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How to Buy a Used Vehicle in Australia

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If you are in need of a used car while you are in Australia, there are a few simple things to look for, to make sure you do not get scammed and do get a good deal.

Once you are ready to shop for a new pre-owned vehicle, it’s necessary to do a bit of easy research first. You should start by narrowing your search to type, size, and price you are looking for. Keep in mind that many off road travel destinations require 4WD. One helpful resource when choosing the type of vehicle you want is the website where Australia’s top motor experts do a study every year on their own roads to rank the best cars for personal comfort and drivability in the country. You can visit past year’s winners since you are after all looking for a used car. Next, consider insurance costs for that model, prices vary model to model. Keep in mind that mandatory third-party insurance is included when you pay the registration fee for the vehicle after you buy it.
You also want to find out if it is a commonly stolen car and if it comes with security measures. Over 60,000 vehicles are reported stolen each year in Australia and about one-third are never found. Some of these stolen vehicles are then resold to new owners who haven’t done their research! If you buy a stolen car from a private seller you generally loose both the vehicle and your money. This is also common if you buy a vehicle that is still under finance.
Once you are in negotiations and inspections with an owner, deal, auction, etc. make sure to find out if there is any money still owed on the vehicle and if it is currently registered in that state. If it is not currently registered in that state then when you register it, you will incur a fee to do so. If you buy the car from a dealer, they’re legally obliged to guarantee that the car’s debt-free. For private sales, check whether there’s any money owing on it by calling the vehicles title register or REVS of the state or territory it’s registered in. Have the registration number, vehicle identification number (VIN) and engine number ready. Unfortunately they don’t guarantee that the car is debt free and won’t be repossessed through this free service but you can request a certificate that will guarantee it and they will give you a certificate that legally protects you.
To sell a car in Australia, a car must meet certain standards like a roadworthy inspection which can be done by a local mechanic shop. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t an option for auction buyers.
If you can’t take it to a professional to inspect it then you can refer to CHOICE’s Checklist. Once you are ready to buy, make arrangements to obtain insurance before you drive it anywhere. Then you will have to transfer the registration to your name. You usually have to do this within fourteen days of buying the car at a local department of transport. 
Once you get to your local department also known as a registry in some areas, you will need the following:

  1. The green slip also known as the third party insurance. A dealer will arrange it for you. A private seller will give you theirs. Registration will cost a few hundred dollars (unless it has already been paid for that year) and is due annually after that.                                                                                                                                             
  2. If the registration is due, you may need a “pink slip”, an inspection report you can get from most mechanics or car dealers.
  3. Registration from the RTA.
  4. Your passport, I.D, license, etc.

As a precaution, you want to call the local department of transport because the laws and requirements vary from different states/territories.
Elizabeth Bailey is an avid blogger with a penchant for car vacations. She enjoys sharing her tips and insights on various driving blogs. Learn more about saving money when on holiday.
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