What To Check When Buying A Used Car In Western Australia

February 28, 2023

Ever wonder what to check when buying a used car? Unless you have a lot of expertise in the car market, it’s hard to remember all the details. It made me realise how important it is to be aware of all the things to look out for when buying a second-hand vehicle.

Whether you’re after a reliable family car or an adventurous 4WD. There are some essential checks no buyer should miss, and they could save you from major problems down the line.

In this article, we will explore what you need to consider before signing on the dotted line and taking ownership of your new wheels. We’ll discuss everything from inspecting its condition and checking documents to ensuring it has up-to-date safety features.

By following these guidelines, you can feel confident that your purchase is worth every penny! Ready to buy with confidence? Let’s get started…

1 Budget & Financing

Budgeting and Finance

Buying a car can be an exciting experience, but also one that requires careful consideration. When buying a used car in Western Australia, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to budget and financing.

From private sellers to money owing on the vehicle, or if you’re taking out a car loan. All of these details will affect how much you end up spending.

Research The Car Market Value

If purchasing from a private seller, research the market value for your desired make and model. So you know what is fair and reasonable price-wise. You may need to negotiate with the seller over specific features or add-ons too.

Get REVS Checks

Additionally, ensure that any money owing on the vehicle by previous owners has been paid off before signing anything. This information should be available through buyer protection schemes such as REVS checks in WA.

Lenders Interest Rates

When considering financing options, find out what interest rates are being offered by lenders before entering into any contractual agreements. Understand the terms of repayment including fees and charges.

Loan Agreements

Knowing exactly what kind of deal you’re getting into is essential. Also, take note of items such as warranties included in your loan agreement. Which can come at no extra cost or a small fee depending on lender policies.

Overall, having knowledge about budgeting and finance prior to making a purchase can save time and resources down the line. Knowing what kind of financial commitments you’re expected to make. Is crucial for avoiding potential pitfalls when buying a used car in Western Australia.

Registration status plays an equally vital role in ensuring everything is above board with your new ride!

2 Registration Status

Checking the registration status of a used car in Western Australia is essential before making any purchase. Knowing the vehicle identification number and ensuring that all necessary documents are in order. This should be your first priority when buying a second-hand car.

Not only will it help you verify the authenticity of the seller, but also confirm whether or not the previous owner had registered their car with relevant authorities.

Check Registration Papers

To check if a potential used car has been properly registered in WA. Look out for its registration papers as well as its number plate.

The former document provides information regarding who owns the vehicle and how much they paid for it. Whereas, the latter identifies an individual’s car from other vehicles on the road.

Moreover, make sure to crosscheck these details carefully against what is mentioned in the sale agreement.

Check The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Apart from verifying registration status through important paperwork. Another way to ensure that you’re getting a legitimately registered vehicle is to ask for its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

This unique code helps determine various aspects related to the manufacturing and ownership history of each motorcar. Make sure to take note of both VIN and Registration numbers provided by sellers prior to finalizing any deal.

It’s always better to err on side of caution while purchasing a pre-owned vehicle in WA. So don’t forget to double-check all pertinent documents associated with every automobile you intend to buy!

With accurate records of past ownerships at hand, you can move forward towards assessing a used car’s overall condition more efficiently. Especially if you plan on running thorough background checks via obtaining a detailed vehicle history report later on.

3 Vehicle History Report

What To Check When Buying A Used Car - Vehicle History Report

When buying a used car in Western Australia, it’s important to look at the vehicle history report. A reliable way of doing so is through Car dealers, who can provide you with registration papers and other documents related to the car’s ownership. This will help you identify any potential wear and tear that may have occurred throughout the car’s life.

Damage Or Repairs

For instance, if the Vehicle History Report reveals any major damage or repairs on the car. This would be an indication that more should be done to check for further issues before purchase.

Car’s Condition

Additionally, look out for signs such as rusting or excessive oil leakage from engine parts. Can also be useful when considering whether to buy a used vehicle in WA.

