Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Privately purchasing might be intimidating, but it can also be rewarding if you ask the correct questions.

When buying a car privately, there’s a lot riding on getting it right. If you don’t understand the whole story before handing over your cash, credit card information, or a bank cheque, it can be a costly exercise.

However, it does not have to be a difficult or frightening process. A basic ‘audit’ of the car from its images in the ad can be the first step in the process of buying a car privately. Any obvious questions can then be directed to the vendor by phone or email.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


Be Alert and Don’t Get Complacent

The process of purchasing a used car has been revolutionised by online portals. It’s a lot easier now than it was in the ancient days, and finding the car you want is a lot easier. However, this does not imply that you should treat the purchasing procedure as a stroll in the park.

The ad won’t tell you everything you need to know about the car you’re considering. You’ll need to keep an eye out for certain less-obvious hazards.

Has the car already been heavily damaged, and was it restored by one of those shady shops that cut corners to save money?. That’s the first in a sequence of questions you should ask the owner.

Inquiring directly with the owner is the best approach to obtain this type of information. It’s crucial to remember, though, that you might not obtain a completely honest response. However, it is preferable to ask than to let the seller off the hook completely.

Checking the photographs of the vehicle stated in the ad before you start asking questions is one method to prepare yourself for the vendor being economical with the facts. Request an opinion from a friend who knows a little about the car you’re considering buying based on a visual inspection of the vehicle. Ask your friendly expert to come along and assist you with your interrogation of the owner if they’re willing. They might notice something in the owner’s response that doesn’t seem quite right and calls for additional investigation.

Examine The Images of The Car

Before contacting a seller, look over the images to save time and avoid unwanted conversation. It also allows you to get right to the point and receive the information you need.

Be cautious that photographs can make a vehicle appear much better than it actually is. Despite this, they are nonetheless capable of providing you with a wealth of information. Expand the image to see the gaps surrounding the doors, boot, and bonnet in greater detail. Is it even possible? Is there a difference in colour between the panels? Are the doors, bonnet, and back hatch/boot lid flush with the rest of the panels?

What isn’t visible in the photographs may be more significant than what is. Are there any important photos missing? Is there a photo of both sides of the vehicle, as well as the front and back, in the advertisement? What’s to stop you? Why aren’t there any interior or engine shots? Is it possible for the vendor to provide further photos?

By comparing it to photographs of similar vehicles, you may figure out what the body and cabin elements for that vehicle should be. Are there any details, such as wheels, insignia, or other objects, that fit the vehicle’s description? If not, inquire about any discrepancies with the vendor. Examine the under-bonnet photographs and compare them to similar models. Are there any differences in important components? Has the car been altered in any way? Is it in accordance with the description?

Take a look at the cabin images. Is the upholstery, trim, and other interior elements correct for the model and year? Check against similar models once more. Is the vehicle in good condition? Is the condition of the vehicle compatible with other assertions made about it? What else are you going to find if an owner can’t be bothered to prepare the car for photos?.

Our Job is to Ask The Questions!

The vast majority of vehicle owners will tell you the truth about their vehicles to you, the customer. They simply want to sell the car and be completely honest about it. However, approaching any transaction with a merchant with a suspicious mind will not harm your interests.

Before you get serious about making a counteroffer, there are some tell-tale indicators you should take note of and file away for later consideration. During a property settlement dispute, we’ve already highlighted the potential that the seller is not authorised to sell his or her partner’s car.

It has also been mentioned that there is a lot of damage. A car that has been in a serious accident and is almost but not quite written off by the insurance company can be a money pit, a nightmare of inconvenience, and a source of laughs among your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to inquire about noticeable paint overspray under the bonnet, especially near the firewall between the engine and the cabin.

A secondhand car that is sold within months after purchase because a family member dislikes it is another red flag. This is a popular justification given by phony repairers, backyard traders, and others.

Has it been touted as a ‘low kilometre’ example of the model? It’s not uncommon for instrument clusters to be replaced, with the odometer indicating a substantially shorter mileage travelled. Sellers should be particularly questioned if they’re willing to guarantee that the car’s odometer reading is accurate. Especially if the service documents have vanished without a trace. Do they have any other records to back up this mileage (for example, service invoices)? In Australia’s wrecking yards, instrument clusters with 70000 to 95000 kilometres on the odometer are in high demand.

When it saves them and your time, honest vendors who have a real automobile to sell will usually support you in this procedure. You may fine-tune your communication with the seller and save time for both sides by working through these topics.

What You Must Hear From The Car Seller

– What are the specifics of the vehicle they’re selling?
– Do those particulars correspond to the ad?
– Is the vehicle equipped with the characteristics you require?
– Is the year the car was first registered the same as the year it was built?
– What is the total number of registrations?
– Is there a current Roadworthy Certificate (RWC) on the vehicle?
– How long has the car been in the seller’s possession?
– Is the seller the sole owner of the vehicle?
– Is it legal for the owner to sell it?
– Has the car been in the seller’s possession since it was new?
– Who was the previous owner of the vehicle?
– What’s the point of selling?
– What is the mileage on the odometer?
– What is the seller’s assessment of the vehicle’s state?
– Has it been involved in a collision?
– Which sections of the car were damaged in the event of a collision?
– What was the location of the repair?
– Is there a warranty on the repairs?
– Is there any outstanding finance, or is it a lease agreement?
– What kind of ownership documents, previous registration certificates, service histories, and significant repair information can they provide?
– Has the owner lately replaced any parts?
– Has it been tampered with in any way?
– Are they willing to bargain if the price appears to be too high?

