What To Check when Buying A Used Car


In this article we are going to provide you with some guidance on how to approach buying a used car in a way that ensures you get a reliable and safe vehicle while saving money.

While purchasing a used car can give you financial benefits, it’s vital to do your research and inspect the car thoroughly before making a purchase.

The following sections outline the key things you should check to ensure that you get a reliable and safe car. Pay attention to our key points to make sure you will end up having a safe choice.

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Vehicle History Report

One of the first things you should do before even viewing a used car is to obtain a vehicle history report.

This report provides crucial information about the car’s previous owners, accidents, repairs, and other relevant details that can help you make an informed decision.

You can obtain a vehicle history report from services like Carfax or AutoCheck.

When reviewing the report, look for any red flags such as multiple accidents, frequent repairs, or other issues that could affect the car’s reliability.

If the report shows that the car has been in a major accident, it may be best to look for another vehicle.

Here are a couple of famous car companies in Australia that can be good for you to check out in order to have a smarter choice:

  1. Toyota
  2. Mazda
  3. Mitsubishi
  4. Kia
  5. Hyundai
  6. Ford
  7. MG
  8. Subaru
  9. Isuzu
  10. Nissan

Exterior Condition

When you inspect the car, start by checking the exterior for any signs of damage or rust. Look closely at the paint job and make sure there are no dents or scratches.

If you notice any significant damage, ask the seller about it to find out how it happened.

Check the tires to make sure they have enough tread and are not worn out.

Look for any signs of uneven wear, which could indicate an alignment issue or other problem. Also, check the condition of the rims and ensure they are not bent or damaged.

Interior Condition

The interior of the car should also be inspected for any signs of wear and tear.

Look at the condition of the seats, dashboard, and carpeting to see if they are in good condition.

If the seats are ripped or stained, it may be an indication that the car was not well-maintained.

Check the air conditioning and heating systems to ensure they work properly. Turn on the radio and other electronics to make sure they are functioning properly as well.

How can I tell if the car has been in an accident if it doesn’t show up on the vehicle history report?

Even if a vehicle history report doesn’t show an accident, there are ways to check for damage.

1.Look for mismatched paint

One way is to look for paint that doesn’t match the original color, particularly around the edges of doors, windows, and the hood.

2.Check for gaps and misaligned panels

Additionally, inspect the body panels for gaps or misalignment, which could indicate a major accident.

3.Check the car’s frame

You can also examine the car’s frame for signs of bending or damage.

4.Look for signs of repair

If you see welding marks or new bolts and screws, this could indicate that the car has been repaired.

5.Get a professional inspection

To be sure of the car’s condition, it’s always a good idea to have a professional inspector, such as a trained mechanic or body shop technician.

It’s worth noting that not all accidents are reported, so it’s important to be diligent in checking for signs of damage to make an informed purchase.

Engine Condition

The engine is the most important part of the car, so it’s crucial to check it carefully.

Look for any signs of leaks, damage, or wear. Check the oil and transmission fluid levels to ensure they are at the appropriate level.

You should also start the car and listen carefully for any unusual noises or vibrations.

Check the exhaust for any signs of smoke or unusual smells.

If you notice any significant issues, it may be best to have the car inspected by a mechanic before making a purchase.

Test Drive

Before making a purchase, take the car for a test drive to get a feel for how it handles on the road. Pay attention to how the car accelerates and decelerates, and make sure the brakes are working properly.

Check the steering and suspension systems to ensure they are in good condition.

Also, pay attention to the transmission and make sure it shifts smoothly.

If you notice any issues during the test drive, it may be an indication that the car needs repairs.

What are some other signs of damage I should look for?

Apart from the aforementioned signs of damage, there are other indicators you should look for when inspecting a used car:

1.Uneven wear on the tires and Sagging suspension

These include checking for uneven tire wear, which can suggest suspension or alignment issues, and sagging suspension, which could indicate frame or suspension component damage.

2.Strange odors

Strange odors, such as a musty or moldy smell, may indicate water damage that can lead to electrical malfunctions, rust, and corrosion.

3.Electrical issues and Dashboard warning lights

You should also check all the electrical components to ensure they’re working correctly, and look for any warning lights that remain on after turning the key to the “on” position.

Unusual engine noisestransmission issues, and brake problems can also be signs of damage.

By keeping an eye out for these signs, you can make a wise purchase and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Title and Registration

Before making a final decision, ensure that the car has a clear title and is properly registered.

You should also check for any liens on the car, which can indicate that there is still money owed on it.

If the car has a salvage title, it means that it was at one point written off as a total loss by an insurance company.

While some salvage cars can be repaired and made roadworthy again, it’s generally best to avoid them as they can be difficult to insure and may have hidden issues.

Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Even if you’ve done a thorough inspection of the car yourself, it’s always a good idea to have a trusted mechanic inspect the car before making a final decision.

A mechanic can spot issues that you may have missed and give you an expert opinion on the car’s condition.

If the seller is hesitant to let you take the car to a mechanic, it may be a sign that they have something to hide.

Be wary of any seller who is not willing to let you have the car inspected.


In conclusion, buying a used car can be a great way to save money on a vehicle purchase, but it’s important to be diligent and thorough when inspecting a potential purchase.

By checking the vehicle history report, exterior and interior condition, engine condition, taking it for a test drive, and getting a pre-purchase inspection, you can help ensure that you get a reliable and safe car.

It’s essential to do your research and inspect the car carefully before making a purchase to avoid any potential issues.

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