As the price of new cars has climbed, used vehicles have become more popular than ever. New cars are also more expensive than ever, inflation aside.
But thanks to engineering strides, vehicles have never been more durable and maintenance-free, and previously owned vehicles can potentially offer fantastic value.
Ask the Seller these questions
Qualifying the seller allows you to determine specific information that will help you to achieve a positive outcome. You’re trying to find out whether the car you’ve seen advertised is the right one for you. You’re trying to determine:
- As much information as possible about the advertised car before you spend valuable time looking at it.
- Determining how serious the seller is, why he’s selling it and what history the car has before you buy someone else’s problem. You’re out to avoid a lemon
To qualify a seller, you'll need to answer the following questions for yourself. Whether you’re working off a private classified, a dealer ad or the internet, you’ll want to know the following information. Don’t be pressured into their insistence to see the vehicle before you’ve got this information. If the seller refuses to provide this, chances are that they’ve got something to hide and this means stay clear.
- How many kilometres are on the odometer?
A second hand vehicle's mileage greatly determines its value, which is important during the investigation phase. It allows you to compare one car against another. (You can research values with the Red Book pricing tool before even talking to the seller) If when you get to see the vehicle, be careful to check the odometer on the vehicle dashboard and look for signs that the numbers don’t line up, that one number is stuck when you test drive. If you suspect that the odometer has been tampered with ( and this applies to the private seller too) it’s time to say thanks but no thanks.
- What's the condition of the vehicle?
You’re asking an open ended question here and it will give the seller the opportunity to tell you about the vehicle. Price will determine what you can accept and what is unacceptable to you. Be sure to ask about the mechanical condition as well. If the seller didn’t offer a comment.
- Know what model it is and what’s special about it.
The standard features effects a vehicles price. Dies it have leather trim? Does it have a single cd player, a cd stacker or even a DVD? If you want it, make sure that it has air conditioning and power steering. Some older cars had these as options and many buyers have only discovered after delivery that they were missing.
- Who was the previous owner?
Generally a one owner/one driver vehicle is preferable. If you’re buying a factory program vehicle be aware that this is almost certainly an ex lease or rental vehicle. Whilst there isn’t anything wrong buying an ex rental vehicle, know what you’re buying and negotiate accordingly.
- Was the vehicle ever involved in an accident?
A very important question. Vehicles that have been in accidents seem to have more problems and generally more serious problems than vehicles that haven’t. If the seller says that it hasn’t, you must still have it inspected. If the inspection determines that it has then the seller is either lying or doesn’t know as much about the car as he should – time to leave.
- Are the service books in the car and up to date?
If an owner keeps good records chances are the car is a good one too. If the owner has had the vehicle serviced by a franchised dealer, it’s likely that they will have serviced it to the factory specifications. If it’s been serviced by an aftermarket service centre, be a bit more careful.
- How much do you want for it?
Don’t appear to anxious – the seller will cotton onto to your enthusiasm and maybe won’t be as negotiable as you need him to be.
What you’re really doing here is finding out if this person is the type of person you trust enough to think about buying a car from. If you don’t like what the seller has to say – walk away.
Just like sellers, buyers must also be wary in a time of identity theft and other age-old payment scams. Here are some guidelines to help avoid the most common frauds.
Interview the Seller Before You Buy the Car
A thorough phone interview may help you identify possible scams and save you the time and effort of arranging a purchase. It’s always better to take someone with you, whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend or mum and dad or a close friend. The old rul is that 2 heads are better than 1.
Confirm the Seller's Identity
Make sure you have complete contact information for the seller, and not just a mobile phone number or an email address. Independently confirm the name, address, and home phone and work phone numbers of the seller by consulting a phone book, directory assistance or an online database.
Have someone inspect the car
Whether it’s the RACQ or a family friend, get an independent inspection of the car.
Is the price too high or too low?
If the car's asking price is well below or above market value, find out why. Check out the newspapers, or web sites and you’ll soon know whether its too cheap, too expensive or just right – That’s the Goldilocks Test
You must get clear title.
Ask to see the registration papers. Compare the vehicle identification number on the rego slip to the one on the car to be sure they're the same. You want to be sure the seller really owns the car. If the name on the rego paper differs from the name of the seller, start asking questions. Check the engine and VIN Numbers on the rego paper with the details on the car. If they are different start asking questions and if the answers aren’t right – walk away.
Get it in writing
Whether you're buying or selling, request a receipt that includes all the pertinent information, including transferred warranty coverage versus "as is" condition, purchase price, odometer readings, detailed seller contact information and a signature.
- Decide which make and model you need to suit what you use your car for.
- Research the asking price from the Red Book or Glasses Guide web site. Alternatively click here to be taken to the Used Cars Queensland web site where you can do an online valuation request
- Before you sign any contract find out how much it will cost to finance the vehicle. Be careful. Even though you have a cooling off period, some used car dealers will put you under tremendous pressure to take the car immediately. Don’t become a statistic – walk away.
- Before you sign a contract, find out how much it will cost to insure the vehicle. You might get a nasty fright. Some cars ( 2 door versions of popular cars) are classified as sports cars and instead of paying $450 to insure your purchase as a four door, a 2 door version of the same car can cost as much as $2000.
- Research the vehicles’ history carefully. Don’t buy on looks alone. Check the log books. Ask to speak to the previous owner – don’t be pressured.
- Speak to prospective sellers on the phone before meeting them in person. Ask the questions above and don’t be sucked in to buying over the phone.
- Ask about the underbody, engine, transmission and body for rust or previous accident damage.
- Ask about the interior for cleanliness, comfort and size.
- Ask about the tyres for wear, not forgetting to include the spare tyre. In Queensland, the spare tyre doesn’t need to be roadworthy and in fact a seller doesn’t even need to supply a spare.
- Request and review the service records, service receipts and title. Remember to get a REVS check and even a written off vehicle check. It might cost a small amount today, but it can save you from heartache in the future
Have a specialist (RACQ) or mechanic inspect your vehicle selection.
Information shown below is a guide to Queensland Government charges and third party insurance charges as they pertain to registration costs and stamp duty. Compulsory Third Party is paid via registration to a third party - ie. Allianz, Suncorp, RACQ, NRMA etc
Stamp Duty is a government charge and is levied at variable rate from $2 per $100 to $4 per thousand depending on your vehicle's engine capacity. Rounding up does occur to the nearest whole hundred dollars.
Registration is levied by the Queensland Government at variable rates dependent on the capacity of a vehicle’s engine.
Registration fees as of October 2012
|4 Cylinders||6 Cylinders||8 Cylinders|
|Pensioner prior 7/94 & |
Veteran prior 7/94 & Seniors
Pensioner post 7/94 & Veteran post 7/94
|4 Cylinders||6 Cylinders||8 Cylinders|
Other QT Business Fees:
Personalised Plate Transfer Fee: $82.20
Plate Fee: $24.60
Motor Vehicle Transfer Fee: $22.8
CTP Fees- Allianz as of October 2012
|BUSINESS||Cars and Station Wagons |
|Ute & Vans |
|PRIVATE||Cars and Station Wagons |
|Ute & Vans |