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Running the used car gauntlet

By samsez - 16 January 2010 33

Buying a new car was a near vomit-inducing experience a few years ago due to the smarmy salesmen. 

We’re now wanting to get a small, reliable, inexpensive second car and the idea of dealing with used car salespersons is making my stomach turn. 

Any recommendations on car yards in Canberra worth visiting – and avoiding?

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Running the used car gauntlet
Feathergirl 10:07 am 17 Jan 10

I second buying a car at Pickles Auctions. You can look at the cars on the web before the auction, then check them out in their huge indoor lot with no sales pressure from guys breathing down your neck. I love my little ex-govie Laser I bought it at Pickles in 2002 and it’s never missed a beat.

deejay 9:02 am 17 Jan 10

Toby Field (House Of Cars) at Phillip did the right thing by me. I know, I was shocked too. 😉

Also, don’t bother with an inspection from the NRMA or an inspection company. They’re too busy covering their butts to be useful. Take it to a self-employed mechanic (not a litigation-averse chain) and ask him (or her) to tell you verbally what he *really* thinks.

And watch out for warranties. If they offer you one from a third party insurer, ask for proof that they really paid the premium. When my car died, the insurer had never heard of me and the dealer claimed they’d paid it. I was $7K out of pocket.

misshelly 7:13 pm 16 Jan 10

I would research your “small, reliable, inexpensive” cars online first before you do anything. Put your budget into carsales and see what catches your eye then read as many reviews as you can on that model.

At least then you can deal with the smarmy salesmen armed with a bit of knowledge and an idea what you’re looking for!

I would personally buy privately but there’s no harm in a car yard if it has the model you’re after and the price is competitive. Just get a proper mechanical check whichever way you go!

jellyroh 6:46 pm 16 Jan 10

Went through this last year myself. Braddon Auto Mart is where I bought mine (the guys who are on the roundabout in braddon – as mentioned in the post above though there are about three or four in that same area). The Auto Mart guys sell at around the 10k point as a starter and their cars are reasonably new (most have done about 60000k or thereabouts). I found their prices and quality of car to be the best after suffering through Fyshwick (poor selections most of the time) and making the serious mistake of actually venturing out to woden to look at their dealerships (seriously bad selections and very poor pricing). Belconnen’s second hand dealers are decent selection wise but you should expect to pay a bit more round their way (good cars just closer to 15k – you’ll also find the trade-ins at dealers to be fairly decent though totally, radically overpriced in my experience). As noted, after all that I came back to Braddon (I suggest you leave them to last too if only because by the time you get there they’ll probably make you a direct offer on a sale the minute you walk onto the lot – such as it happened to me). Usual used car salesman jargon will be exchanged (I was told the car was locally owned, not true at all) but at the end of the day it was a sound vehicle whose previous owner had taken reasonable care of it (and is only 4 years old). Dealers reveal themselves by the quality of cars they allow on their lot and in that sense the Braddon Auto Mart and Belconnen fellas seem to be at least setting a ‘standard’ whereas some others would try to sell you a vehicle that is frightening just to look at (see Fyshwick for what I mean). Best of luck!

gadget 6:19 pm 16 Jan 10

definately go private!

and if you are interested, I am selling a very reliable small car, which I love, and only selling due to needing a larger family car…

georgesgenitals 2:40 pm 16 Jan 10

Oh, and never, ever, under any circumstances, buy an older european car. It’s asking for trouble.

georgesgenitals 2:39 pm 16 Jan 10

Buy privately – the majority of used car sales yards are shonks. Stick with mainstream models, preferably Japanese if you want a small car. It’s a good idea to set your budget, but try to spend $1000 less than your maximum, so you have some spare cash to ensure your new vehicle is completely up to date on servicing, tyres and insurance. Always look for a good service history, and get the vehicle checked. Don’t be afraid to refuse to leave a deposit until after the inspection. If you miss out on a car, there’s plenty more.

Given the cost of new cars (can be had for $12-13k driveaway), consider whether this will be a better option, given the inclusion of warranty, and that it will be brand new.

el 1:46 pm 16 Jan 10

Any recommendations on car yards in Canberra worth visiting


– and avoiding?

All of them.

Basically what Damian Haas said – don’t put too much weight in an NRMA ‘inspection’ though.

realityskin 1:12 pm 16 Jan 10

Mate owns it, they sell a ton, top blokes.

Holden Caulfield 12:54 pm 16 Jan 10

An idea of your proposed budget will help, too.

TAD 11:12 am 16 Jan 10

I bought my last couple of used cars at the Canberra Car Fair and have been happy both times. Of course the ex govt auctions are best if you want to spend about $20k for a second hand commodore, falcon or camry.

damien haas 10:47 am 16 Jan 10

Buy privately.

Identify which type of car you need. What model, what year, what options.

Look in classified ads and online to estimate how much you should pay for this model. Taking into account condition, kms travelled etc.

Always ask to have the car checked before purchase. Use a mechanic you trust. Expect to pay $100 for this service. The NRMA may offer this service, i know the RACV do. You may need to leave your licence or a deposit.

If you decide to buy, use REVS and make sure the car is unencumbered.

Pay cash, haggle.

If the seller wont meet your maximum, walk away. There are plenty of cars in the world.

Weaselburger 10:22 am 16 Jan 10

there’s a half decent caryard in braddon where i got my commodore, Can’t remember the street name but it’s just near the big roundabout up from repco with streamers all around the place

matt31221 10:17 am 16 Jan 10

Just remember that cooling off period! And don’t sign the cooling off period waiver slip (they sneak it in there hoping you won’t notice when doing the paperwork)! I think the period is three clear days??

Tooks 9:39 am 16 Jan 10

Unless you’re trading in a car, you’re probably better off going private. If you don’t know much about cars, get someone like the NRMA to do an inspection.

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