rule of thumb is that the roadworthy certificate should not be over a month old – please check with the applicable state authority for exact time frames.
  4. Ensure that the registration number stamped on the body matches the number listed on the registration certificate
  5. Once you have completed your REVS check or PPSR report , ensure that the engine number matches the one listed on the report – if these numbers do not match, this is a sign that the engine may have been replaced at some point in time.

If the above-mentioned factors are out of your capabilities, again, it is recommend engaging the services of a certified vehicle inspector and mechanic to come out onsite and report on these items as they are crucial elements that will make your car purchase a breeze.

Also, there are no grace or warranty periods for all private vehicle sales, so it is essential that the seller is aware of all the red flags and ensuring that there are no question marks when making their final offer.

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About the Author

Daniel is the founder of Double Chex Vehicle Inspections and proudly holds a Motor Vehicle Repairers licence, memberships with NSW Fair Trading and associated statutory bodies as required to complete independent vehicle inspections that are accepted across various industries nationwide.