What You Need to Ask Before Buying a Second Hand Car

What You Need to Ask Before Buying a Second Hand Car

Road tripping is, as I’m sure you’re all aware right now, quite the craze of late. Folks all over have traded in their plane tickets and are replacing them with four wheels and a lot of local exploration. Which I’m certainly here for.

The trend has picked up so much steam, it seems, that Aussies are shopping for second-hand cars specifically for their road-tripping needs. Well, that’s what the data would indicate at least.

According to Gumtree Cars, searches for Caravans spiked by 39% since Q1 2020 (January through March). Camper searches were up 52%, searches for trailers jumped up by 53% and interest in eight-seat vehicles increased by 71%. So when I say people are loving the road trip trend, I really mean it.

Now, given that it’s soon to be Easter break and there’s a good chance some of you have hacked your annual leave to get a solid amount of time off, I thought it would be useful to take a look into what you need from your road-tripping vehicle.

I chatted with David Low, a Gumtree Cars spokesperson, to gain some insight into road trip car shopping.

Here are his tips on buying a second-hand car for your end-of-year road trip.

Firstly, you need to take a look at what your needs are:

Low pointed out that there are three areas second-hand car shoppers need to pay attention to: “space, comfort and getting the mileage”.

When it comes to space, Low suggested shoppers take a minute to think about, “What they need to pack and take, and how many people [will be using the vehicle]?”

Next is comfort. Low highlighted it’s important to consider:

“What size car do you need? Are you going to go off-road into regional areas?”

By looking at what you’re expecting of your vehicle, you can ensure a more comfortable trip – rather than choosing a two-seater convertible and attempting to get it to run like a Jeep.

Then comes mileage.

“We’re seeing searches for both diesel and petrol going up,” said Low.

“But making sure you can get away at a cost-effective rate” is an important element to consider when shopping.

Once you’ve landed on a second-hand car, what’s next?

Low stressed that it’s important to ask a lot of questions and get super informed about the vehicle you’re looking to purchase.

“Make contact with the seller,” he said.

“Start asking questions about how they’ve used the car; the mechanical history. When they move towards an inspection, take a friend. Feel comfortable to take it to a mechanic and have a look at it if it’s an older vehicle – that’s definitely a recommendation.”

He also shared that it’s important to “definitely get the logbooks out and check the service history…”. And above all else, make sure you’re communicating with the seller.

“You can also do some background checks to make sure it doesn’t have any outstanding loans, or hasn’t been written off,” he said.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate:

When purchasing a second-hand car, negotiation is a big part of the sales market so don’t be afraid to ask for the seller’s flexibility in this area.

“Have that conversation around what you’re prepared to pay,” said Low.

“…and if you don’t feel comfortable face-to-face, you can do a lot of it [negotiating] via the app before you get there.”

Consider doing your new baby up:

DIY is all the rage at the moment so, as Low said, “with a bit of ingenuity and a bit of time on your hands..” you can achieve some incredible things.

“There are a lot of great examples where they’re [people are] finding the original unit on Gumtree, then they’re actually using Gumtree again to update the mattress; change up some of the car; put a bull bar on and roof racks and so forth, so they’re preparing their vehicles for these road trips.”

Put all of these tips to work as you’re car hunting, and chances are you’ll land your dream road trip ride in no time.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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