Car Service Log Book

The most essential element of judging the reliability of a used car is by checking for all required documentation associated with it. Having access to records that show regular servicing has been carried out over time. Gives buyers confidence about purchasing a car without worrying about hidden maintenance problems.

Knowing what kind of mileage the previous owner had put on the vehicle. Also helps determine whether certain components need replacing soon due to age and usage. Which is something not always visible during initial inspections.

Asking sellers questions regarding service histories can give valuable insights. Into understanding exactly what condition your prospective new ride might be in after purchase.

To ensure you’re getting value for money when buying a second-hand vehicle. It’s vital to review maintenance records thoroughly.

4 Maintenance Records

What To Check When Buying A Used Car - Maintenance Records

When it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, maintenance records are essential. It’s like taking an x-ray of the vehicle and getting insight into its past life and future health.

There is no better way to protect yourself from making a mistake than by having all the information at your fingertips before signing off on any purchase!


The personal property securities register (PPSR) should also be consulted when purchasing a second-hand car in WA. This record contains important details about the security interests attached to a motor vehicle.

Such as finance owing or whether it was ever listed as stolen. A PPSR check will provide peace of mind that you’re not buying someone else’s problem.

RAC Inspection

It is always recommended to get a RAC Inspection of any used vehicle prior to purchase and take extra care with inspecting the maintenance records. While this may have been done during routine servicing, there could still be underlying issues that require attention.

Particularly if they haven’t been picked up in previous checks. Taking time to ensure that everything looks above board can save money down the line. But more importantly, keep us safe while out behind the wheel!

Next step? Mileage. Checking what kind of kilometres has been clocked up since manufacturing is essential. For understanding exactly how much wear and tear one can expect from their newly purchased ride.

Reading through those maintenance records again should give some indication of how many times the odometer has turned over.

5 Mileage

When buying a used car from a private sale in Western Australia, it’s important to check the mileage. I recently bought a second-hand sedan and found out it had travelled more than 150,000 kilometres.

Here are 4 tips for checking the mileage of your potential purchase:

  1. Check that the odometer matches up with what is written on any documentation associated with the vehicle;
  2. Ask to see if there’s proof of regular servicing or repairs which could indicate how far the car has been driven;
  3. Look at wear patterns around wheel arches as this can give an indication of higher mileage (for example, my car had some rusting along the lower edges); and
  4. Compare advertised mileage against similar cars listed online.

It’s also worth noting that many models come with built-in trip meters that can be checked by accessing the dashboard display. So don’t forget to ask questions about these too!

Be sure to check any service records that may have information regarding past trips taken in order. To gain an accurate picture of how much distance the car has clocked up over time.

Additionally, look into whether extended warranties are offered based on certain kilometres travelled for extra peace of mind when purchasing a used car in Western Australia.

Moving onto exterior & interior condition…

6 Exterior & Interior Condition

When it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, the exterior and interior condition can be even more important than the mileage. It’s like getting ready for a date, you want to make sure your new ride looks good inside and out!

Check the Car’s Body

The first thing to check is the overall body of the car, as well as any dents or scratches. You should also open up the hood and look at all of its components.

Check Inside The Hood

From batteries to hoses and belts, to ensure they are not damaged or broken. Then move on to test-driving it.

Listen For Noises

Does everything run smoothly? Are there any strange noises coming from under the hood?

These could indicate potential problems with the engine that may end up costing you more money down the line if not addressed now.

Check The Accessories

Once you’re satisfied with how things look outside, it’s time to get into the details of what’s happening inside. Take a good look around, paying special attention to features such as air conditioning, radio/CD player (if applicable), power windows, sunroofs etc.

Check The Internal Wear And Tear

Making sure all these items are functioning properly. Also, take note of stains or signs of wear & tear on seats. This will give an indication of how much care has been given to maintaining this vehicle over its lifetime.