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: carsales.com.au

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How to Inspect the Engine When Purchasing a Used Car

The condition of the engine is critical when purchasing a used car because engine problems are costly to repair. Because it is difficult to evaluate the mechanical condition of the engine during a quick test drive, we recommend having a used car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before signing the contract. Here are some pointers to look for when inspecting a used car for signs of engine problems or a lack of maintenance.It is difficult to assess the mechanical condition of the engine during a quick test drive, which is why we recommend having a used car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before signing a contract.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


Here are some pointers to look for when inspecting a used car for signs of engine problems or a lack of maintenance.

Examine service records

Although service records are not always available, it is helpful if the dealer or person selling the car can provide proof that the vehicle has been maintained on a regular basis. Look for oil changes and mileage records if you have access to the service records. It’s a plus if you can prove that oil changes were performed on a regular basis. Oil change intervals range from 5000km to 30000km depending on the manufacturer, but may also be based on time, 6 monthly or yearly, irrespective of km travelled.If the vehicle has been driven for a long period of time without an oil change, the engine may be worn on the inside. It’s also a good idea to know if the timing belt (if the car has one) has been changed, as well as what other maintenance has been performed.

Examine what’s under the Bonnet

Before you start looking under the bonnet, make sure the engine is turned off, the transmission is in “Park,” and the parking brake is engaged. Leaks, the smell of burnt oil or antifreeze, signs of poor quality repairs or lack of maintenance, and ‘racing’ modifications are all things to look for. Before showing a used car to a potential buyer, dealers frequently clean the engine bay. This means that just because everything is clean and shiny doesn’t mean the engine is in good shape. Let’s look at some examples:

Burnt oil smell under the bonnet

Repairing oil leaks isn’t always inexpensive. As the mileage increases, the piston rings and cylinders wear out, allowing more blow-by gases to enter the crankcase. This raises the pressure within the crankcase. As a result, the oil is forced out via various seals and gaskets, as well as the PCV (crankcase ventilation) system. This problem is more common in turbocharged engines. A well-maintained engine is unlikely to have any leaks.

Visible oil leaks

Oil leaks may not be visible from beneath the bonnet, but here’s a tip: look from beneath. Use your phone to take a photo or video. Examine the engine and transmission’s lower parts. Everything must be completely dry.

Leaks of coolant and other fluids

If a vehicle runs perfectly, but there is a coolant leak from the radiator, then this vehicle requires a new radiator at the very least. But a cracked radiator can be a sign of more serious issues. It is best to avoid buying used cars with this type of problem.

Low oil level, contaminated oil

Checking the oil condition on the dipstick can reveal a lot. The engine must be turned off in order to check the oil. Set the parking brake, but be cautious because some engine parts may be hot. The owner’s manual in the car contains instructions for checking the engine oil. If the oil level is low, it indicates that the engine is consuming oil or that it has been a long time since the last oil change. When the engine’s oil supply is depleted, it wears out faster.

Check under the oil cap while the engine is turned off

Remove the oil filler cap while the parking brake is applied and the engine is turned off. Take care, it may be hot; use a towel or rag. Examine it with a flashlight. Some engines have visible internal components. If you aren’t sure about performing this test, it is best to hand it over to your mechanic.

Keep an eye out for performance mods

If a vehicle has been modified for performance, proceed with caution. Modifications, when done correctly, can improve the performance of a vehicle. Poorly done engine mods, on the other hand, can cause a slew of issues, especially if parts that were originally on the vehicle are no longer available. If the vehicle has been modified, it has most likely been raced or otherwise abused.

Is there a timing belt on the engine?

Some vehicles use a timing chain rather than a timing belt. Timing belts in most cars need to be replaced between 90000km and 18000km, but also sometimes time factors come in and maybe 4-8years irrespective of km. A timing belt replacement costs between $800 -$1800 in a 4-cylinder engine and $2000 to $3500 or more in a 6 cylinder engine. If the car you want to buy has a timing belt, find out if it has been replaced. When a timing belt is replaced, some mechanics apply a sticker to the engine. A timing belt is hidden under the covers and cannot be seen under the bonnet. Your mechanic will need to remove one or two covers to inspect its condition, which is not always easy. Checking the service records to see if a timing belt has been replaced is a more realistic option.

Many hidden problems can be revealed by a cold start

Starting the engine cold is the best way to detect hidden engine problems. It might be a good idea to arrive at the dealer a little earlier than your appointment time to accomplish this. You will also know if the battery is in good condition, because if the battery is old, it may need to be boosted in order for the car to start. When starting the engine, keep an eye out for engine noises and smoke. Look for another vehicle if the engine rattles or makes other loud noises, or if there is blue smoke coming from the exhaust. The blue-grey smoke from the exhaust of the car in the photo, for example, was visible. It also smelled like burning oil. Blue smoke indicates that the engine is burning oil.

Test drive

When you start the car, all of the warning lights on the dashboard should turn off. If the engine symbol (Check Engine) light or Service Engine Soon light remains illuminated, the engine computer has detected a fault.It could be a minor issue, but it could also be a costly one. There is no way to know how serious the problem is unless the vehicle is properly diagnosed.

During the test drive, keep an eye out for engine noises, vibration, a lack of power, or any other issues with driveability. When the engine is started, it should run smoothly, with no shaking or hesitation. There is a problem if you notice the engine hesitating or stumbling when accelerating. Idle speed should also be consistent. Test drive the vehicle for as long as possible; problems may not be apparent after a quick drive around the block. It is advantageous to be able to test drive in all modes: acceleration, deceleration, stop-and-go traffic, and highway cruising.

