Does Your Used Car Have a Warranty?

So you’re in the market for a used car. You might have heaps of questions, including whether you should buy from a licensed dealer or a private seller. There are certainly advantages and drawbacks to each seller. But the first question you should probably have is does your used car have a warranty?On one hand, you can save money by buying from a private party and you can avoid pushy salespeople. On the other hand, buying from a licensed dealer grants you certain guarantees and warranties.

Honest and Professional Pre-purchase Car Inspection in Melbourne, VIC

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice, through 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.


Statutory Warranty

In certain circumstances, you are entitled to a warranty at no extra cost when you buy a used vehicle from a licensed:

• motor dealer
• chattel auctioneer.

When you buy a car from those places, you may be able to get a statutory warranty at no cost to you. This warranty protects you from financial loss if your vehicle is faulty.

A licensed motor car trader must provide a statutory warranty if the car:

• is less than 10 years old, and
• has travelled less than 160,000 kilometres.

Note: the car’s age is determined by the date stamped on its build plate, usually found on the firewall between the engine and passenger compartments.

What Your Used Car Warranty Covers

A statutory warranty will cover most part defects whether they stop working properly or altogether. However, a statutory warranty does not cover defects relating to:

• any item listed on a defect notice with a reasonable estimate of how much it will cost to repair
• accidental damage that occurred after delivery of the vehicle
• damage caused by misuse or negligence by a driver after delivery of the vehicle.

A statutory warranty also does not cover defects occurring in:

• tyres
• batteries
• radios, cassette players, CD players, MP3 and MP4 players, and docks
• DVD players and video display panels
• telephone and in-car telephone kits
• global positioning systems (GPS), satellite navigation systems and other computerised navigation systems
• power outlets, including cigarette lighter sockets
• cigarette lighters
• car aerials
• non-standard alarms
• clocks
• non-standard body hardware
• non-standard keyless entry systems and remote keypads
• tools other than jacks and wheel braces
• light globes, sealed beam lights and non-standard fog lights
• keyless entry systems and remote keypads that are not standard to the car.

How Long A Statutory Warranty Lasts

A statutory warranty lasts for three months or 5000 kilometres after purchase, whichever occurs first.

The trader must repair any faults covered during the warranty period in order to ensure the car is in a reasonable condition for its age.

Note: even after the statutory warranty expires, you still have rights under the Australian Consumer Law that you can rely on if there is a problem with your car. However, the level of protection will depend on things such as the car’s age and condition. For more information, view Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Consumer guarantees page.

Transfer Of Statutory Warranty

A licensed motor car trader provides a statutory warranty only as part of the contract. Therefore, if you sell your car privately before the three months or 5,000 kilometres have passed, the warranty does not transfer to the new owner.

Claims And Repairs

If you have a part not listed above that needs a repair or replacement, you will need to notify the warrantor with a written notice, who has 5 days to tell you whether the defects are covered.

If the warrantor does not respond in writing within 5 days, they are taken to have accepted that:

• the statutory warranty does cover the defects
• they will be responsible for repairing your vehicle.

For repairs, you’ll need to take the car either to the warrantor or an authorised repair shop. The shop will then have 14 days to repair the vehicle.

Each day your car is in the shop, it adds an extra day to your warranty term.

The authorised repairer should be less than 20km from the warrantor’s place of business. They may only use a more distant repairer if you agree to it.

If your vehicle is more than 200km from the warrantor’s place of business, they may choose to:

• nominate the nearest qualified repairer
• pay delivery costs if they decide to use another repairer.

Hire The Best Pre-purchase Car Inspector in Melbourne, VIC

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 a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: consumer.vic.gov.au, autoking.com.au, warrantyandinsurance.com.au

Happy Easter 2021!

When life gives you lemons, throw them back and ask for a chocolate bunny.

Or better yet, avoid lemons altogether by hiring a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne.

Happy Easter 2021!

