How to buy a Good Used Car

Buying a Used Vehicle: How do I ensure it's not a Lemon?


Buying A Car



For most of us, purchasing a quality used vehicle is a major investment and one we need to get right.  After our house, a car possibly represents our second highest capital outlay, so no one wants to end up with a "lemon" which continues to suck up our hard earned dollars.

So it makes sense not to let our emotions control our actions when making these important decisions.  There are a few logical steps to take to ensure the vehicle you choose is the best decision given all the information you have at the time.


A Pre Purchase Checklist is essential to follow.

What type of Vehicle do you NEED to fit your priorities?:

  • Compare different makes and models checking online reviews and online Forum

  • What are the actual fuel & safety ratings for each Vehicle?

  • Advantages or disadvantages of buying privately compared to through an LMVD

What is your Budget to complete the purchase?:

  • Can you fund the purchase from savings or via a finance arrangement (interest rates, repayments, the term of the loan)?

  • The total cost of the vehicle including running costs, servicing, fuel, RUC's (if diesel), insurance, accessories (fluffy dice etc)


You have now found a vehicle that ticks all your boxes, what next?

Check the vehicle's basic documents:

  • WOF and Rego expiries

  • Any vehicle service history and copies of receipts, where serviced and frequency 

  • Check online for any outstanding finance on the Vehicle

  • Ask the Seller about anything you think is relevant that will satisfy your pre-purchase questions.  After the exciting Test Drive of the vehicle, it's now time to get some independent, professional, mechanical advice.  Now is the time to engage your trusted expert whom you rely on and trust to inspect the vehicle and have a Vehicle Inspection completed.

At Auto Care Kilbirnie we have put together a comprehensive, 30 point, visual vehicle inspection and report.  This will check items such as wheels and tyres, steering, brakes, radiator, drive belts, plugs and filters, plus the all-important Road Test. Each item is checked and notes made about condition or work required.  

And now it's time to decide.

After all of the above due diligence are you still getting a fair deal?  Remember each party has to be happy with the sale result (a win/win outcome).  Is any part of the sale "too good to be true"?  Is an extended warranty being offered and does it add value?.  Contact your Insurance Company and get a comprehensive insurance quote, ask them for any information they have about the particular make and model, they have an extensive vehicle database.

. You have ticked all your important boxes and you have arrived at an unemotional decision to make the purchase.  The mechanical advice received from your trusted expert is the most important aspect of this whole process.





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