Keep an eye out for the engine temperature displayed on the dash. After the engine has warmed up, the temperature gauge should remain in the middle of the scale.
Even if everything appears to be in order, we strongly advise having the used car thoroughly inspected by an independent mechanic before purchasing.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: samarins.com

 

The Checklist You Need When Inspecting Used Cars

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, a Used Car Inspection Checklist is an excellent choice. To avoid purchasing a used car that will leave you stranded, we recommend thoroughly inspecting it on your own and/or requesting a professional used car inspection.

Follow these 9 steps to ensure you cover all of your bases and find a vehicle that is worth your money.

When Conducting a Used Car Inspection, Use These steps to check a car.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


1. Examine the mileage

According to available data, most people drive a car 15000km per year on average. Any more than that will result in the vehicle having higher-than-average mileage for its model year and should warrant a discount compared to its less-driven peers. REDBOOK and CARSALES are two resources you can use to determine the market value of a used vehicle.

2. Examine the vehicle’s history report

Examine the vehicle’s history to see if there has been any previous damage. The seller may have the history report available for viewing. If not, you can purchase and download it online or request it from an inspection company.

The report is a good place to start, but sometimes it only includes information that has been reported. Previous owners may not have reported certain maintenance or claims/damages made to the vehicle. Through our vehicle inspection process, we have additional methods of learning about the car’s current condition.

3. Check for rust and discolouration of the paint

A close examination of the paint job can reveal information about the past. The Colour and quality uniformity of panels should be compared. If the colour or condition of the panels does not match, the vehicle was most likely involved in an accident and some panels were replaced.

Rust – If you notice rust on the vehicle’s bodywork, it could be an aesthetic issue, but it could also indicate deeper issues that are costly to repair. Frame rust, for example, can compromise the vehicle’s integrity and shorten its lifespan. If you notice rust on the vehicle’s body, look under the bonnet and undercarriage for more evidence.

4. Tyre Inspection – Look for signs of wear

A coin tread depth test is a quick way to check the tread on a tyre. Insert a coin into the tread and inspect it – repeat for each tyre. Please don’t forget to bring a spare. If the grip wears out, the tyres may need to be replaced soon, at an additional cost to you. If the tyre wear is uneven, there could be an alignment problem.

5. Undercarriage & leaks on the ground

While you’re looking at the tyres, check the ground and undercarriage for any signs of leakage. Leak repairs can be costly, but they may provide a price break/point of negotiation.

6. Check and Examine

– Examine the oil levels and condition/colour.
Remove the dipstick and clean it. Insert the dipstick once more, then remove it. A light oil colour usually indicates a recent service, whereas a dark or muddy colour indicates that it hasn’t been changed in a while. Plus a stained dipstick indicates less than frequent changes. Add the cost of the service to the price.

– Under the bonnet, look for signs of rust or corrosion.
These indicators provide a good indication of the vehicle’s previous treatment, current condition, and life expectancy.

– Examine belts for signs of wear.
If any of the belts are frayed or torn, they should be replaced as soon as possible.

– Examine the transmission fluid.
Make certain that the levels are high. The fluid should be clear and reddish in colour.

– Fluid for braking.
The amount of fluid left in your reservoir can be used to predict how worn your brakes are. Low brake fluid levels indicate that the brakes require repair. Also if dark/dirty, it indicates it hasn’t been replaced frequently and may have a high moisture content.

– Examine the antifreeze.
Check for oil contamination and that the colour is clear.

– Examine the battery.
Examine the area for leaks, damaged cables, poor contacts, or corrosion.

7. Lights: Headlight, Taillights and Signal Lights

Ensure brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and taillights are all in working order. Headlight lenses should not be hazy. Also, check for all interior lights are working too.

8. Driving Test

Keep an ear out for any unusual sounds or vibrations. Is the engine sounding normal when you start it? Perform any necessary warnings or checks. Do the engine lights (indicating DTC Error Codes) illuminate? When you press the throttle, observe the performance. Is the steering wheel vibrating or leaning to one side?.
Examine how the vehicle handles on various road surfaces. Brakes can give you a good indication of how worn they are or if they pull to one side. Don’t forget to look for the parking brake. If it’s a manual transmission, feel the gear shift to see if it’s smooth.

9. Professional Inspection

If you are unsure about any of the items on this inspection checklist, consult a professional. It’s also a good idea to have it checked out by a mechanic. Any issues that the mechanic discovers can be used as bargaining chips if you decide to make an offer. When compared to the cost of purchasing a problem-ridden vehicle, the professional inspection fee is a small price to pay. Check the comprehensiveness, OBD scan tool, and peer comparison when choosing a service.

 

Download below for the printable version

Used Car Inspection Checklist PDF

 

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: cardr.com

10 Signs to Look Out for Used Cars that Had Been in Accidents

There’s more to choosing a secondhand car than meet the eyes. Buyers won’t discover until way too late that the used car they purchase had actually been in an accident. This can cause long-lasting damage, and eventually cost you more money for inevitable future repairs. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Here are some of the vital signs you need to be cautious of when purchasing a secondhand car.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


1. Paintwork

As flawless a car’s paintwork under the lighting of the used car showroom can be, it often helps to scrutinise it in a well-lit environment, such as out in the sun. This is where you can inspect the paintwork for any inconsistency.

You’ll be able to notice some slight shade difference, a variance of the shine, or even completely mismatched colours between the various different body panels. Whatever it is, it all points to a car that had its bodywork repaired. It’s better to check with your secondhand car dealers.

2. Replaced Parts

It’s rather common to replace only the damaged parts after an accident, as car parts are typically costly. The good news for you is that there would be obvious signs for you to look out for. On a heavily worn and aged car, a brand new part is like a gigantic warning sign flashing right in your face. Particularly when it comes to airbag covers, head and tailights—these are the things that most likely be damaged in a fender bender.