For added peace of mind when purchasing a used car in Western Australia, remember that by law there is a cooling-off period. Which provides some protection against misrepresentation during sale negotiations.

Additionally, a statutory warranty applies only when buying through licensed dealers. So always keep that in mind before signing anything!

TIP: If possible have a trusted mechanic inspect your hand car prior to purchase. This is often invaluable considering most second-hand vehicles do come with certain pre-existing issues!

7 Mechanical Aspects

Benefits of Servicing Your Car at Mad Man Motors

When purchasing a used car, it is essential to check its mechanical aspects. You don’t want your purchase to be the stuff of nightmares!

So before signing on that dotted line, here’s what you need to do:

Test Drive

First and foremost, take it for a test drive. This will give you an idea of how the car performs in action. While driving, pay attention to if there are any unusual noises from the engine or shakes coming from the steering wheel.

It may feel like opening Pandora’s box when looking at all the problems but this can save you time and money in the long run. Here are three important things to look out for during your test drive:

  • Open and close all doors, hoods, trunks etc., as well as make sure they latch properly;
  • Make sure all controls (steering wheel, gear shift) move smoothly without jerking;
  • Ensure that brakes work correctly by testing them while going around corners or when stopping suddenly.

Inspect The Hood

Next up – checking underneath the hood. Take a peek at the undercarriage of your potential buy, because it can tell you a lot about possible issues. With wear and tear components such as exhaust systems and brake fluids.

Check Fluid Levels

If available, consult a mechanic who can provide more insight into these matters. Furthermore, make sure all fluid levels are full and that no signs of leaks are present. Especially oil which could indicate major engine issues down the road.

Check The Tyre Condition

Lastly, check how much weight is being carried by examining the tires’ pressure points and suspension system alignment. Both should match according to carload specifications.

Having checked off everything on your list so far makes you one step closer towards ownership! Now we just have to look over some safety features before we can finally call this car our own…

8 Safety Features

When buying a used car in Western Australia, it is important to make sure the safety features are up to date-and functioning properly. It’s like putting money into an investment, you don’t want any surprises down the road!

Check Car Reviews

Similar to when making any big purchase, research is key. Check out online reviews for different car dealers and car yards in Wangara like Mad Man Motors before committing. Ask questions about service records and the age of parts if the seller has that information available.

Review Safety Ratings Online

It can also be beneficial to look at crash test ratings from organisations such as ANCAP or Euro NCAP. So you know what kind of protection you’re getting with your vehicle. Checking over tyres, brakes and airbags should also be done before signing on the dotted line.

Get Your Mechanic To Inspect

Regardless of how much effort one puts into researching, always have someone knowledgeable take a look over the car too. Whether it’s a mechanic friend or an independent inspector. They may spot something missed during a visual inspection that could save time, energy and money later on.

Overall, verifying all safety features of a potential secondhand set of wheels should not be overlooked. Especially here in WA where traffic laws are strictly enforced!

Make sure there aren’t any hidden issues that could potentially ruin your driving experience before hitting those open roads.

9 Fuel Efficiency

When buying a used car, fuel efficiency is another important factor to consider. Before you buy a pre-owned vehicle, it’s wise to do your research and determine how much petrol the model typically uses. This will help provide an idea of running costs in the long term.

Here are some things to check when assessing fuel efficiency:

Consider the engine size

Larger engines tend to be less efficient than smaller ones, so if you’re looking for great value on petrol, opt for something with a small powertrain.

Check the ratings

Most cars have an official Litres per 100km rating from their manufacturer that can give potential buyers an indication of fuel economy.

Research average costs

With online sources like abs.gov.au provide insight into what other drivers spend on petrol per month or year. You can get more accurate estimates of your expected expenses before committing to a particular make and model.

You should also consider taking the car for a test drive. As this will give you further information about its fuel efficiency while you’re behind the wheel.

