You Should Never Buy A Written-Off Vehicle

Buying a new car typically isn’t cheap, which is why so many Australians turn to used vehicles for their next car purchase. A used car often means a much lower price without sacrificing much on quality. Used cars can come in conditions that range from “like-new” to “repairable write-off”, meaning there’s a lot of choices for you. However, there are reasons why you should never buy a written-off vehicle.

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 Is A Written-off Vehicle?

There are a few scenarios that can deem a vehicle as a repairable write-off. This doesn’t automatically mean that the car has been damaged in a severe accident. Insurance companies can deem a vehicle an economic write-off when it has had severe hail damage after a storm or severe scratches and dents from a car being vandalised or stolen.

In addition, flood, fire and collision damage that is so severe that the cost of repairs is more than the value of the car are all common ways that a vehicle is deemed a repairable write-off.

There are two categories when it comes to written-off vehicles:

• Repairable write-offs — These are vehicles that have been assessed as being too costly to repair, but subject to state laws may be re-registered for road use if they have passed a vehicle safety and identity check.
• Statutory write-offs — These are vehicles that have been declared unfit for the road due to severe damage or deterioration that prevents them from being driven.

The standard of repairs required varies for different states. In Victoria, there are stringent standards, which include repairing with genuine manufacturers parts and standards and getting a Certificate of Compliance by a licensed repairer.

Older cars have lower values, meaning minor damage can often cost more than the total value of the car. This is another great way to get an inexpensive vehicle without damage that would impact the safety and reliability of the vehicle.

Can You Resell A Repairable Write-off?

If you purchase a repairable write-off you do have options. Unlike statutory write-offs, repairable write-offs can be sold although they generally fetch lower prices. As long as the vehicle can pass a mechanical check and a Vehicle Identity Validation (VIV) inspection, which certifies it as a previously damaged vehicle and not a rebirthed stolen vehicle, it can be registered and sold.

There are other restrictions when it comes to fixing, selling or re-registering repairable write-offs, so you should check with the relevant authorities in your state or territory.

Do Your Checks Before Purchasing The Vehicle

Always ask if a vehicle’s ever been written off, and keep a written record of the seller’s answer. You should ask if the vehicle is a written-off. However, the seller is legally obliged to disclose to the buyer if the car is written-off, whether the buyer inquires or not.

We also strongly recommend that you check the rego and do a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check before buying any vehicle.

A PPSR check will tell you if the vehicle’s on the Written-Off Vehicles Register (WOVR), and if there’s any money owing on it. If you buy a car and realise later that it’s stolen, or there’s money owing on it, you might lose the vehicle and the money you paid for it.

Potential Risks Of Buying A Repairable Write-off

There are many things to consider when buying a vehicle that’s declared a repairable write-off. If you see a car for sale that’s significantly cheaper than the competition, there’s every chance it could have been written-off at some point in its life.

While a write-off can happen due to a crash, it is also commonly due to flood or hail. Most repairable write-offs cars are damaged beyond reasonable simple repair and are not a good investment as a primary vehicle. Some cons of purchasing a salvage include the following:

• Damages cost more than the vehicle’s value
• Often unable to test the vehicle before auction
• You may now know what you’re getting into
• High chance of financial loss
• It may be ultimately more difficult to sell as buyers perceive may be a poor quality repair
• Little to no resale value as buyers do not understand standards required for repair
• Safety concerns.

Even if a car has been repaired professionally, it’s almost never going to be as good as it was when new or when compared to its compatriots for sale online. Risks can include less structural rigidity or integrity, ongoing problems in the case of a flooded car, paint erosion and rust problems due to hail and more.

A statutory write-off should not be sold under any circumstances. Also, be aware of repairable write-offs from NSW being shipped off and sold up interstate. Chances are by saving a few dollars more or even at the same price, there will be a secondhand model of the same car that hasn’t been written-off. It’s handy to shop around and not jump at the first good deal you see. That good deal might not be so great after all.

It’s also worth noting that insurance companies know when a vehicle has been written off—even if it has been deemed a repairable write-off—because the VIN is listed on the WOVR.

A repairable write-off could be subject to a slightly higher insurance premium, because it has suffered previous damage which could lead to more costly repairs at a later date if the car is involved in another accident.

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: vicroads.vic.gov.au, mynextcarbuyingadvocacy.com.au, ppsr.com.au, savings.com.au, motorama.com.au