It’s worthy to note that in some cases, mismatched or third-party parts are often used in a bid to lower repair costs. So always verify with the seller on such irregularities.

3. Panel Gaps

You may notice by now that the most important thing to look out for is inconsistency. Check the gap between the fender and the door when closed. The rule of thumb is you shouldn’t be able to stick your finger between them. The gaps should be minimal and consistent throughout the bodywork. Serious accidents often cause many parts misaligned, and getting them back in place is not a simple task.

4. Alignment

Test driving a used car is about determining potential issues. If the car pulls to a side and is not able to drive straight, this is a sign that its alignment may be off. A big no is when you notice a car that has a bent chassis that is impossible to be properly aligned. Demand for a realignment to be done, if possible, and ensure that the issue has been rectified.

5. Uneven Tyre Wear

Even if the test drive shows the car tracks straight, be wary of uneven tyre wear. It could be the outcome of a botched suspension alignment setting. Uneven tyre wear may even indicate something a lot more serious, such as a problematic chassis, aligned to hide the issue. If the faulty chassis is constantly working against the wheel, the tyres would be subjected to abnormally high forces, which results in the uneven wear you’ve noticed.

6. Welding Marks

Look out for cutaway sections of a car’s parts that were stitched together. This is because most cars have parts that were welded together. Make sure the boot floor should be a single piece, and definitely not joint across the spare tyre well. Be wary on irregular welding marks (compared to other welds on the car), as well. Generally speaking, cars demonstrating such features are avoided since there is no way to know for sure if they have been professionally fixed. In other words, it’s almost impossible to know how well it would hold up in the event of another accident.

7. Unpainted Surfaces or Rust

Repair works on structural parts of a car usually require some welding. One thing about welding is that in order for it to be done properly, paint needs to be removed. These removed parts are usually made of steel, which will rust over time if left unpainted. Repair works on inconspicuous areas like in the engine bay are usually the prime suspects for unpainted surfaces and rust.

8. Fresh Undercoat

More common in countries experiencing winter, cars are undercoated to prevent rust. It’s also to slow down the rate of wear and tear. Local cars are undercoated as well, either as an option by the dealer or done by a third party. However, be cautious if you are viewing an unassuming used car with a fresh shiny undercoat. That might be an attempt to hide repair work that was done to the car.

9. Visible Creased Panels

One impact of a collision is creased malleable steel sheets. This shouldn’t be too hard to spot as they make up most of a car. A proper repair job would ensure that the body of the car is straightened as much as possible. A shoddy repair job, on the other hand, might leave concealed areas such as the boot floor or sections in the engine bay still visibly creased.

10. Mismatching or Missing Screws and Fasteners

The screws holding fenders in place may seem like insignificant hardware, but misplaced screws could indicate that the fenders were removed at some point for repair work to be done. While working on cars, it is rather common for workshops to misplace and replace such screws. So when inspecting used cars, these screws should be of the same type and of similar condition. The same goes for other parts as well, like the bolts holding the bonnet to the hinges or fasteners, which keep the fender’s splash guards on.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

Source: SGCarMart.com

Determine a Car’s Age

These days, the car company and its dealer network will make no secret of selling ‘old-plated’ cars. They’ll also run expensive advertising campaigns to market ‘last year’s cars to consumers.

But as much as plate clearances have become a big business opportunity and a boon for buyers, it begs a couple of questions.

Are you, for example, purchasing an ‘old’ car rather than a new one? And how will purchasing an old-plate car affect its resale value when the time comes to sell or trade-in?

To answer these, consider how we determine the age of a car.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


Build Plate

The build plate denotes the end of the car’s production. The build plate is traditionally located somewhere in the engine bay and is riveted to a structural member of the body. It could be the firewall, but it could also be one of the strut towers or the leading edge of the bonnet.

In recent years, the build plate has become more commonly a powder-coated label bonded to the car’s body. It usually conveys information specific to the vehicle, such as the Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, which is stamped into the plate.

The VIN is a 17-character identifier that contains a wealth of data. Other information on the plate that is not specific to the vehicle may appear, such as engine type, transmission type, trim code, option code, and colour code.

The build plate on your car has a date on it (month and year). This is the ‘year’ of the vehicle that a valuer will use to determine market value at the time of trade-in. If the build date shows that the car was built in November 2017, it will be valued as a 2017 model – even if you bought it in February 2018 and did not register it until that month.

Compliance Plate

After the car is unloaded from a ship in an Australian port, it is placed in bond and a compliance plate is installed. The compliance plate, like the build plate, has traditionally been located in the engine bay, but it can also be located on a strong structural member, such as a B-pillar, and hidden by the driver’s door when closed.

The compliance plate, like the build plate, was once an aluminium plate riveted to the car, but these days it’s just as likely to be a powder-coated label bonded to the car.

The compliance plate, as the name implies, serves as proof that the vehicle complies with Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and is eligible for registration on Australian roads. It is required by law to include an approval number from the regulatory body, the federal Department of Infrastructure, which is in charge of transport in Australia.

The compliance plate must also include the category (usually MA for light vehicles), the manufacturer’s name, model line, series/generation, and VIN. GVM (gross vehicle mass in kilograms) and seating capacity are two other data points on the compliance plate.

Each compliance plate also bears the text “THIS VEHICLE WAS MANUFACTURED TO COMPLY WITH THE MOTOR VEHICLE STANDARDS ACT 1989.”

