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Used Cars Australia, Where to Buy Them

Here are hints on how and where to buy used cars Australia wide. And some tips about the paperwork to check.

Be an informed buyer before you purchase anything.

Especially a big item such as a car.

So get a summary about the various options to buy a used car.

In addition see where to look for them.

Find out what paperwork to check.

Understand what to do after purchase.

Let's start.

There are several options for buying used cars Australia wide:

  • Buying from a licensed dealer
  • Buying from a private seller
  • Buying at an auction

Check car values online, purchase the Trading Post newspaper, or check its website, visit used cars dealers.

Attend auctions to understand how things work. Then set your budget.

Before making the final decision get an estimate on car insurance as cost of insurance may differ with the car model.

Used car prices in Australia can vary with the state or the city where you buy.

vintage red holden

The vintage red Holden above is not your usual used car and it would cost heaps more than a second hand vehicle, but it does look nice, though.

Used Cars Australia, Buying From a Licensed Dealer

This is a safe option as the dealers should normally provide some statutory warranty under certain conditions.

Before visiting a dealership make sure that you check with the motoring or road authority in your state or territory to know what you should expect from a dealer.

If you visit a dealership in Sydney you'll spot a paper on the windscreen of each used car. It shows the cash price, the engine number, how many kilometres the car has travelled and if it is covered by any warranty. Ask specific details about what the warranty covers and if there are any conditions attached.

Inspect the vehicle.

Mechanically challenged? Don't know what to look for?

Call in an expert to do a professional pre-purchase inspection and give you a report. You will get an idea about the future maintenance costs. Also the report can help with your price negotiations.

Test drive the car if you want to find out how it works. Before that check with the dealer if the insurance covers the test drive. You don't want nasty surprises.

Used Cars Australia, Buying From a Private Seller

It is generally cheaper to buy privately. But you should double check the car papers.

Ask the owner to show you the certificate of registration and a proof that the car belongs to the seller.

In New South Wales (NSW) ask for the safety inspection report, also known as pink slip.

Make sure all the information is correct and identical to the data you can read on the car: check the plate number, go under the hood and check the engine number and the chassis number or vehicle identification number.

Once you're done with the physical and document inspection it's time to ensure there is no finance encumbrance on the vehicle. Buy a car that does not have any loan attached to it. Otherwise you may lose both the car and the money paid for it.

Do a REVS (Register of Encumbered Vehicles) check. It will provide information if anyone owes money on the car or if anyone reported that it was stolen.

Type REVS into your internet browser to get more information about this service and to ensure that the certificate is available in the state where you are buying.

If you are buying the car in a state and transferring it to another state check with the road authorities in both states as requirements can be different.

All the tips about test driving and inspecting the vehicle are valid whether you buy from a dealer or privately.

Used Cars Australia, You've Bought Your Car. What Now?

After your purchase go to the relevant authority in your state and transfer the registration. You will pay a stamp duty and a transfer fee.

For used cars in Sydney visit the Roads and Maritime Services authority.


Then go to a petrol station, fill your car and drive away.

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