When visiting different car dealers, keep in mind that they may not always disclose all of the pertinent details relating to fuel consumption. So checking yourself is key! Ultimately, understanding how much money you can expect to spend at the pump is essential when buying used cars in Western Australia.

From here we move on to insurance requirements, which is yet another vital aspect of securing a safe ride.

10 Insurance Requirements

When it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, insurance requirements are an important factor to consider. Before you purchase your vehicle, make sure that you understand the credit score and insurance plan required for the state of Western Australia.

Third-Party Insurance

To be insured while driving on public roads, all vehicles must have third-party property damage cover. It’s also worth noting that car dealers don’t necessarily provide their customers with insurance when they buy a second-hand car. So if you’re purchasing from a dealer, make sure to get coverage elsewhere.

Other Premium Costings

Additionally, any number plate changes must also be taken into account as this could affect your policy costs and premiums.

Comprehensive Insurance Cover

Finally, remember that taking out comprehensive cover is always better than just having compulsory third-party cover alone. Not only will it help protect your investment but also give you peace of mind when behind the wheel.

With these points in mind, now let’s move on to looking at warranty information about used cars in Western Australia…

11 Warranty Information

When shopping for a used car, it’s important to consider warranty information. If you’re buying from a reputable dealer or car yard, they may offer some kind of limited warranty on the vehicle.

This can provide peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you won’t be stuck paying all the repair costs out-of-pocket.

Unfortunately, not all dealers and private sellers will offer warranties for their vehicles. So when purchasing a used car in Western Australia, make sure you ask about any guarantees associated with the purchase before signing anything.

You should also look into getting a loan or trade-in your current car for the new one. Many car dealers have financing options available that could help make affording a used car more manageable. Or, if you have an existing vehicle, trading it in against a newer model can reduce the overall cost significantly.

It’s always worth doing your research beforehand so you know what exactly is included and excluded. From any potential deal offered by either a private seller or dealership. That way there are no surprises down the line!

TIP: Make sure to read through all documentation regarding warranties and other services provided carefully to ensure everything meets your needs and expectations before committing to buy!

12 Roadworthy Certificate

Buying a used car is like stepping into an unknown territory full of surprises. You just never know what you’ll get. When it comes to buying one in Western Australia, there’s more than meets the eye.

To ensure that your purchase won’t be a lemon, here are some things you have to check:

First and foremost on this checklist is getting a roadworthy certificate. It’s like taking the car for a test drive before signing up for any paperwork.

If it fails, then it’s not worth purchasing. So, make sure that the seller can present a valid roadworthy certificate. Before anything else when buying a used car in Western Australia.

Here is what you should look out for in the certificate:

  1. The date of issue;
  2. Details of who issued the document;
  3. Listing of components inspected;
  4. Pass or fail results based on inspection.

With all this information at hand, you can now proceed with confidence knowing that all parts of the vehicle meet safety standards as stated by law. Moreover, double-check whether there are any manufacturer recalls related to this specific model since they may affect its overall value or performance significantly.

13 Manufacturer Recalls

It is estimated that approximately 90 recalls in Australia so far in 2022, affecting almost 290,000 vehicles. Highlighting the importance of researching manufacturer recalls when buying a used car in Western Australia.

This can be done by searching online for any previous recalls on your prospective vehicle. To ensure it’s in good condition and up to date with all relevant safety regulations.

Here are some key steps you should take:

  1. Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). You can do this at www.carsafetyrecalls.com/vinlookup – Simply enter your VIN number to see if there are any outstanding recalls from the manufacturer or dealer.
  2. Ask your local car dealership about any ongoing manufacturer recall campaigns as they may not necessarily appear online yet.
  3. Reach out directly to the manufacturer – Contact them via their website or call customer service to find out if there are any product recalls associated with the make and model of your chosen vehicle.
  4. Research into other owners’ experiences – Use review sites such as Google reviews, Yelp, CarGurus etc. So you can read first-hand accounts from people who own similar vehicles and ask questions. About whether they’ve experienced any issues or had any recalls issued against their vehicle before making your purchase decision.
  5. Look out for signs of past repairs – Check underneath the hood and around the exterior bodywork. For signs of work that could indicate that a repair has already been carried out due to an existing recall issue.