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act of 1989 is repealed on July 1, 2021, and the Road Vehicles Standards Act of 2018 takes its place. The RVS is described as “the biggest legislative overhaul of road vehicle regulation in over 30 years” by the Department of Infrastructure, the federal government department in charge of transport in Australia.

Furthermore, the RVS framework “establishes nationally consistent standards appropriate for the twenty-first century,” according to the department.

One of the most notable features of RVS is the inclusion of a ‘Register of Approved Vehicles’ (RAV), which is a “publicly searchable database of vehicles that have met the requirements of the RVS legislation and been approved for sale in the Australian market.”

This change in the way cars are approved for the local market eliminates the need for physical compliance plates for vehicles listed on the RAV.

The Year of The First Registration

A full year may have passed by the time a car rolls off the assembly line and has registration plates affixed to it.

Shipping a car, even from a country close to Australia (in the Asia-Pacific region), could take up to a month. If it’s coming from North America or Europe, it could take six weeks or more – and that could be extended if someone parks a container ship at an angle across the Suez Canal.

It takes some time for the car to be delivered from the docks to a bond store. If it arrives near the end of the year, it will be delayed during the Christmas/New Year holiday season.

Following that, it must go through the compliance process. Every step of that process can add weeks or months to the process – for example, if a global pandemic slows supply – and then the vehicle must be transported to a retailer, where it must be prepared for sale.

It could remain in dealer inventory for months longer, waiting for the ideal buyer who wants that exact combination of colour, trim materials, and options.

It may take another week for the vehicle to be registered and delivered after the buyer signs the contract of sale and makes a deposit.

If you buy up until around April or May of one year, there’s a good chance the car you’re buying was built the previous year.

Why Are Model Years, and Not Calendar Years?

In the northern hemisphere, it has long been customary to launch a new model year in the fourth quarter of the previous year. As a result, a 2020 model could be introduced in October or November of 2019.

There are numerous reasons given for this, some of which sound like urban legends. One reason for this is that the introduction of new model years occurs near the end of the third quarter, which coincides with the traditional dates for major auto shows in Frankfurt and Paris.

However, that alone does not explain it. It is not uncommon in the United States for some new model years to be introduced as much as nine months before the start of the respective calendar year.

Furthermore, some manufacturers are introducing running changes to their model lines with such frequency that model years must be divided into quarters.

At the time of publication, Ford was taking orders for the 2021.75 model year Ranger, while the 2021.25 model year was still on the market and being delivered to customers.

There is often no plate or documentation to show the buyer which model year of vehicle they are purchasing, but trainspotters will be able to identify them by minor styling details or minor specification changes.

In short, how a manufacturer chooses to label its vehicle in terms of model years can be very misleading and is frequently irrelevant to whether the car is worth more for being a later model year unless the specification is significantly different – as in the case of a BMW ‘Life Cycle Impulse’ (LCI) update.

Generation Codes

Almost everyone who is familiar with the local automotive industry can envision an FJ Holden. The year 1953 comes to mind right away. Perhaps the XD Falcon will bring back memories of 1979 for Ford fans.

Local manufacturers used codes rather than model years to distinguish new designs or facelifts from previous models back in the day.

However, the Europeans distinguish different generations of model families with Baumeister codes for Mercedes-Benz – W126, W140, W220, and so on for S-Class – and the Entwicklungsnummer (development number) for BMW – E34, E39, E60, and so on for 5 Series.

Among Asian brands, Toyota is particularly well known for its katashiki (model) codes – ACV30 for Camry, TA22 for Celica, UZJ200 for LandCruiser, and so on.

Outside of the manufacturer’s own R&D facilities, these codes are essentially just shorthand expressions for the benefit of enthusiasts.

A ‘VF II’ Commodore is vastly different from a ‘ZB’ Commodore.

What will a car with an old license plate cost me when I trade it in?

So you’ve discovered that your vehicle isn’t a 2018 model after all. You purchased it that year, but the compliance plate clearly shows that it was not only manufactured the previous year but was also present in this country before the end of 2017.

When it comes time to trade in your car for a new one, you will pay for it.

Private buyers aren’t going to care that your car was only registered and driven on local roads for the first time in 2018. It’s plated 2017, so they’ll use that as a bargaining chip to knock a couple of hundred dollars off the price.

That is, of course, the issue to consider. When selling a car, the price difference between a car built one year and a car first registered the following year may not have much bearing on the final transaction price you can negotiate with the dealer or a private buyer.

In any case, if you purchased the car during a plated clearance, you likely saved more on the purchase price than you are losing on the trade-in value.

So don’t worry about it, especially if you intend to keep the car for a long time. By the car’s tenth birthday, any difference in resale value between the year of manufacture and the first year of registration will most likely be insignificant.

And, in the end, the car’s condition will influence resale just as much as its plated year… if not more.

If your old-plated car has travelled a few kilometres, has been serviced on a regular basis, and is in excellent condition, its ‘birth’ year preceding its year of first registration will have little, if any, impact on its value to a dealer or buyer.

In reality, an older car in excellent condition and very “authentic” will be worth more than a newer car of the same specification if the latter has had a rougher life.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: carsales.com.au

What Does Car Make And Model Mean?

When you think of the name of a vehicle, you probably think of its make and model. These terms are used to describe a specific car and are frequently used together, but can sometimes be used separately. For example, Toyota is a car make and Camry is a car model. But there’s a difference between make and model, and understanding this is important, especially when shopping for or selling a car. So, what does car make and model mean?

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.

What Does Car Make And Model Mean?

The terms make and model are used to describe a specific car and are frequently used together, but can sometimes be used separately. If you’re talking to someone with a decent knowledge of cars, you might just say you own a Civic rather than say “Honda Civic,” because you know they understand that all Civics are Hondas.