Warm regards,
German Precision/Pre-purchase Check

𝑷𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆: 0421 083 390
𝑬𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒍: info@prepurchasecheck.com.au, germanprecision@outlook.com

Buying a Used Car: Dealers, Private Sellers, or Auctions

It’s an age-old argument — do you get the best-used car deal buying from a dealer, an auction, or from a private seller?

Honest and Professional Pre-purchase Car Inspection in Melbourne, VIC

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice, through 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.

Let’s face it, buying a car is a stressful situation. For some of us, it will be one of the largest financial transactions we make. There are plenty of pitfalls for the unwary or inexperienced — and when it comes to buying a car, some of us can be both.

Buying your used car through a dealership

Buying a car through a dealership is often more expensive than buying from a private seller, at least upfront. This is because dealerships will usually have cost margins (e.g. rent and wages) to cover, so they might boost the price of a car slightly to compensate for this. However, the professionalism and quality of the customer service at a dealership can make this cost worth it.

Buying a used car from a dealership

Buying your used car privately

One of the strongest arguments for buying from a private seller is that you, the buyer, can haggle more strongly for the best possible price. Most private sellers have an inflated opinion of the value of the car they’re selling, gained from scanning ads for similar cars’ “asking” price rather than the final “selling” price. So, keep in mind, you have plenty of room to negotiate and you can always walk away. If the seller has an urgent need to sell, your position is even stronger.

Buying a used car from a private seller
Crucially, when buying through a private seller you should check that there isn’t an encumbrance on the car, i.e. there isn’t a debt on it. You should avoid buying an encumbered car, because if the borrower was to default on the debt, the lender could repossess the car from you, despite the debt not being yours!

Buying your used car at an auction

You may save money at an auction, but you must do your homework. Set a price and don’t go over it. Ex-government and fleet cars are often good value and have usually been regularly maintained but they might not have been driven as carefully as privately owned cars.

Buying a used car from an auction

Pre-purchase Car Inspections in Melbourne, VIC

Have a professional inspector like German Precision do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

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

sources: suncorp.com.au, savings.com.au, mynrma.com.au

Word of Mouth 2021 Service Award for German Precision

𝐆𝐄𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐈𝐒𝐈𝐎𝐍 is immensely grateful for this award.
 
As the owner, it has been an honour to work for everyone who has chosen me to inspect their dream cars, and for the trust that has been built over the years. This award recognises my work and the efforts that I put in, with the aim of exceeding your expectations.
 
We are very fortunate to have been able to help you. It would not be possible for us to receive this award without your trust and support.
 
If you are looking for the best pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne VIC, do not hesitate to contact 𝐆𝐄𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐈𝐒𝐈𝐎𝐍 today!
 
Gratefully,
Klaus Sturm
 
𝑷𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆: 0421 083 390
𝑬𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒍: germanprecision@outlook.com, info@prepurchasecheck.com.au

Don’t Only Trust Roadworthy Certificates When Buying a Used Car

You plan to buy a used car from a private seller. The car looks good to your untrained eyes, and after seeing the Roadworthy Certificate provided, you decide that this is your perfect car. Turns out, you can get that certification for $100. And that doesn’t guarantee that your ‘new’ used car is in top condition. Then you will end up paying more for reparations after learning the hard truth: your car is not roadworthy.

Make sure your armed with this information before you go and look at a vehicle, don’t learn this after the fact!

Honest and Professional Pre-purchase Car Inspection in Melbourne, VIC

We have been in the automotive industry since 1984, ranging from apprentice, through 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.


A roadworthy certificate proves your vehicle has passed a roadworthy test completed by an authorised roadworthy inspector. The roadworthy test is comprised of various criteria points that the vehicle must pass to qualify for a roadworthy certificate. These areas include:

• Tyres
• Brakes
• Steering
• Suspension
• Body (for rust or damage)
• Windscreen
• Lights

For example: A roadworthy inspector will check to make sure the tread level on the vehicle tyres are at an acceptable level and the brakes are correctly sized for the vehicle. If the vehicle does not pass these requirements, it will not receive a roadworthy certificate.