By taking these precautions before making a used car purchase in Western Australia. You will hopefully be able to avoid any potential problems down the line caused by previously undiscovered manufacturer recalls.

With this information now firmly under our belt, we can move on to looking further into roadside assistance options.

14 Roadside Assistance Options

Roadside Assistance

It’s a jungle out there and when it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, you want to make sure you have your bases covered. That’s why understanding the roadside assistance options available for your vehicle is essential.

Ask For Roadside Assistance Packages

When looking at potential cars, ask the sellers about roadside assistance packages. They may provide their vehicles or through third-party insurance companies.

Breakdown Cover

Also, keep an eye out for number plate displays that might indicate a breakdown cover. This could save you time and money if you end up needing any kind of help on the road.

Read The Roadside Assistant Details

Your best bet when choosing a car is to ensure that the provider can give you details about roadside assistance services. As well as information about how those services work in case something goes wrong.

What Does The Coverage Include?

This means finding out what type of coverage they offer. Such as whether it covers a mechanical repair and/or towing when breakdown. Getting clarity on who pays for these services should they be needed.

Research Other Competitors

Finally, take some time to do your research. So that you know which companies are offering good deals on roadside assistance before making your purchase decision. Peace of mind will go a long way!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Average Price Of A Used Car In Western Australia?

When it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, one of the most important questions is ‘what is the average price?’. It’s often assumed that prices are higher than in other parts of Australia due to WA being remote and having a smaller population. But is this actually true?

I decided to investigate further by looking at data from online automotive websites. As well as talking with people who were experienced in purchasing secondhand vehicles in WA.

After doing my research, I can say definitively that the average cost of a used car in Western Australia is:

Less than $10,000 for an entry-level vehicle (e.g. hatchback or sedan)

Up to $20,000 plus depending on make and model (e.g luxury SUV or sports car).

The cost also varies significantly according to the condition. If you’re after something brand new then expects to pay much more than the averages mentioned above.

However, even for mid-range models, there can be some great bargains available when shopping around. So always do your homework first!

In addition to considering the sticker price, there are other factors that will impact how much value you get out of your purchase.

Such as mileage and age of the vehicle. If possible take someone knowledgeable along with you when inspecting cars. So they can spot any potential issues before taking ownership.

You should also obtain appropriate documentation such as service history records and registration papers before committing yourself financially. Of course, don’t forget to test drive each prospective vehicle too!

Does The Car Come With Any Additional Features?

Considering a second-hand car? Before you dive in, it’s essential to check what features come with the car. Shopping for a used vehicle can be overwhelming. But by keeping an eye out for certain qualities and add-ons, you’ll find yourself driving away with confidence.

To start off your search, remember one of the most important things when buying a pre-loved car. Does it come with any extra goodies?

Do some research into which makes and models come with additional benefits such as roadworthy certification or extended warranties. Many dealerships will offer these services along with their cars. So make sure you ask!

You should also inquire about any extras that may have been included from its previous owner. Sometimes luxury items like satellite navigation or heated seats are thrown in at no cost.

When looking for bells and whistles, don’t forget technical aspects too. Has the car had regular maintenance checks since its last service? Are all parts up to date?

Also, consider safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes. If they’re not working correctly your insurance could be invalidated down the line.

So take your time perusing those pre-owned cars. Examining every inch inside and out, before signing on the dotted line.

That way you’ll get more bang for your buck and drive away satisfied knowing you’ve picked up a great deal.

How Long Has The Car Been Owned By The Current Owner?

Purchasing a used car can sometimes be challenging. One of the key questions to ask before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle is how long it’s been owned by its current owner.

