Story sponsored by Sinclair Ford.
A car is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. Like a house, it’s a high value asset which you’re going to rely on for years to come.
If you don’t do your homework, chase a short term savings or neglect your due-diligence, it could end up costing you ten fold in the long run.
When it comes to the car industry, there are plenty of snakes in the grass (and just as many vipers too). That’s why it’s important to know that the vehicle you’re purchasing is good, reliable and right for your lifestyle.
Shy of being a motor mechanic, which most of us aren’t, or having the time to do lots of fact checking and research, which most of us don’t, the best avenue to ensure the best possible outcome is buying a quality used car off a reputable dealer.
Here’s few reasons why:
1 – You don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a car that’s going to be worth a rib three years...
One of the biggest risks you have when buying a car is the possibility of getting stuck with a lemon. That’s why, if you have the money, it’s tempting to buy new.
While there are certainly advantages to this (like the fact that it has zero kilometres on the clock and it comes with both new car and a manufacturer’s warranty), it’s important to remember that the second you drive off the lot, it’s now second hand and depreciating at the fastest rate it’s ever going to.
As Choice Magazine highlighted in a 2014 article, if a $50,000 car has 75 per cent of its original value after three years it will only be worth $37,500. That means you lose $12,500. That’s a lot of money and it’s better in your pocket than theirs. It’s also a lot of extra interest if you had to take out a car loan.
Whereas if you buy a late model used vehicle, with low kilometres and a good service record, which is still covered by the manufacture’s warranty (as well as the statutory minimum warranty), it’s the best of both worlds.
2 – Make sure that you’re getting what you paid for…
As I said before, one of the biggest risks you run when buying a second hand car is being stuck with a lemon. It’s for this exact reason that dealerships are forced to comply with strict consumer laws in NSW.
Even if a car is outside of its new car or manufacturer’s warranty period, every second hand motor vehicle purchased from a dealership in NSW, which has less than 160,000kms on the clock and is less than 10 years old, is covered by a mandatory statutory warranty.
By law the dealer must guarantee the purchase for either 5,000kms or the first three months of the purchase, whichever comes first.
While there are civil law avenues available with private sales, they can be harder to pursue, especially if the person you’ve just handed your money to is a dodgy bloke with a fake e-bay account. Good luck even finding him again… which, brings us squarely to our next point…
3 – Make sure when you buy the vehicle, that you actually own it!
This one sounds silly doesn’t it? A little abstract? Of course if you buy a car it’s yours, right? Well, no. Not necessarily. If the person selling you the vehicle doesn’t have the right to sell it, then legally, you don’t own it, despite the fact that you’ve just handed some bloke $16,000 in cash that you’ve borrowed with interest.
One reason a bargain sale that just seems too good to be true might not be is because the vehicle is stolen. Similarly, the if seller took out a massive loan to buy the car and now can’t pay that money back, they can try to sucker you into buying it. If they owe money on the car, the finance company is entitled to repossess it. In both of these scenarios, you have no legal recourse. “You’ve done your dough”, as they say.
Another thing to look out for is repairable write-offs. If a vehicle has been written-off, it can’t be insured or registered (except for in very limited circumstances), meaning you’ve just paid tens of thousands of dollar for the world’s most expensive pile of scrap metal.
If you buy from a dealer they can’t legally do any of these things. What you buy, must be what you’re being sold.
4 – If you don’t know what you need, you need somebody that will give you the right advice...
One of the hardest parts about buying a car is knowing what type of car you actually need. This where a skilled and knowledgeable salesman comes in handy. They can help you find a vehicle that suits your lifestyle and that is within your price range.
They can also arrange trade-ins on your current vehicle (which can be a real pain in the neck to sell on private sale) and help arrange finance if you need it.
If you’re worried about a “used car salesman” ripping you off, well it’s also important to remember that under Australian Consumer Law, they can’t legally lie to you to make the sale. By law, the vehicle MUST BE safe, lasting and do all the things you’d normally expect it to.
Specifically, it MUST match descriptions made by the salesperson; be fit for purpose - this includes what the seller told you it would be fit for and for any purpose that you made known to the seller before purchase -and; it must meet any extra promises made about performance, condition and quality of the vehicle.
Besides, if you’re dealing with a reputable dealer, it’s not in their best interest to rip you off because…
5 – The dealership’s reputation is worth far more to them than the couple of thousand bucks they can fleece you for...
If you buy a second hand vehicle from a reputable dealer, they don’t want to just sell you one car. They want to sell you your next car too. And the one after that. And the one after that. They also want to sell your spouse a car. And let’s not forget about Sonny Jim either, he’s 13 now, that means he’s going to need a first car in four years... Do you really think a savvy salesman wants to miss out on those dollars? Salesmen work on commission.
With the internet, social media and good old fashioned word of mouth, it is a really bad business model to rip people off. That’s why Sinclair Ford, a major dealership in Paramatta, call themselves a family business. They treat their customers, they say, like they would their own family members.
Besides, if you’re happy and trust the dealership, they can make money servicing the vehicle too, which can be mutually beneficial because...
6 – You can sometimes get after market bargains too…
A lot of dealerships rely on after market servicing as part of their business model. But, when you buy, sometimes you can get future discounts on maintenance too.
For example, if you buy a used car from Sinclair Ford, you will get free tyres for the life of the vehicle. That’s a big saving over time.
Having a good mechanic is also important if you want to extend the life span of your purchase. Small problems have a tendency to become big ones very quickly with cars.
Even when it comes to simple things like changing the oil or replacing a dodgy part, both cost significantly less than a new engine! Or, in the worst case scenario, another car.
So make the smart choice…
If you don’t know what you’re doing when buying a car, don’t just do a Google search and assume you know best. And don’t get caught out with a scam.
Find a reputable dealership with a salesman you can trust. Ask plenty of questions. Make sure the car is right for you. And then sign on the line.
Story sponsored by Sinclair Ford.