The roadworthy test is designed to make sure your vehicle is suitable for the roads as per the guidelines set out by the Department of Transport. However, it doesn’t test if your vehicle is healthy. For example, a roadworthy doesn’t include an inspection of your oil, motor or gearbox. For a comprehensive report of your vehicle’s health, you should book in for a full vehicle inspection.

What if the vehicle doesn’t pass the test?

If any item fails to meet the test standard, the tester will issue you with a rejection report. You are then given a period of seven days to get the items repaired and submit them for the second inspection. However, if the seven days elapse, then the test would be carried out all over again.

How much does a roadworthy inspection cost?

The cost of the inspection is not fixed as it generally depends on the age, model and condition of the vehicle being tested. Charges for the inspection will still be required if the vehicle does not pass the roadworthy test. The roadworthy certificate will be issued for the cost of the inspection if it passes the roadworthy test.

How long is the certificate valid?

A roadworthy is considered ‘current’ and valid for a period of 30 days from the date of issue before you present it at VicRoads (e.g. when you visit them to transfer or re-register a vehicle).

Note: This is NOT a guarantee that a vehicle with a roadworthy certificate will necessarily continue to remain in a roadworthy condition for 30 days from the date the certificate was issued.

Why you shouldn’t trust Roadworthy Certificates

The way it plays out is that a buyer will be interested in a car, typically in a private sale or a car yard, more often than not in a private sale. They’ll go look at the car and everything looks okay to their untrained eye, and then they will proceed to buy it. Straight after their purchase, they will take it to their mechanic to get it serviced and checked out.

Which is not okay. If you’re looking at buying a house you don’t buy a house and then get a building and pest inspection report AFTER to make sure that everything is the way it’s supposed to be, you get it done first.

A roadworthy inspection can be issued on a vehicle that is still working but has a blown head gasket. A roadworthy can be issued on a vehicle that has a gearbox which is still operating but is about to seize because it hasn’t been serviced ion 100,000k’s. A roadworthy certificate gives you no idea of the condition of the motor, the oil if it’s been serviced it is literally a piece of paper saying that the brakes aren’t undersized, that there’s no cracks in the windscreen and about 20 other things. You cannot rely on that when you’re spending your hard-earned money.

If you’re thinking of buying a used vehicle (especially a private sale because you have no come back) you must go and get a PRE PURCHASE CAR INSPECTION first to ensure there are no surprises after the fact. You can use these to negotiate the price but more importantly, you can have the peace of mind of any repairs that may be required.

Never trust a vehicle with your money based on the fact that it has a roadworthy certificate. For $250ish you can get a pre-purchase car inspection done on most vehicles which will give you peace of mind.

Pre-purchase Car Inspections in Melbourne, VIC

Have a professional inspector like German Precision to do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection to ensure that your dream car is operating properly and not a scam.

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

source: autoking.com.au, australianmechanical.com.au, vicroads.vic.gov.au

Best Questions to Ask Before You Buy That Used Car

When buying a used car privately, paperwork is all-important. The same is true when buying a used car from a dealer, and it can also be stressful. But if you go into it prepared and make sure you ask the right questions—of yourself and the dealer—it will be a lot easier. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions wherever you choose to buy, either. Although there’s no obligation for sellers to volunteer information about a car they’re selling, any questions you ask must be answered truthfully—otherwise, the vendor is breaking the law.

General Questions to Ask Yourself

1. How much can I afford to spend? Make sure you know your budget before you go looking. Also, this will help you decide if you need to look into financing or not.

2. How big of a car do I need? This will help you narrow it down based on things like how big your family is, if you will need to haul a lot of stuff, or if you will be driving it in narrow streets.

3. How will I use this car? Depending on your needs, you may need a specific kind or type of car.

4. Can I take it on a test drive? Always make sure you try the car before you buy it. Get some of our best tips on how to get the most out of your test drive here.

