How to Avoid Buying a ‘Lemon’

  • Posted 02 Dec

How to Avoid Buying a ‘Lemon’

When it comes to buying a used car, there is plenty of risk involved. Particularly if you’re not mechanically minded and don’t know the first thing about what to look out for.

It can be very easy to buy a ‘lemon’ when it comes to used cars, which is why it’s very important you always complete due diligence, no matter where you’re purchasing the car from.

Follow the steps outlined below to ensure you avoid buying a lemon and wasting a ton of money.


Best Used Car Strategies

#1: Always research first

Before you start looking, make sure you know what you’re actually looking for. What are some of the features you’ll need in your car and what’s the budget you’ve got to work with?

This will help you narrow down your list and focus your search to a few select types of vehicles.

Once you find a few cars that meet your requirements, make sure you check Redbook to compare pricing, so that you’ve got a good idea how much the car is worth so you can negotiate.

Your aim is to purchase the newest car with the lowest kms for the best price. You want a car that doesn’t have any hidden surprises too, so finding out the ownership history is key as well as checking the service history.

#2: Review documents

Depending on your state laws, you may need to ensure that the person selling the car has the right documentation, such as a roadworthy certificate or a ‘pink slip’.

The car should also be currently registered and have current CTP insurance. If none of these check out, major red flag. Walk away.

#3: Do a REVs check

This is something that can really stuff up your day if it happens to you…

If a car still has finance on it from the previous owner and they fail to meet their obligations, the car that you’ve purchased can be repossessed!

Which is why you should always complete a REVs check to make sure there is no finance on the car, that it’s not stolen or that it hasn’t been written off due to a major accident or flood damage.

If you’re dealing with a licenced dealer, they are obligated to provide all of this information to you. However, if you’re going private, this is when you need to step up your game and ask the right questions.

In order to complete a REVs check, you’ll need the registration number, the VIN (vehicle identification) number and the engine number.

Jump over to the REVs website and run your checks.

#4: Take it for a test drive

If everything else has checked out good so far, now it’s time to inspect the car yourself and take it for a test drive.

Make sure the car drives well, that there aren’t any weird noises when you’re turning, that everything works as it should and that you feel comfortable behind the wheel.

#5: Have a mechanic check it out

Once you’ve got this far, it’s time to bring in the big guns and get a trusted mechanic to check the car out.

This will cost you money, so only do this on a car that you’re looking to buy. If you belong to an organisation like the RACQ, they can do this for you. Check your local state RAC for details.

By ensuring that you complete all these checks, you’ll avoid buying a lemon. Fail to do these, and you could end up with more than just a lemon, you could end up with a car that’s a death trap…

Always do your due diligence first, or have someone manage this process for you!

Australian Credit and Finance provide a car buying service that takes away all of the hassle, including arranging finance where needed. Contact our team today to get started!

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