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Private Buyer's Manual

Buying a used car can be a great way to save money and reduce your impact on the environment. During the last two years, new cars have been slow to arrive in Australia and the pandemic has led to a greater reluctance to catch public transport. This has caused Australia’s second-hand car market to flourish1 with more people considering buying a used car.

However, buying a used car can be a tricky process. In fact, 97% of people we surveyed say they felt some confusion when buying a used car privately2.  They told us they were worried about the car’s warranty, whether they’re getting a good deal, and even whether the car they’re planning to buy works properly. With so much to consider, it’s easy to miss important checks, and end up with a car that isn’t what they expected.

Because we are behind you for what’s ahead, we wanted to make things easier, so we’ve put together our Private Buyer's Manual, to help you know what to do when buying a used car privately. 

Our manual contains must read tips for buying a used car, from the research stage to inspection and even transferring car registration.  Whether you’re buying a car from a stranger, or purchasing from a friend or family member, our Private Buyer's Manual can help support you by providing you with useful information to help you navigate the process.  

The manual contains a checklist for buying a used car, and covers:

  • How to research the right car for you
  • What to look for at a private inspection
  • What to do when you’re ready to purchase

Understanding what to look for when buying a used car can be one of the hardest parts of the buying process. Our research has shown that many Australians buying a car privately don’t ask the right questions or make the right checks. In fact1:

  • Almost a third of Australians bought a second-hand car without a test drive
  • Around a third of Australians assessed how roadworthy a car was by looking at it, or simply by trusting the seller on their word
  • Many Australians missed key steps during the inspection process, such as organising a mechanics inspection (73%), viewing the car’s logbook (48%), and checking whether the car had been in an accident (42%)

Our Private Buyer's Manual outlines what to check when buying a new car. It walks you through the checks you need at three important stages:

  •  Inspecting the interior and exterior of the car
  • Taking the car for a test drive
  • Checking if the paper work is in order

If any of the tests don’t check out, you always have the option of walking away. One small indication of wear and tear can actually be a sign of more extensive and expensive damage, and after the sale you may end up footing the bill.

Remember, if you’re experiencing difficulties buying a car privately, you can also choose to buy a used car from a dealer. Dealers can provide instant information, transparency about the car and can help with finance and insurance. Even if you’re buying from a dealer, it can still help to consult our Private Buyer’s Manual as a “buying a used car checklist” to make sure you don’t miss any important questions or information.

Please note the information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any decisions based on this article
  1. Moody’s Analytics (2021) Australians used vehicle prices rise on first quarter on supply concerns (PDF, 215 Kb)
  2. According to research commissioned by Allianz and conducted by PureProfile. The survey is a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Australians who purchased a second-hand car either through the private channel or a dealership. The research was carried out online between 29 September and 6 October 2021.
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708 (“Allianz”). Information contained in this article is accurate as at  23rd September 2021 and may be subject to change. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.

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Any advice here does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about this insurance, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)/Policy Wording and Supplementary PDS (if applicable). Where applicable, the PDS/Policy Wording, Supplementary PDS and Target Market Determination (TMD) for this insurance are available on this website.

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 is the insurer of any general insurance products offered on this website.

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