5. What fees will I pay in addition to the price? You will never pay just the listed price. There may be dealership fees, taxes, etc.

6. Dealer or private? A car dealer is generally the safest place to buy a used car, as there’s a degree of legal protection implied by its status as a business. A car dealer has an obligation to properly prepare a car before the sale, including verifying that its recorded mileage is correct.

7. Should I buy new or used? If you can afford a brand new car, it’s nice to treat yourself. However, buying a used car that’s only a year or two old will save you a lot on depreciation. Buying a car can easily become a very emotional decision, so be sure to keep a clear head and seek the advice of someone that you trust when you narrow down your car.

Questions to Ask the Seller/Dealer

1. Why are you selling the car? The seller could answer this question in a few ways. They might be ready for an upgrade or perhaps the car’s size doesn’t suit their lifestyle anymore. It’s good to know the reasons behind this change because you might run into the same issues down the line.

2. How long have you owned the car? If they recently purchased the vehicle and they are already selling it, take note as this could mean they ran into problems with the car.

3. Has it been in any accidents? In some cases, accidents are reported on a vehicle history report—but don’t assume these reports catch everything. If the car was in an accident, find out how it was damaged and how it was fixed.

4. What features don’t work the way they’re supposed to? Older used cars nearly always have something wrong with them. It might not be a deal-breaker—for example, if it’s a malfunctioning CD player. But other defects can come as annoying surprises, such as weak air conditioning, blown speakers or missing pixels in displays.

5. Is there any reason you wouldn’t drive the car coast-to-coast tomorrow? This is a fun question and sometimes throws the seller off balance. But if the answer is a resounding “No, there’s nothing wrong with the car,” that’s a nice vote of confidence.

6. What is the ownership history? “If the seller doesn’t really have many details about the car or only owned it a short time, that’s a warning sign,” Holthoff says. “I’m looking for a seller who really cared for the car for several years or more.” When searching for good used cars, he recommends using keywords like “original owner” or “service records” or even “garaged.”

7. How did you arrive at this price? If you’ve asked all the above questions, and you’re getting serious about buying the car, find out how the seller priced it. Many people simply pick a figure out of the air. If the seller says he or she used a pricing guide, you can double-check to see if the price is accurate.

8. Do you have the title in hand? If there’s a loan on the car from the bank, the seller might not have the title. Or they may not know where it is. These are problems that can be worked around, but it’s best to buy from someone who actually has the title of the car easily accessible.

9. Can I take the car to a mechanic for an inspection? It’s important that you take the car to a professional pre-purchase car inspector so you can get an expert’s opinion on what’s happening with the car under the hood. If the seller hesitates then this could be a red flag that there’s something they don’t want you to know.

As you can imagine, these questions will come in handy. Are you getting a good deal or buying someone else’s issues?

Have a professional inspector like German Precision to do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection to ensure that your dream car is operating properly.

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

sources: requestyourcar.com, canstarblue.com.au, carbuyer.co.uk, nerdwallet.com

Top 4 Car Maintenance Tips for Summer

Aah, summer. A great time to hit the beach and strut your stuff in shorts and thongs.It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of the season’s longer days by taking a drive along the coast, or through the city. Relax as you cruise along, listen to your favourite tunes and check out the nightlife.

However, before you can enjoy the perks of Australia’s gorgeous summer weather, you’ll need to make sure your car is in good shape. After all, you don’t want your summer plans interrupted by a breakdown, do you?

You can prevent costly car repairs by following these simple summer car maintenance tips!

Cooling System

The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns.

Tyres

Your safety rides on your tyres – literally. They are the only parts of your vehicle that are actually in contact with the road, so it makes sense to keep them in their best possible condition.

Under or over-inflation of your tyres is dangerous and can lead to excessive tread wear. Check your tyres monthly to ensure correct tyre inflation and adjust the pressure according to the placard on the driver’s door jamb.