Car Make Meaning

Simply put, the make is the brand of the car and the model is the specific product. Think of Tim Tam. Arnott’s is the brand; Tim Tam is the specific product.

Some examples of popular car makes:
• Ford
• Chevrolet
• Nissan
• Honda
• Toyota
• Volkswagen

Every make has multiple models that it produces. So, Toyota offers several models including the Camry, Corolla, 4Runner, Tundra, and others. Makes are typically global companies with locations in multiple countries, though most makes have a specific country of origin where they keep their main headquarters. Toyota is based out of Japan, Volkswagen is a German company, Ford is American, and so on.

Some car makes are under a parent company that is also a make. Consider the company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Fiat and Chrysler are their own makes, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is also the parent company of makes like Dodge and Jeep. Acura is a luxury make owned by Honda, and Lexus is a luxury make under Toyota.

Car Model Meaning

So, once you know the make or brand, the model narrows it down even more.

When talking about a car, models refer to the specific type of car. Some famous models of cars include Beetle, Mustang, Fiesta and Pontiac.

To clarify this further look at the make and model of the cars below.

Honda Civic – Honda is the make, Civic is the model.

Vauxhall Corsa Activ – Vauxhall is the make, Corsa Activ is the model.

Ford Mustang – Ford is the make, Mustang is the model.

Differences Between Cars Of The Same Model

Cars of the same model can vary greatly in body style and trim level. Even if you have two vehicles that are the same model in front of you, they could still look very different.

Body Styles

Auto manufacturers might make a certain car model with several different body style options. For example, you can buy a 2018 Honda Civic as a sedan, coupe or hatchback. Here are some of the most common body style types:

• Coupe
• Sedan
• Hatchback
• Convertible
• Wagon
• SUV

The body style informs a vehicle’s general shape, the number of doors and mechanical setups, such as the engine, transmission and drivetrain. Body style can be the most important distinction for a vehicle. It has a major impact on how a car is best used.

Trim Levels

In addition to body styles, a car manufacturer might offer several trim options for a given model. Trim levels relate to the equipment and the styling of a particular vehicle.

Common trim levels are:
• Standard: no upgrades.
• Sport: upgraded engine performance and handling.
• Luxury: upgraded interior and smoother suspension.

Model Year

The model year of a car is one of the main ways that cars of the same make and model are differentiated. However, a vehicle’s model year is not necessarily the same as the year it was manufactured. It is important to note that the cost of car insurance changes with the age of a car.

You can usually purchase a vehicle for a given model year a few months before the calendar year actually starts. For example, the 2018 Honda Civic was available for purchase starting in late summer 2017.

How To Find Your Car’s Make And Model

Unsure of the make and model of a car? WhyUnlike.com says you can usually determine these by checking the emblems, logos, and badging on the exterior. The vehicle’s registration certificate will also list its make and model. You can find more information, like model year, manufacturing location, and equipment specs, by searching the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number). Locating the VIN is pretty straightforward. Check where the dashboard meets the windshield on the driver’s side. There, you’ll find the VIN, which is 17 digits long.

Hire A Professional Car Technician In Melbourne

We have engaged with many clients for independent, personal car purchase advice. Whilst we are not a CAR BROKER, we have assisted clients with discussions on MAKE/MODEL/YEAR/VERSION of vehicle best suited to their needs, and with low ‘grief’ factors. In some cases, clients, especially repeat clients (and we have many), have asked us to either source a car for them, or assist in the negotiations.

As much as some of us think we’re backyard mechanics, you can’t go past actually getting a used car checked out by a professional to determine whether it is mechanically sound. There’s nothing worse than driving away with your new purchase, only to find that it has an issue that is going to cost you dearly.

And if you want to buy a secondhand car, have a professional inspector like German Precision do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection in Melbourne to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: caranddriver.com, valuepenguin.com, pediaa.com

Know When To Replace Your Used Car Brake Pads

Brake pads are major parts of your vehicle’s braking system. Keeping them in working condition is crucial for the safety of both you and other drivers around you. What if you just bought a used car? Do you have to replace the brake pads immediately? Read on to know when to replace your used car brake pads.

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut schedule that tells you when it’s time to replace the brakes, so you need to rely on your ears and the advice of an experienced automotive technician. Most vehicles should have their tyres rotated at least every six months, and that is a good time to have the brakes inspected, as well.

What Are Brake Pads?

How many brake pads your car has fitted depends on your make and model, although typically your car will either have 4 or 8 brake pads. Ultimately, the brake pads are what slow down your car and bring it to a stop.

After stepping on the brake pedal, brake fluid is sent towards your brake callipers which press your brake pads against the “brake rotors”. How hard they are pressed against depends on how hard you put your foot down.

As you may guess, the harder your brake pads are pressed against the brake rotors, the more that the brake pads wear away.

Overall, brake pads are one of the main components which slow down your car once you’ve put your foot on the brake pedal.

So When Do You Need To Replace Your Used Car Brake Pads?

Squeaking Or Squealing Coming From Brakes

If your brake pads are near the end of their useful life, the first symptom you’ll begin to notice is a squeaking or squealing noise coming from the brakes. Squealing brake pads are typically caused by excessively worn down pads. Once you’ve worn down your pads enough you’ll start to experience a grinding noise. This will also begin to damage your rotors. In the end, it’s making the cost of repair even more expensive.

Grinding Sound When Braking

Replace your brake pads ASAP if you’re experiencing a grinding noise. Some brake pads have built-in metal wear indicators, which are designed to make a loud noise and alert you that it’s time to replace the pads. If you leave the brake pads to continue grinding, you’re opening yourself up to a lot more damage and higher repair costs.

