9 out of 10 used cars have a defect. Don't risk buying a lemon!
- Choosing the vehicle – Buy the type, make and model of car that best suits your needs…and your pocket. Always research the market first so that you know what to expect in terms of value for money.
- Financing – Never accept a loan or finance agreement just because it’s quick, easy or convenient. It may be at a high interest rate. Shop around for competitive finance before going car shopping.
- Consumer protection – Do not buy from an unlicensed car dealer. Licensed dealers must offer a cooling-off period and Statutory Warranty on most used vehicles they sell.
- Make safety a priority – Choose a car with a high ANCAP or Used Car Safety Rating and comprehensive safety features.
- Independent inspections - Always have a used car inspected by a qualified mechanic before you decide to buy it. Don’t rely on the Safety Certificate or Statutory Warranty! Make an independent inspection report a written condition of the contract and don’t accept the car unless you are satisfied with its condition and any agreed repairs have been carried out.
- Put things in writing – Ignore any promise, warranty or guarantee that isn’t in writing, or that is conditional in any way.
- Background checks – If buying a used car privately, check the Personal Property Security Register or phone 1300 007 777 to determine if there is any money owing on the vehicle or if it is listed as being stolen or written off. Enquiries cost less than $5. The search certificate will also provide information about the vehicle's identity details that can be checked against the vehicle.
- Signing a contract – Never sign a contract until it’s complete, you have thoroughly read and understood it, you are sure you want the car, can afford it, and it is in the condition you are prepared to accept. Once you sign it, it’s usually yours. With new vehicles write on the contract prior to signing, the colour which must be supplied and the date by which it must be delivered. If a dealer does not deliver as agreed, the contract will be cancelled and deposit money refunded.
- Important documents – Always get a copy of any contract and warranty documents you sign and a copy of the Safety Certificate. Remember to check the Safety Certificate is valid and all vehicle details are correct.
- Insurance – Insure your car with a company you feel you can trust to give you good value-for-money cover and an efficient claims service.
RACQ can assist with advice about the car you are considering, vehicle inspections, insurance and finance. For more information call 13 1905.
The information provided in this fact sheet is intended as a general guide only. You should carry out further research and investigations into the topics outlined above prior to implementing any actions or recommendations