Make sure there is at least 3mm of the tyre tread remaining (have a mechanic check if you’re not sure). If under 3mm of tread left, your tyres need to be replaced. Also, ensure your spare tyre is properly inflated and in good repair in the event of a flat.

Fix the Check Engine Light

The most common problem you’re likely to experience is an illuminated Check Engine light.

It tells you your car’s not healthy in one way or another, yet doesn’t provide the exact mechanical issue.

Avoid the urge to ignore your Check Engine light. While the problem could be as minor as a loose fuel cap, it could be a major problem that could cost thousands to repair if not addressed quickly, or worse still, leave you stranded.

Brakes

Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.

BONUS: Get a Complete Vehicle Inspection

Before you head out on a summer trip, organise an overall vehicle inspection. Get your battery and charging system tested, have all the fluids, brakes and lubrication points checked, and have the steering and suspension components looked over.

Have a professional inspector like German Precision to check all the mechanical and electrical systems to ensure they are operating properly.

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

sources: autoguru.com.au, ase.com, exchange.aaa.com

Understanding Pre-purchase Mechanical Inspection

The point of the pre-purchase inspection is to confirm you’re not getting a dud. It’s to confirm the car is going to run, today and into the future. Your inspector will investigate the engine, radiator, battery, exhaust, tyres and body.

They’ll check for oil and coolant leaks, battery issues and poorly done modifications. You need an expert eye on this because even the shiniest car can come with hidden problems under the hood, and usually, they’re expensive to fix.

Here’s what you should run your eye over before you test-drive a car. This is not a substitute a professional mechanical inspection and you should always seek expert advice.

Think of this list as early warning signs – a red flag. If any of these issues present themselves, skip the professional inspection and move on to the next car.

Oil indicators

Oil can tell you a lot about the engine, so check it. If you pull the dipstick out and the oil residue doesn’t reach the ‘full’ marker, or it looks thick and black, this is a sign that the car has not been maintained well. If you look under the oil cap and find gritty carbon deposits there too, you can be sure there has been some engine neglect.

Leaks

Look underneath the car. Look at the radiator. Look at the hoses. Are there any signs of leakage? Cracking? Corrosion? If the answer is yes, there’s a good chance you’ll run into some of those hidden problems we mentioned about.

Filters

Look for excess dust, filter condition and clean and or replace filters as necessary. Check airbox seal is intact and closes correctly and all airbox latches and mounting point. Check all intercooler piping for damage & hose clamps. Do a visual check of primary and secondary fuel filters, if the secondary fuel filter isn’t fitted, recommend getting fitted pre-trip.

Windows

Check windshield and all windows and exterior light lenses, both in terms of cleanliness and visibility. Check windshield wipers and washers are operational.

Smoke from the exhaust

Turn the car on. Have someone rev it a few times. Is there smoke from the exhaust? Can you smell anything in the smoke? Either would be bad. Usually, a smoky exhaust indicates an oil-burning engine, which tells you there is a problem to be found.

Who can do my pre-purchase inspection?

All you need for a good vehicle inspection is a qualified inspector like German Precision.

When buying something big like a new car, have it professionally inspected. A pre-purchase car inspection would cost you $250 to $350, and it’s worth every penny.

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

sources: justautosmechanical.com.au, carsguide.com.au

Keeping Your Car Clean During COVID-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) can live on some surfaces for several hours or even days, it is essential that we clean them regularly. Since most car interiors have plastic, it is important to get rid of the virus from these surfaces so that you don’t get it or pass it on to anyone else. Your seats, steering wheel, radio controls, door handles, cup holders and payment equipment are high contact areas and can easily be cleaned to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

The Commercial Passenger Vehicles (CPV) of Victoria has published vehicle cleaning laws for the CPV industry.

When cleaning your car interior, it is recommended that you wear suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as disposable gloves and a face mask.

