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

Used Cars vs New Cars

So you’ve decided to buy a car. How exciting. Whether it’s an upsize, downsize, update or your very first car purchase, you need to decide whether you’ll go for a new car or a used car. Is one ultimately better than the other, or is it ‘different strokes for different folks’?

The answer is: it depends. As with everything car-related, it comes down to what best suits your wants and needs.

The perks of going ‘new’

The upsides of buying a car new are exactly what you’d expect. There is a certainty about what you’re getting. No-one else has ever owned it, so there can be no untold horrors lurking in its past.

You will receive the benefits of a full warranty and it’s likely you’ll enjoy free post-purchase servicing. You can be sure that your car is operating at the bleeding edge of technological efficiency. There is the deep satisfaction one gets when one drives a shiny, new vehicle off the showroom floor (with that one-of-a-kind new car smell).

What are the problems?

There is really only one major issue in buying a new car and it’s depreciation. The value hit that a new car takes between the dealership driveway and your garage is substantial. In the first three years, your car will lose about 40% of its original value. Of course the longer you keep it, the less all of this matters, but for many people, depreciation is a significant enough factor to deter buying new.

Car buying’s dirty little secret

Once you fully understand how car depreciation sucks money out of your wallet, you’ll learn how to save boatloads of cash over your lifetime. You often hear that a car loses 20% of its value as soon as you buy it. Yes, in just one minute, a $30,000 car will lose $6,000 as you gleefully drive off. By the end of the first year, mileage and wear and tear could bring that to 30%, or $9,000. Why don’t you feel this big hit? Because it takes effect much later when you sell or trade-in your car.

Take a look at two similar cars, one new and one used.

New-car depreciation: You buy the car for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $15,000. The car has cost you $15,000 in depreciation.

Used-car depreciation: Now let’s say you buy the same car, but it’s 3 years old when you buy it. You could buy the car for $15,000. Three years later you could sell it for $10,000. So the used car depreciation cost you only $5,000.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you would quickly say, “But driving a brand new car is much better!” You’re absolutely right. So, if driving a new car is worth an extra $10,000 to you, go for it.

So should I choose to buy ‘used’?

There are plenty of convincing reasons to go ‘used’. For anyone who can look past the material joy of a brand new car, you can get almost everything a new car offers at a fraction of the cost by buying pre-owned.

Consider a car that is 12-months old. It’s already lost up to 30% of its original price but may still have up to 2-3 years left on its new car warranty (with many manufacturers now offering up to 5-years). Its features and technologies are still considered new and modern.

If looked after, its interiors are still fresh, and there should be no issues with reliability, given its youthful age. There is a lot of value there. And in terms of savvy shopping, a 12-18-month-old car is considered the used car ‘sweet spot’.

Forget the old used-car stigmas

It used to be common for people to put down used cars by saying that it was just a way to buy someone else’s problems. That’s not true anymore. Here are two updates on old knocks against used cars of recent vintage.

Reliability: Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. It’s not uncommon for some cars to deliver more than 100,000 miles before needing major repairs.
Maintenance: All cars require regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, brake jobs. But you can drive today’s cars much farther in between these scheduled maintenance visits. Even tires and brake pads last much longer than before.

What should I be aware of?

Even when you can look over the stigmas, it doesn’t mean that you can trust any sellers.

The biggest downside of buying used is that you cannot be guaranteed of its history. You can piece together a pretty good idea through service logs, condition and running a vehicle history check, but you will never know each and every quick of the car before your time.

The further you stray from the 12–18-month sweet spot, the more prominent this concern can become. But, generally speaking, if you do your research and educate yourself on what to look out for, you’ll know a bargain when you see one. Just trust your ‘gut-feeling’ or that of a friend in-the-know.

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

sources: carsguide, nerdwallet