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Your 7 step guide to buying the perfect used car

We’ve all heard at least one horror story about buying a used car. Thankfully, avoiding trouble is easier than you think. Follow a few basic rules and you’ll drive away in a quality used car, for a reasonable price. Here’s what to look out for when buying your next used car.

All sellers aren’t equal

When it comes to used cars, you get what you pay for. To ensure you get the most bang for your buck, avoid high risk older models with a long list of former owners and a large number of k’s on the clock. Brand dealers usually have the biggest range of models (and bonus, they’re covered by warranty), but prices can be high. So if budget’s a big deal for you, shop around until you find the right price.

If you’d rather buy privately, here’s the 7 step checklist every savvy second hand buyer should follow:

1) Used car sites are a great source of valuable information, so spend some quality time on reputable online sites comparing models, prices and k’s on the clock.

2) Decide exactly what you want and restrict yourself to looking at specific later model options with no more than 3 owners and as few k’s on the clock as you can afford.

3) Only consider cars with a current roadworthy certificate. Without it, you won’t be able to register the car as a new owner, regardless of the State you buy it in.

4) Take your test drive seriously and make sure you give the electrics (along with all the other moving pieces) a thorough going over

5) Before you hand over any money, have the state’s motoring organisation (RACV, NRMA, etc) inspect and report on the car. If they notice faults, move on or bargain the seller down And while you’re at it, check the car’s online vehicle record and have a good look at its history and legal status

6) If all is well, compare it to others in the market. I If it’s more expensive, bargain down the asking price

7) If the service book on the car is inconclusive, budget on a service as soon as possible after purchase.

And that’s it – 7 steps to buying a used car with confidence!