By: Gov Auctions | 22 November 2012

How to Buy a Used Car

The following are some of the big things to consider when it comes to buying a used car.

Decide what you need

Before you start eyeing off a sweet new ride, make sure that whatever you buy is going to cover all of your essential needs, whether it is room for a child seat or being small enough to find parking in your inner-city neighbourhood. Before you start being tempted by all of those fantastic-looking cars, make a list of ‘must-have’ features for your new ride, and ensure that any car you seriously consider buying can tick all of those boxes.

Set a budget

Your car will only be a great purchase if you can actually afford it, so whether you plan on buying your used car through government auctions, car yards or online classifieds, establish a firm figure on what you can afford to spend and stick to it. Keep in mind the cost of insurance and registration, as well as any other taxes or fees that may be involved, because these extra expenses can be quite significant.

Look everywhere for deals

Once you know roughly what you are looking for and how much you can afford to spend, it is time to kick off your car search in a serious way. Start by spreading word among your networks that you are looking for a used car, and then take a thorough look online at the endless amount of vehicles being offered.

Auctions are another extremely popular way to find a great used car – in particular government auctions, because they are a little more consistent in terms of quality and records. Whether you start searching classifieds online or attending the local car auction, look high and low for that perfect car, because the harder you look, the more chance you are of actually finding it.


Be sure to thoroughly research any car you find that peaks your interest, regardless of where you find it, because the more you know about it, the more informed a decision you will be able to make regarding whether or not it is worth investing in.

However, if you are shopping for your used car at auction, you won’t have much time to research, so make sure you take advantage of every piece of information provided. If you can somehow get your mechanic to come with you to the auction, this will drastically increase your chances of avoiding a lemon and finding a gem.

Invest in quality

When it comes to buying a used car, you generally get what you pay for. If you can afford to, it is worth investing in a higher-quality vehicle – especially if you hope to avoid having to replace it again in the near future. Even if you have to borrow some money to get that slightly higher-end option, it is a smart financial move to invest in a better car – but make sure you focus on what you need rather than what you want.