Ask Lifehacker: What Should I Look For When Buying A Car?

Dear Lifehacker, I am heading to Brisbane on Wednesday to look for a car. Being more-so from a “geek” background I myself do not have the greatest idea of what to look for in a car. I was wondering if you have any tips on the things to look for when buying a new or used car? Cheers, Aaron

Dear Aaron,

Rather more fervently than is normal for the Ask Lifehacker column, I’m going to throw this one open to the readers straight away. I’m a lifelong non-driver, so while I could throw out some obvious pointers in terms of used cars — check for visible signs of damage, ask to see a maintenance history, research the prices for similar vehicles on sites such as Red Book, Carsguide and eBay — I couldn’t claim any of that was informed by actual experience. So readers, if you’ve got any vital tips for buying a car, please share them in the comments.

The one quick resource I will offer is who to get in contact with in each state to check the actual ownership details for a car — no-one wants to buy a vehicle and discover it was stolen. Here’s the numbers you need:

NSW, ACT and NT: Register of Encumbered Vehicles, 9633 6333 (Sydney) or 1800 424 988 (elsewhere),
Victoria: Vehicle Securities Register, 131 171
Queensland: Register of Encumbered Vehicles, 1300 658 030
South Australia: Vehicle Securities Register, 131 084
Western Australia: Register of Encumbered Vehicles, 1300 304 024
Tasmania: DIER Motor Registry, 1300 135 513,

Good luck with the car shopping!


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