Vibration When Braking

Vibration is another sign that your vehicle’s braking system is in need of professional help. Chances are that your rotors are warped and created uneven brake pad wear at the same time.

It Takes Longer To Stop

Another major sign that your brakes need to be checked out is the loss of performance. If you’re experiencing less than ideal stoppage times while applying your brakes, it may mean your brake pads are worn down completely. It can also mean that your brake fluid is low. Oftentimes it is due to a leak.

For a true understanding of what’s going on with your brakes, you’ll want to get to a brake mechanic as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose all braking abilities.

Brake Pad Indicator Light Comes On

Most modern vehicles come with brake warning lights that appear on your dash. One is your Antilock Braking System (ABS) light and the other is your brake system warning light. Your brake light won’t always come on when there is an issue. It’s also the light that appears on your dash when your parking brake is engaged. But if you’re seeing a brake warning light and your parking brake isn’t engaged, it’s time to have a brake expert take a look at your system to diagnose your issues.

The Importance Of Brake Pads On Your Car

If your brake pads have worn or are damaged, it’s very important that you get them replaced before you take them to the roads.

If your braking system isn’t in good working condition, there are two things to keep in mind:

• You are putting your life, your passengers and others on the road at risk. It’s very unsafe for you to take to the roads when your brake pads aren’t up to par. By doing so, you are putting a lot on the line.
• You may cause damage to your car. Of course, this isn’t as important as the reason above. However, without serviceable brake pads in place to help you stop, you may crash your car or cause expensive damage to other components.

Simply put, it’s dangerous to not have working brake pads.

How Long Should Brake Pads Last?

This depends largely on how you use the car. If for example you do a lot of miles with the car fully loaded, or towing, or you’re an enthusiastic driver, your pads will last for fewer miles. Equally, a lot of motorway miles tends to mean less brake use, driving around town or on rural roads means more.

Taking all this into account, a set of brake pads should last anywhere between 20,000 and 60,000 km.

How Much Does Brake Pads Replacement Cost?

Brake pads aren’t the most expensive car part, but they aren’t the cheapest, the cost of new brake pads is dependent on your car.

While replacing the brake pads your mechanic may notice that components such as the brake rotors are damaged or worn and will recommend that you have them replaced too.

Hire A Professional Car Technician In Melbourne

We have engaged with many clients for independent, personal car purchase advice. Whilst we are not a CAR BROKER, we have assisted clients with discussions on MAKE/MODEL/YEAR/VERSION of vehicle best suited to their needs, and with low ‘grief’ factors. In some cases, clients, especially repeat clients (and we have many), have asked us to either source a car for them, or assist in the negotiations.

As much as some of us think we’re backyard mechanics, you can’t go past actually getting a used car checked out by a professional to determine whether it is mechanically sound. There’s nothing worse than driving away with your new purchase, only to find that it has an issue that is going to cost you dearly.

And if you want to buy a secondhand car, have a professional inspector like German Precision do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection in Melbourne to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: supercheapauto.com.au, askthecarexpert.com, roselandsautomotive.com.au, nubrakes.com

Should You Buy A Used Electric Car In Australia?

Many Australians say they would consider buying an electric car. But unfortunately, new electric vehicles don’t come cheap. Another option is to buy a second-hand. However supply is limited and, like with any major purchase, there are pitfalls to watch for. So, should you buy a used electric car in Australia?

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.

Where To Buy A Used Electric Car In Australia?

The supply of used electric vehicles in Australia is limited. Numbers are obviously tied to new vehicles sold, and the rate at which they end up in the used car market.

In 2019, 6,718 fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars were sold in Australia – triple the previous year, but still a relatively small number. And the young age of Australia’s electric vehicle fleet means there haven’t been many turnovers into the used market.

Generally, you can find used electric vehicles in the same places you’d find other second-hand cars. These include car dealerships and private sellers.

Why Buy A Used Electric Car?

There are several reasons you might wish to buy an electric car. In the past, the main benefit was seen to be environmental. However, there is debate over just how environmentally friendly electric vehicles really are.

Electric cars can be more environmentally friendly than their petrol or diesel-fuelled counterparts, as they are less likely to produce less toxic greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the interior and bodywork of some vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, are partially constructed from recycled water bottles, plastic bags, old car parts and second-hand home appliances.

However, if the electricity powering your vehicle is generated by an oil-fuelled power station, it may not be as good for the environment as you may think. There are also different types of electric vehicles that produce different levels of emissions, so it’s best to do some research before you buy on the basis of the vehicle being better for the environment.

Things You Should Bear In Mind When Buying A Used Electric Car

While electric vehicles do have many benefits, there are some things to be aware of before you purchase it.

Electric Charging Stations

Filling up a standard vehicle is easy when there are petrol stations in every town. With an electric car, you’ll need to plan a lot more and ensure you know how far you can drive on a single charge. However, the number of charging stations and infrastructure is increasing, which is great news!

Little Incentives Compared To Regular Cars

The lack of government support and policies surrounding electric vehicles is also noticeable in Australia. However, many states have introduced discounts on registration and stamp duty for electric vehicles. Owners of electric vehicles can expect to see more incentives as time goes on.

Do A Pre-purchase Electric Car Inspection

One final thing to be aware of when purchasing a used electric car is that there could be hidden information the seller doesn’t communicate. This is a risk with every used car. Getting a trusted local mechanic to do a pre-purchase car inspection in Melbourne will help minimise the risk of landing a lemon.