You should pay attention to high-touch areas such as:

• steering wheel,
• gear selector,
• door handles (internal and external),
• payment terminals,
• touch displays,
• audio and climate control systems,
• seats and seatbelts,
• headrests,
• window controls,
• armrests,
• cupholders, and
• anywhere directly in the firing line of a sneeze or cough

As these surfaces can be quite textured for grip, they may require extra effort to clean.

What products can be used?

The first step to cleaning and disinfecting your car interior is to choose the cleaning agents and materials you will use. Depending on whether you have leather, cloth, or imitation leather upholstery, steps and cleaning agents will differ.

Isopropyl alcohol is a proven disinfectant and is also safe to use on most car interior surfaces. In fact, it is used in many production plants to put a final touch on interior components before they are shipped out. Isopropyl alcohol will remove many stains, smudges and residues, as well as kill bacteria and viruses. However, that stain removing quality can also cause problems with leather.

If your vehicle has a leather interior, it probably has a thin protective coating to prevent discolouration. Isopropyl alcohol can deteriorate that coating and even remove the dye from the leather itself.

For Cleaning Leather Interior

For leather steering wheels, seating, and trim, a combination of soap and water is a safe and sufficient way to clean them. Do not scrub hard when cleaning your leather interior, and avoid excess suds and water. Hand washing has been recommended as a primary way to protect oneself against infection by COVID-19. This is not only because soap can kill the virus, but also because the friction of washing contributes. This holds true for washing your leather interior as well.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Car Interiors

While car interiors are built to be durable, hard scrubbing or using a rough cloth can cause scratches or even discolouration. A wipe with alcohol on hard surfaces and gentle circular cleaning on upholstery are the best bets for both cleaning and maintaining your car interior.

It is also very important not to use too much water on your seats. If cloth upholstery soaks through with water, it can get into the cushion beneath. This can cause the growth of mould and that musty smell you will recognize if you’ve left your car windows open in the rain.

If washing the seats of your car, it is best to wet cloth or sponge with soap and water and wipe the seats. You do not want to leave excess soap or water, as it can take a long time to dry. Isopropyl alcohol can safely be used on non-leather seats, but it is not an ideal cleaning agent for those surfaces unless you have imitation leather.

If you are not sick and haven’t had anyone sick in your car, don’t get too worried about doing this repeatedly. However, starting with a truly clean slate in your vehicle will certainly give you some peace of mind.

A common recommendation from experts is that once your car’s interior is cleaned and disinfected, it is important to wash your hands before getting in from now on. This will help keep your car a clean place and reduce the chance of a virus making it into your vehicle. Cleaning your hands before and after touching the steering wheel will go a long way to keeping it in good condition after being disinfected.

If you believe you have had someone with COVID-19 in your vehicle, you should disinfect and call your doctor for the next steps. They believe that the virus can survive in the air for up to three hours, and on surfaces for much longer, so it is best to be cautious if you believe your vehicle has been exposed.

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

sources: racq.com.au, volvoofdayton.com, tcq.org.au

How to Test Drive a Used Car

Once you have compiled a shortlist of cars that meet all your needs and wants, it’s time to go test driving. 

Whether you’re buying a new or used car, one of the most important steps in the process is, of course, the test drive. But sometimes a quick spin around the block just doesn’t cut it. With the salesperson or seller at your side and a speed limit of 50km/h, can you really make a solid decision on whether this is the car for you?

A short test drive near the dealership is a good start, but an extended test drive is better, allowing you to live with the car for a few hours or longer. At a minimum, make sure the test drive includes everything from parking and low-speed maneuvering to urban, arterial and, if possible, motorway driving.

Before you drive off, it’s important to know what you might be liable to pay in the event you’re involved in a collision during a test drive, such as an insurance excess. Before you sign a test drive agreement, make sure you read it to ensure you’re comfortable with all the conditions.

In a new car, the test drive will help you determine whether you like the driving feel and comfort of the car and whether it’s a practical fit for your needs.

