Tips to avoid buyer’s remorse on a second-hand car purchase

by Petrol Mum

Aussies’ love affair with second-hand cars has had a huge resurgence following the pandemic, but many still find the inspection process nerve-wracking and confusing.

New research from mycar Tyre & Auto reveals nearly two thirds (64%) of Australians are planning on buying a car in the next two years, and due to the financial constraints of the past year, over half (53%) are turning to second-hand options.

When it comes to the purchasing process, Australians are feeling more overwhelmed than ever, with 83% of second-hand car buyers concerned the car will have a mechanical fault. The top feelings being described by Australians when inspecting a second-hand car are inexperienced (38%), anxious (33%) and stressed (20%).

Second-hand car buying is still an intimidating proposition for women with 69% of women asking a friend to join them at an inspection, compared to 49% of men. More women also felt inexperienced when buying a second-hand car, with 44% feeling this way compared to 32% of men.

More women than men (37% compared to 26%) felt they lacked mechanical knowledge and agreed they do not know anything about cars (41% compared to 21% of men). This could be attributed to young girls and women being steered away from gaining knowledge about cars because traditionally it has been seen as the domain of men.

Of course, a quick search of social media will debunk this theory with many women professing a love for their cars and motorbikes and generally being fed-up with the male-dominated nature of the automotive sector. This is the reason why Driven Women Magazine was founded and we champion girls and women who are changing the face of the sector for the better.

The anxiety of purchasing a second-hand car stems from an overall lack of knowledge of what to look for when inspecting a second-hand car. As a nation of mostly digital natives, 77% of Australians admit to scouring the web for advice when purchasing pre-loved vehicles, however 23% are still worried they might miss something that might prove a problem.

Outside of a test drive, most people don’t check essential vehicle functions when inspecting and purchasing their second-hand vehicle, including 34% who didn’t test the radio, 29% who didn’t check the oil, and another 29% who didn’t even check the child safety features.

Based on past purchasing blunders, the top things Australians are committing to check for in the future include:

  • Functioning air conditioning (73%)
  • Windows that go up and down (69%)
  • Functioning headlights (68%)
  • The boot being a good size (66%)
  • Functioning windscreen wipers (63%)
  • A good smell that is free of cigarettes/smoke (58%)

To help with avoiding buyer’s remorse a new simple step-by-step inspection guide has been released, instructing Aussies on what to look for, feel for, listen out for and even what certain smells could indicate when buying second-hand.

The ‘mycar Sense Check’ inspection guide is available to access via the mycar website and summarises the details most buyers miss, to equip consumers with the basic mechanical knowledge they need to feel confident when buying second-hand.

The easy-to-follow inspection guide includes tips on what to do when you:

  • Organise the inspection
  • Inspect the outside
  • Jump in the driver’s seat
  • Pop the bonnet
  • Start the engine
  • Go for a test drive

Managing Director of mycar, Adam Pay said, “second-hand car can be a very daunting task for many Australians. At mycar, we’re here to alleviate some of this anxiety by giving buyers confidence throughout the purchasing process, and guiding them through what to check for.”

With 265+ locations across Australia and over 1,300 employees, mycar is one of Australia’s largest names in the automotive industry. mycar provides a full range of automotive services including scheduled servicing, tyres, brakes, suspension, batteries and general mechanical repairs.

Photographs supplied.

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