Getting your first car is a big deal. It’s an unreal feeling no longer having to beg your parents to borrow the car (or being told you can’t because you’re not listed as an under 25 driver for their insurance).
If you’re buying the car yourself, chances are you’re considering secondhand cars as a more affordable option. There are some good deals to be found but there are also some dodgy deals too. And if you don’t know what to look for, you could get ripped off.
Of course the seller will make the car looks as appealing to you as possible. A few scratches touched up with paint is one thing, but you really don’t want to be tricked into buying a car that’s been written off then patched up and re-painted for a quick sale.
Spot the dodgy
Some dodgy fix-ups are obvious – if you can see the muffler is held on with duct tape, you might think twice about the roadworthiness of the car. But other things aren’t so easy to spot.
It’s perfectly legal for someone to buy a repairable write-off in one state, fix it up then register it in a different state to sell it on. If the repairs are done well and the car has passed all the proper inspections, it’s not a major issue, but you’d probably still like to know this information before buying.
You could ask the seller but let’s be honest, they could fudge the truth a little to keep you interested. But there’s not real need to ask because you can find out for yourself in a matter of minutes.
It’s easy to do – you’ll just need the plate number and VIN/chassis number of the car you’re looking at buying. You can get both these from the rego papers or the actual car. You never know, simply asking the seller for this information so you can run a vehicle history check might be enough to make them fess up to something!
The online Vehicle History Check will only cost you $18 (far less than any repairs you could be landed with later).
A quick check
Visit myRTA.com and follow the instructions to get a Vehicle History Check.
You’ll find out:
- How many previous owners the car has had in NSW.
- If it’s been written off anywhere in Australia since 2004.
- If it has been written off, the type of damage that occurred.
- If car has ever been reported as stolen.
- How the car has been used in the past (eg as a security or police car).
- If the rego is ok (ie if it’s current, when it expires).
- The the status of the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance.
Making it yours
Once you’ve picked the car you want and are happy it’s not going to fall apart when you get around the corner, you need to sort out transferring the rego from the seller’s name to yours. Did you know you can transfer your rego online at myRTA.com?
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