Buying a used car can be a bit frightening if you don’t completely understand what to expect. The following will be helpful when considering the purchase of a used vehicle.
- If a used car is in your future, carefully select the car dealers you plan to visit. Some offer greater selections than others and may have the ability to find the car you need. Remember, when purchasing from a licensed dealer you have a three-day cooling off period available to you in which you can back out of the contract. Buying from a private owner will not allow you the same benefit.
- Decide what type of car you wish to purchase and when you find it at a dealer’s lot check for the car’s full documentation. You may also want to ask the dealer for the service history of the car. If the car is available from a private owner, it’s very important to make certain the car is not stolen and that it has a clear title.
- The general condition of the car is important. The owner of a registered car is required to provide you with a roadworthy certificate, whether they are a licensed car trader/dealer or a private party. Even with a roadworthy certificate you should consider a vehicle inspection to confirm the value of the car.
- Take the car for a test drive for at least 20 minutes and for a distance of at least 10 kilometres. Check the controls as you do and note any unusual sounds or vibrations coming from the car. Check for smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust pipe as this can be an indication of serious engine damage. Also, be certain the dealer or owner of the car has proper insurance to cover any mishaps that may occur during your test drive.
- Completely read and understand any paperwork you are signing before doing so. If buying from a dealer, there should be written agreement as to any extra charges for features discussed before purchase. When buying privately, you may wish to draw up your own contract and receipt. Either way, you should have a copy of the contract when you leave, and both should be signed and dated.
- Finally, don’t forget the transfer of registration. The used car dealer should submit the necessary paperwork and fees to the appropriate government agency, but it is still your responsibility to call in six weeks or so to be certain all has been done. Also, if you buy from a private party, you will be responsible for sending the paperwork and fees in yourself within 14 days of the purchase.