Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Family Car

This is a guest post from Diff Lapping Qld, with over 30 years experience in the differential and manual gearbox industry.

Deciding to buy a used car over a new car will save you money at the outset, but it’s important to choose wisely so your purchase doesn’t end up costing your family in the long term. A good used car can serve you well and save you from having to suffer the initial depreciation of a new car, which may devalue by thousands simply by taking it off the showroom floor.

So, if you are a little cash-strapped a used car can make very good sense, providing you do your research before parting with your hard earned dollars.

Here are some tips for used car shoppers to help you get the ‘most car for your money’.


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Reliability is probably the most important factor in purchasing a new car. You need your used car to be dependable and not to cost you a small fortune in repairs. There are a number of ways to determine reliability. Firstly, do your research. Check on the internet for reliability ratings of different models, talk to mechanics and read reports from consumer groups.

If you have done your research and found a car you like, it is always a good idea to have it checked over by a mechanic. If you are buying a second hand four wheel drive it may be an idea to get the diff checked out by a diff lapping expert. The small outlay for a thorough examination is well worth it; ask anyone who has bought a lemon!


Safety is a very important factor to consider on today’s busy roads. Again, research is imperative. Cars are crash tested and given a safety rating. Go online and find out what the experts have to say about different makes and models you are looking at.



One of the best ways to assess performance of used cars is to check out performance reviews on the internet. Used car buyers who have had a bad experience will be happy to talk about it, so check out used car blog sites too. A thorough test drive will also help you evaluate the performance of a used vehicle. Take it for a good long drive and put the car through its paces.



The condition of the interior determines how comfortable your driving experience will be. It is also an indicator of how well the car has been looked after. If the car has seat covers installed, be sure to remove them to check the condition of the upholstery – seat covers are often used to cover up cigarette burns and other damage.


Running Costs

If you are purchasing a second hand car you are most likely looking to save money, so don’t overlook this important point. Research fuel, maintenance and repair costs for the model you are looking at. Finding the best used car should depend on running costs as much as initial price. Don’t be seduced by a fancy interior, sporty appearance or even excellent safety ratings. You must be sure you can afford to run the car. If it’s expensive to run, maintain or insure then it is probably not the right car for you.