3 Things To Look For When Buying A Pre-owned Vehicle

The market for Pre-Owned vehicles in Australia has continued to expand over the last number of years and there’s never been a better time to pick up top of the range luxury car at a price you can afford.

At Lexus of Parramatta, we offer a full range of both new and Pre-Owned Lexus models and we’re more than familiar with the essential items car owners should be mindful of for when they’re looking at the latter.

Let’s break down the three key things to look for when you’re on the hunt for a Pre-Owned vehicle.

1. The Right Combination Of Performance And Relative Value

We’ve got enticing options at every step of the Pre-Owned pricing scale and are happy to walk potential purchasers through them in person. A savvy shopper should be certain to establish their own general buying criteria before even talking to any dealership, however.

Everyone will naturally have different budget ranges but these shouldn’t be figures you simply pluck out of the air. Begin by using a solid overall budgetary yardstick such as not spending more than 20% of your monthly take-home income on payments. This gives you a sensible ceiling to work with.

With that in mind, get familiar with the range of options you’ll face. With Lexus vehicles for example, there are 13 different series split out across sedans, SUVs, convertibles and hybrids. Being aware of these category distinctions up front helps you narrow down your search in advance.

As your potential list of targets starts to narrow, start getting a feel for what the Pre-Owned market is like generally by using resources such as Red Book to get a clear picture on standard pricing for particular years and models. Independent assessments of used car safety ratings and security ratings should also be consulted, and the Green Vehicle Guide will give you a solid overview of fuel consumption and emissions ratings.

The purpose of all this pre-emptive research is to establish a clear set of criteria (an informed customer is generally a happy customer) and free up as much time as possible for examining cars in detail in the flesh – which brings us neatly on to point two.

2. A Flawless Interior and Exterior

It should go without saying that you must never buy a Pre-Owned vehicle sight unseen. Your extensive pre-sales research should help you quickly narrow choices down to a couple of candidates you can inspect in detail at a dealership.

You’re looking for two main things here: no visible defects on either the exterior or interior and overall quality that is as near to a brand new vehicle as humanly possible. Any issues with the first is a deal breaker plain and simple, the second point will inevitably be slightly subjective.

Kick things off by performing a full check of the exterior in well-lit conditions. Begin by carefully examining the paintwork for rust or signs of previous accidents and body filler. Check all tyres for signs of wear that could indicate steering or suspension problems and ensure the boot, lid, windows and all doors open and close flawlessly.

Depending on your level of mechanical expertise, either check under the hood yourself for any potential problems with the radiator cooling fans, battery and engine or have your mechanic give the car a once over for you.

You’ll also need to give the interior a comprehensive once-over for signs of wear and tear and make sure all lights, equipment and accessories are working perfectly.

3. A Smooth Test Drive

By this stage, you should have a pretty good idea of whether this is the car for you, but the proof of the pudding, as ever, is in the eating – or in this case the driving! You want to perform a full test drive on quiet roads where you can give your full attention to the car’s performance in the wild.

In addition to checking out general handling, you’re on the lookout for any warning signs such as mysterious rattles or body noises, suspension issues, dirty exhausts or any trouble steering.

If everything checks out with our three key points, you could well be looking at your next drive and it’s time to move on to the paperwork. One of the many advantages of buying Pre-Owned from a reputable dealer is that your car will already have been fully checked in terms of guarantee of title and matching of details such as the VIN number and engine number.

Whether you’re going with a dealership or not, our three key things to look for when buying a Pre-Owned vehicle will get you a long way down the road in terms of getting the right vehicle at a price that works for you.


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