Used Car Buyers Guide


Buying a new car is an exciting time. This is the new car which will take you to work, to school and out with friends. Even when your new car is a used car, it is still new for you. When you are in the market for a new used car, be sure to take your time and find the one which will be the best fit for you, your family and your lifestyle. Here is our complete guide to buying a new used car.

Setting A Budget

When buying a car it is important to set a budget. Whether you will be buying a car outright or you will be financing it, it should be something which fits into your budget. Some things to consider when setting your budget include:

  • How much can you afford to put down?
  • How much can you afford monthly?
  • How much can you afford for insurance?

Remember that the cost of a car is more than just the payment you will make monthly. You need to consider maintenance, fuel, insurance payments and any parking fees. A car is a large expense and one that you should easily be able to handle.

The Type of Vehicle

While everyone may want a nice little sports car, not everyone would be happy in reality when driving one. It is important to find a car which suits your lifestyle. Having a family of four that likes to go camping on the weekends is a different lifestyle than a medical student who is always at school. The car you choose should work for your needs. Important considerations include:

  • How far do you have to drive?
  • How many people will be in the car?
  • Do you need special features like a television for the kids?

A Green Vehicle

There is a move towards green vehicles. Not only will you help to lower your carbon footprint, but you may receive some extra financing and discounts on your insurance. Greener vehicles can be hybrids between fuel and electric cars or can be ones which have opted for LPG, lower emissions fuel. Some of the top performing green vehicles according to the Green Vehicle Guide include:

  • Nissan Leaf
  • Holden Volt
  • Honda Insight

Private Sellers vs Car Dealers

Finding a used car can be the biggest struggle of all. It is important to make sure that the car is in good shape, has a clean vehicle history, is free and clear to sell and the transaction will be handled in the right way. There are two main types of used car sellers: the private seller and the car dealer.

Private sellers are usually the ones who will post on websites and list their car for sale. The biggest concern with a private seller is that they have the right to sell the car. There is a government registry which can be checked in the Australian territories to confirm who has the current ownership of a vehicle. When shopping from a private seller be sure to see the current registration from the owner and ask to see the safety inspection as well. Some buyers will even allow you to call out a mechanic to check the car. Consult a qualified mechanic, they're always available to come and check out the car.

Buying from a used car dealer ensures that all the paperwork is in order for your new, used car. The title, registration and licensing will be handled by the team at the dealership. The downside is that you may not be able to haggle on the price as much as you would with a private seller.

Vehicle History

When buying a used car it is important to know the vehicle history. Not only will this include any work which has been performed such as log book service and maintenance but it will also show if the vehicle has been in any accidents. With the vehicle identification number (VIN) you will be able to look up the vehicle history with the local government. This can give you a wealth of peace of mind.

Taking it for a Test Drive

Do not buy a car without giving it a spin. You have to feel how it drives. Any sense of vibrations, a clicking sound, squealing brakes or trouble getting in or out of gear can signal serious issues. Additionally, you should see what it is like to sit in the car. Is there a blind spot which you cannot see? Does the seat suit your height and size? The way that every car handles is a bit different based on manufacturer specifications. You should be sure that you like the way that the car handles.

Negotiating Price

When buying a used car it is smart to look around and see what the average asking price is for this type of vehicle. When you have a ballpark figure make a list of anything which may be wrong with the car. This can range from a strange squeaking sound to a chip in the paint to dirty floor mats. These are things which you may want to have fixed when you take ownership of the vehicle. Estimate these costs and use that as leverage for negotiating the price.


When the deal has been made to buy a used car there is a lot of paperwork which will be involved. The first thing which must be taken care of is the registration. The title must be signed so that the ownership can be transferred from the old owner to you. The transfer of registration must be filed within 14 days of buying the car. A vehicle inspection must be accounted for in order to ensure that the vehicle meets the road safety standards. This will address any mechanical issues with the vehicle. Before you can take the keys and get on the road, you must have minimum insurance.

In addition to all of this you may be dealing with some taxes and other local fees. When dealing with a private seller or a used car dealer, be sure to discuss any fees before you sign on the dotted line.

Your New Used Car

Finding the right used car can take some time. It is important to find one which suits your lifestyle, suits your budget, is safe and has a clear history. Work with a local mechanic to ensure that there will be no surprises the first time you get the car on the road.

Specialist Car Services