Knowing this information can give you important insights into the condition and performance of the car.

In some cases, longer ownership may indicate that there have been no major issues or repairs needed during its time with the current owner. This a reassuring sign for potential buyers!

On the other hand, shorter periods of ownership could mean that something wasn’t quite right with the car. Which might need further investigation on your part.

Additionally, cars owned for a short period may not come with all the added features that are available after extended use.

Another reason why knowing how long an individual has had their car is important. Is because it tells you how much use they’ve given it. This will make it easier to gauge whether or not any wear and tear have taken place over time.

For instance, if you discover that a used car was previously owned for only six months. But driven roughly 15000km in that same timeframe then you’ll know to look out for signs of excessive wear and tear such as balding tires or cracked gaskets.

Overall, understanding how long a used car has been owned by its previous owners. Can provide valuable information about its overall quality and condition. Details should definitely be considered when making such an investment!

Are There Any Service Or Repair Packages Available?

Buying a used car can be an expensive experience, especially in Western Australia. One of the most important questions to ask is if there are any service or repair packages available.

It’s worth investigating these options before you commit to buying as they could save you money and hassle down the line.

Here are four things you should consider when checking out these packages:

1. What kind of services does the package include? Does it cover regular servicing, mechanical repairs, parts replacement or breakdown recovery? Knowing exactly what services are included will help you decide whether or not it’s worthwhile for your needs.

2. Who provides the service or repair package? Is it a local mechanic, dealer network or national chain? This information will determine how easy it is for you to access the services offered. You know where you go if something goes wrong with your car after purchase.

3. How much does the package cost? Are there any hidden fees involved that may increase the overall cost significantly over time? Be sure to get all costs upfront so you know exactly what financial commitments are required of you going forward.

4. How long do I have until my service/repair plan expires? Knowing this answer ahead of time allows you to budget accordingly. Ensuring that your vehicle stays properly serviced throughout its lifespan. Without fear of unexpected costs creeping up along the way.

Ultimately, taking some extra time to investigate service and repair plans can provide peace of mind. Knowing that your used car won’t break down unexpectedly due to lack of maintenance. Saving both time and money in the future!

How Many Kilometres Is The Car Expected To Last?

When it comes to buying a used car in Western Australia, one of the most important things to consider is how many kilometres the car is expected to last.

This can be an indicator of its quality and condition, as well as the potential for future repairs or maintenance. It’s essential that you know the estimated lifespan of your vehicle before you make a purchase.

The best way to find out this information is by asking the previous owner about their experience with the car. You should also ask them if they have any records of servicing or repair work done on the vehicle during their ownership. This will help you get an idea of what kind of mileage you can expect from it over time.

Another good source of information is online reviews and forums where people discuss different cars available in your area. Here, you’ll often find other drivers who have had experience with similar vehicles. Providing valuable insights into their longevity and reliability.

Finally, when researching a particular model or make, check out manufacturer data such as average fuel consumption or emissions ratings. These figures are usually based on research conducted using hundreds (or even thousands) of vehicles under real-world conditions.

So may give some indication of life expectancy for that specific model/make. Be sure to take all this into account before making your final decision!


The used car market in Western Australia is a great way to find your dream car at an affordable price. But there are some important things you should keep in mind when making this big purchase.

It’s essential that you take the time to do your research and understand what type of vehicle best suits your needs. How long it has been owned by its current owner, and are any additional features or service packages available with the sale

Make sure you understand the average price range of the model you want. Ask questions about who currently owns it, and explore any extras like warranties or service packages. Most importantly, check out how many kilometres it has left on it before signing off on the deal.

So if you’re thinking about a trade-in car or buying a used car in Western Australia, remember these tips. Get help from one of our friendly staff at Mad Man Motors in Wangara.

We have over +120 vehicles to choose from including Holden Commodores, Ford Falcon, Toyota Lancruisers, 4WDs, SUVs, 7-Seaters, and some European luxury cars.


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