Bodyfit Autos Checklist for Buying a Used Car

Bodyfit Autos provides a comprehensive checklist of features to check and best practice when buying in the used car market.

Words by Motorfit

11 January 2022

Motorfit provides a comprehensive checklist to follow when in the market for a used car.

When buying a used car from a dealer, privately or at auction, it’s important to conduct a thorough mechanical inspection and do checks to determine whether the car has money owing on it, or has been involved in a major accident during it’s life.

When first starting out:

– A well maintained used car can save you a lot compared with buying new
– Buying privately can also deliver savings compared with buying from a dealer, however;
– Buying from a dealer means you get a warranty in many cases
– Use the online CarHistory check to make sure the car doesn’t have money owing on it, or has been in a serious crash in its past.

Buying a used car from a dealership gives you a statutory warranty and guaranteed title on cars under 10 years old or 160,000km (and below the NSW luxury car tax threshold.) This warranty is valid for three months or 5,000km from the date of purchase and covers items relating to reliability, safety and roadworthiness. A dealer will usually have the ability to arrange finance for your purchase.

The main advantages of buying a used car from a dealer include:

– Easier to dispose of your vehicle
– License dealers guarantee title of the vehicle
– Provide a range of vehicles to choose from
– Warranty in NSW on cars under 10 years or 160,000km and below the Luxury Tax Threshold in NSW.


Motorfit Checklist for Buying a Used Car

Interior – Check the seats, interior plastics and carpet for stains, cracks, damage or wear and tear that’s not consistent with the age and kilometres of the car.

Vehicle identification – Check that the car’s VIN – vehicle identification number – matches the VIN on the registration papers. You’ll find the VIN on a small silver build plate that’s usually in one of the rear corners of the engine compartment, or at the base of the windscreen. While you’re there, also confirm the car’s build and compliance dates.

Exhaust – Black, white or blue smoke from the exhaust indicates an engine problem. Excessive exhaust noise or a knocking sound from under the car can indicate an exhaust system problem.

Engine – Ensure the engine runs quietly and smoothly at idle and while driving.

Radiator coolant – Only remove the radiator coolant cap when the engine is cold; the coolant should be brightly coloured and clean, typically red or green.

Body and paint – Inspect the body for dents, creases or ripples, loose, misaligned or mismatched panels, paint overspray, evidence of rust or crash repairs, and hail damage. Check that the doors, tailgate and boot close easily and latch firmly.

Engine oil – A stamped service book will tell you if a car has been serviced on a regular basis. Checking that the dipstick shows a full supply of clean, honey coloured oil will provide extra confirmation.

Seat-belts – Ensure the seat belts retract and extend smoothly, that the locking mechanism works, and that the belts are in good condition.

Warning lights – With the engine running, make sure there are no warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel.

Equipment – Check that all the accessories are in good working condition, including the fan and air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, audio system, parking sensors, satellite navigation and reversing camera.

Jack and tool kit – Make sure these important items are in place and in good working condition.

Tyres – Ensure all the tyres (including the spare) are in good visual condition without signs of uneven wear or damage, and with tread depth above the minimum wear indicators. Ideally, the tyres should all be of the same brand and pattern.

Fluid leaks – Look around the engine compartment and underneath the car for signs of oil, coolant or other leaks that might indicate potential repairs or poor maintenance.

Lights – Test the operation of head and taillights, indicators, reverse lights, park lights and number plate lights.

If you are unsure what you need, you need someone to give you the right advice!

One of the most difficult parts about buying a used car is knowing what type of car you actually need. This where a skilled and knowledgeable team member from Bodyfit Autos comes in handy. They can help you find a vehicle that suits your lifestyle and that is within your requested budget. Bodyfit Autos can also arrange trade-ins on your current vehicle (which can be a real pain in the neck to sell on private sale) and offer finance services if required.

Motorfit | Buy and sell quality used cars in Sydney
We look forward to helping you shop for your next car and help you take home the vehicle of your dreams after a fun and successful shopping experience. For more information about us and our vehicle selection, contact us today. 

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