A used car test drive is a bit different in that you’re also looking for mechanical faults or other issues that may have arisen as a result of wear and tear or poor maintenance.

Before the test drive

Strangely enough, the driving part of the test drive is only a small part of the experience. So as tempting as it might be to jump right into the driver’s seat and get out on the road take your time and do these things first.

Give the car the once over
Familiarise yourself with everything about the car.

• Open the boot and check how easy it is to get at the spare wheel (or if it has one)
• Open all the doors and climb into the back
• Fold down the rear seats (if possible)
• Check all storage compartments (make sure there’s enough)
• Try out the infotainment/audio system

While you’re doing all of this, you’ll notice how well each part functions. This will give you a general idea of the build quality of the car. It will also help you find any of those little things that might annoy you once the car is yours. If it annoys you on the test drive, then you can bet it will drive you nuts after a few months.

Sit in it for a little while
Now don’t get too excited, you’re not driving yet. You’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable in the car and the best way to do this is to just sit there without the distraction of driving. Make sure the seat adjusts to fit your height and that you have pretty good visibility.

If you have kids, it might be a good idea to bring them along and have them sit in the back and tell you if it’s comfortable enough. They’ll want to be able to open and close the doors and get their seatbelts on easily.

Consider the test drive route
Ideally, you’ll want to take the car beyond the local neighbourhood and out onto the open road. Talk to the dealer/seller about where you’d like to go or if they know of a good route locally.

You simply can’t get a good feel for a car in a quick two-minute spin so taking it for a long drive is absolutely essential. It’s also not a bad idea to ask if you can take the car out once more at night. Night driving is a completely different experience, and you may notice some things about the car that you couldn’t have during the day.

Do you have a garage? Then ask the dealer/seller if you can drop by your house to make sure the car fits.

During the drive

Once you’re behind the wheel, you’ll need to pay close attention to these things:

1. Steering – Check the steering for excessive free play, pulling to one side or vibration, which could point to suspension or alignment problems.

2. Brakes – Ensure the car stops smoothly, strongly and in a straight line when the brake pedal is pressed. The pedal should not sink to the floor or feel spongy, and the steering wheel should not wobble or vibrate.

3. Exhaust – Check for noticeable exhaust smoke with the engine running at idle and under load during acceleration. Black, blue or white smoke each indicate different engine problems.

4. Engine – The car should run smoothly during accelerating, decelerating and when driving steadily. The water temperature gauge should remain in the safe range (or the temperature light should stay off). Rattling or knocking sounds might suggest incorrect tuning or engine wear.

5. Transmission – Check gear changes are smooth and decisive. On front-wheel drive vehicles, a knocking noise when turning indicates worn constant-velocity joints (CV joints).

6. Knocks and rattles – Listen for knocks and rattles as you drive, particularly over bumps and while turning, which could point to loose suspension or body components.

After the drive

At the end of the test drive, it’s okay if you’re not sure whether you want to buy the particular vehicle or model – you’re not under any obligation to buy it.

Once you’re back and parked, the dealer/seller will do all that they can to get you sitting down and talking about finalising that deal. They understand that if you just had a pleasant test drive, then it’s going to be pretty easy to push you into a decision. Don’t do it. Take time to reflect on your experience and to talk with whoever came with you on the test drive.

Even if you’ve fallen in love, it pays to take time to consider the options and try a few cars before you decide. Keeping emotion out of the process will help you negotiate more effectively, too.

This is a massive decision that you’re about to make so don’t allow someone to push you into making your choice on the spot. Go home, think about your experience, the extras available, and most importantly, the financial aspect. If it takes you a week to decide, then at least you’ll know you didn’t rush your decision.

Get it inspected by a professional

If you’re unsure, hire a professional like German Precision to help you.

When buying something big like a new car, have it professionally inspected. A pre-purchase car inspection would cost you $250 to $350, and it’s worth every penny.

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

sources: strattonfinance.com.au, mynrma.com.au