Hire A Professional Car Technician In Melbourne

We have engaged with many clients for independent, personal car purchase advice. Whilst we are not a CAR BROKER, we have assisted clients with discussions on MAKE/MODEL/YEAR/VERSION of vehicle best suited to their needs, and with low ‘grief’ factors. In some cases, clients, especially repeat clients (and we have many), have asked us to either source a car for them, or assist in the negotiations.

As much as some of us think we’re backyard mechanics, you can’t go past actually getting a used car checked out by a professional to determine whether it is mechanically sound. There’s nothing worse than driving away with your new purchase, only to find that it has an issue that is going to cost you dearly.

And if you want to buy a secondhand car, have a professional inspector like German Precision do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection in Melbourne to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: carsales.com.au, gizmodo.com.au, carhistory.com.au

Should You Buy A Used Car Online?

As COVID-19 spreads, many people are doing what they can to minimise contact with others. Like buying groceries and other items online. And when you want to buy a used car during the pandemic, it’s not impossible to do it online. But should you buy a used car online, or should you buy it face-to-face?

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice to master technician, workshop foreman, controller, service advisor and service manager, in numerous premium vehicle businesses. We have built a level of loyalty that in the 21st Century is vital. After all, customer service and care is a point of difference.

We hope we are able to help you out with your needs. Our business is also known as Prepurchase Check.


Before you buy a used car online, you should know there are pros and cons to it. There are also pros and cons to buying a car in person. In fact, depending on your buying style, you might have been doing it wrong all this time.

Buying from a dealership allows you to speak to experts face-to-face. However, you might not get as good a deal. Dealerships have more overheads than online retailers, and those overheads will usually be covered by the price of the cars.

Buying a car online can remove some of the hassle involved in dealing with salespeople. Not to mention, it can save you money. However, it might also be more confusing. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Benefits Of Buying A Used Car Online

You Can Take Your Time

Going online lets you do your research, comparisons and bargain hunting at your own pace. It also lets you look over more vehicles more efficiently and do it outside the pressured environment of a car dealership.

You Won’t Find Hagglers Online

Car dealers are professional hagglers. Going online can lead to dealing with someone who knows just as much, or just as little, about cars as you do.

Compare Prices Easily

Want to compare prices online? You can simply search for other cars that are the same make and model.

Drawbacks Of Buying A Used Car Online

Going Online Takes Longer

You can’t just grab the car you want and drive away.

You Don’t Know Who The Seller Is Online

Car dealers also sell online, and you often don’t know who the seller is until you’re buying.

You Can’t Compare Prices Accurately

You can’t really see what kind of condition a car is in if you just have a picture and a short description. This makes it harder to accurately compare prices online.

Where Can I Buy A Used Car Online?

The benefits of going online, compared to visiting a dealership, can also vary depending on which websites you’re using. Each one is different, and one might suit your needs more than another. The following are some of the sites you can visit:

• Carsales: Carsales.com.au lets you filter cars by make, model, body type, price and location.
• Gumtree: This is a popular place to look for second-hand cars and find low prices.
• Drive: Drive.com.au also has handy filters for finding the perfect automobile.
• eBay: Australia’s most popular shopping site also hosts a large range of second-hand cars.

Spend Less Time At The Dealership

When it comes down to it, it might just be a case of personal preference. If you decided to visit a dealership, make sure it’s an honest used car dealership.

Here are some tips to reduce your time at the dealership. Please remember to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Communicate

Reaching out to a dealer doesn’t have to involve showing up in person. Get in touch by phone, email, or text—whatever works best for you and the dealer.

Do Online Research

Figure out which model, trim level, and features the best suit your needs. Then search online to see which dealerships have vehicles with your preferred specifications.

Test Drive

At some point, before you’re ready to buy, you’ll need to test-drive cars. You can try to set this up ahead of time, over email or the phone, and minimize your time at the dealership. Keep notes regarding what you like and don’t like.

Decline Invitations

Say no to invitations to the dealership to see a vehicle you’ve already taken for a test drive.

Negotiate The Price

Once you’ve decided on a car, negotiate a price from each dealership—either over the phone or via email—and carefully review the price breakdown. Make sure there are no extras you didn’t want or fees you don’t agree with rolled into the final price.

Stoke Competition

If you’ve obtained various prices from different dealers, you can let the dealers know this and put them into competition with one another to get the best deal.

Find Out About Incentives

Make sure you ask about incentives, such as customer loyalty (owning the same brand of the vehicle) or conquest (switching from a competing brand). CR’s car buyers find that these are easy ways to shave a few thousand dollars off the price, even on just-released vehicles.

Resist Pressure

When communicating with the dealer from home, be upfront about how much time you will have when you arrive at the dealership, as well as your expectations regarding price. Be ready to walk away if the dealer insists on upselling or adding on extras you don’t want.

Drive Away

By doing as much as possible remotely, you will be able to show up at the dealer and drive away because your car will be there, waiting for you.

Hire A Professional Car Technician In Melbourne

We have engaged with many clients for independent, personal car purchase advice. Whilst we are not a CAR BROKER, we have assisted clients with discussions on MAKE/MODEL/YEAR/VERSION of vehicle best suited to their needs, and with low ‘grief’ factors. In some cases, clients, especially repeat clients (and we have many), have asked us to either source a car for them, or assist in the negotiations.

As much as some of us think we’re backyard mechanics, you can’t go past actually getting a used car checked out by a professional to determine whether it is mechanically sound. There’s nothing worse than driving away with your new purchase, only to find that it has an issue that is going to cost you dearly.

And if you want to buy a secondhand car, have a professional inspector like German Precision to do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection in Melbourne to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: finder.com.au, consumerreports.org