1.PAY A FAIR PRICE
Do your research and find out what the market value of the car is. A great way of doing this is by looking at car trader and classified sections of newspapers along with websites such as Trade Me. Here you will able to look at cars of the same brand and year and a similar mileage and see what they are selling for.
2. LOOK AT THE LABELS
Check the registration/licensing and WoF labels on the windscreen. When does the license expire? If it is in the next few weeks, keep in mind as the new car owner you will be responsible for purchasing registration at a cost of approx. $280 for one year. Ask to see the most recent Warrant of Fitness report. Even if it passed its test, there may have been notes made on the report to alert the owner as to issued coming up (for example, tyre tread getting low, brakes under performing, rust accumulating).
3. CHECK THE TYRE CONDITION
Have a good look at the condition of the tyres. Lack of tread will mean lack of grip on the road. This is not only a safety issue, but it is one of the aspects of a vehicle that is checked during a Warrant of Fitness inspection. To replace tyres will cost upwards of approx. $100 per tyre. Check the side of the tyres. If there is wear that appears to be uneven then the cars could be incorrectly aligned.
4. TAKE IT FOR A TEST DRIVE
When you ask to test drive the car, firstly check that you are insured to drive it (the owner of the vehicles policy will state whether or not other people will be covered to drive the vehicle). Drive for a decent length of time (up to 20 minutes) and ideally at a variety of speeds. Listen to the engine for odd sounds and check the electrics and inner switches and knobs of the vehicle are working such as the windows, radio, air-con, hazard lights, indicators and lights.
5. READ THE ODOMETER
Have a look at the Odometer. If it has an unusually low number of kilometres for the look (wear and tear) of the car then this could be a sign that the odometer has been tampered with. This is another good reason to get a car history check from a place such as Motor Web.
6. HOW RELIABLE IS THE BRAND
Not all cars are created equal! Do you research about a certain brand of car that you are considering buying. The Dog & Lemon guide is an excellent starting point. It will give a thorough overview of the reliability, safety and costs of the vehicle. Keep in mind that Japanese imported cars are very popular in New Zealand and most likely will cost less to fix here as opposed to American or European brands of cars.
7. EXAMINE THE LOCKS
Have a look at the locks, both where you put the key in to unlock the car and also the window locks. If any appear to be brand new this could be a sign that the car had been broken in to and stolen. Again a car history check will provide you with details of who the owner of the vehicle is, and you can check this against the identification that is provided by the owner of the vehicle.
8. GIVE THE CAR A VISUAL INSPECTION
Have a good visual check of the car. Try to see the car in the day light as this will show up any dents and rust.
9. YOUR COMFORT DRIVING THE CAR
Never driven a manual vehicle before. Not used to a powerful engine? Like a smaller car over something bigger? You need to select a car to buy that you will enjoy driving and more importantly feel safe and confident in.
10. COMPLETE A PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTION
We are a big fan of paying for a pre-purchase vehicle inspection. Effectively you are paying for an expert to come and check out the car you are considering buying. They will give a thorough visual overview of the car and most likely take it for a test drive. Their report will give an overview of the car’s condition and alert you to any issues they think it might have. If you do not have access or the budget for one of these, then jump on to You Tube and have a look at some of the many videos that will go over the basics of inspecting a car.