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Buyer's Tips

Why you should buy a used car


When shopping for your next car, you may discover that buying used can be cheaper than buying new. But if you find the right used car, the savings can go further than your initial purchase. Follow our used car buying tips and you'll gain the confidence to find the best used car for your needs.


What to consider when you buy used

While searching for your next car, remember that a cheaper car may have more hidden costs down the line. Consider these points before you buy.

Age and distance

Aim for the newest and least travelled vehicle you can afford. This not only ensures many years of happy motoring, but a vehicle with less kilometres is less likely to have issues in the short term. Every vehicle, new and old, has parts that will eventually need replacing, but a newer vehicle gives you more time on the road before major reconditioning and replacements are needed.


Vehicle safety features and technology continue to improve significantly every year. A 10-year-old car will be missing many features we now take for granted. Search to see if there is an ANCAP rating for the car you're considering to get a rundown of its features and an overall safety score.

Cost of ownership

When thinking about used car running costs you'll probably consider fuel usage (generally the bigger the engine, the more fuel it will use). But it's also worth researching known faults and common repairs. Consider the fact that rare and exotic vehicles may need more expensive parts and labour to repair. And don't forget the tyres, as they're not all created equal, and some can be costly to replace.

Who to buy from?

In Australia, buyers have a few options when buying a used car. You may be wondering the differences between buying from a dealership vs private. Let's compare the two as well as buying from a car auction.

Car auctions

This may be your best chance at finding a bargain on a used car, but beware, there's also a huge risk that you may pay too much for a faulty car. Go in with a plan. Decide on the model you're looking for and research its potential issues. Always check the logbook, you won't be able to take a test drive so this is the best way to see what shape it's in. Finally, bid with your head, an auction isn't the place for passion. If you'd rather take your time and have all the information you need to make your decision, then buying from a car dealership may suit you better.

Private sellers

Many people buy privately, and you'll find plenty of options online, but again, there are associated risks. Unlike buying from a dealership, there are no cooling off periods or warranties when you buy from a private seller. Ask the vendor if you can get the car checked over by a mechanic (they will charge a fee for the inspection) and if they refuse they may be hiding something.

Car dealership

Buying from a dealership may be the safest option and in the long run it can save you a lot of money. Dealers may offer/can allow test drives and inspections, as well as a cooling off period, which enables you to change your mind between signing your contract and delivery of your vehicle. Purchasing a Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle from a Toyota dealership is the best way to buy with peace of mind.


Inspecting, checking and test driving

Before buying a used car, it pays to do all the necessary background checks like ensuring the logbook is up to date. It also helps to properly inspect the vehicle and of course take a test drive to check if the vehicle is performing well. To find out exactly what you should be looking for, read our quick and easy used car inspection and test drive guide.


A Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle means peace of mind

You may have heard the term but wondered 'What is a certified pre-owned car'? A Certified Pre-Owned Toyota is the best way to buy a used car. It eliminates many of the risks in buying a used car and includes many of the great services and assurances you expect from a new Toyota.

Every Certified Pre-Owned Toyota comes with:

  • Full service history
  • An independent CarHistory® background check
  • 1-year additional Toyota-backed Warranty
  • 90 point inspection by Toyota technicians
  • 1 year free Toyota Roadside Assist*
  • Get Guaranteed Future Value^ with a Toyota Access car loan


Buyer's Checklist

Once you're ready to buy, use this handy checklist to make sure you've covered all the bases, including insurance and finance, and you're clear about what happens next.

Paying for your new car

The one thing you're definitely going to need to buy your car is money.

Whether you're paying from your savings or borrowing money through a financial institution or through your dealer, once the deal is done you'll need to be able to move quickly.

Type of payment accepted

Before you arrange to sign the contract, check with the car dealer or car owner about your payment options, and when they expect to receive the full amount. Personal cheques are not as common these days, and not everyone will be comfortable accepting one for such a big purchase, anyway. So be prepared to arrange a bank transfer or money order.

If you're buying a new car you will most likely need to pay a deposit with full payment finalised once the car is delivered.

If you're borrowing money

Taking out a loan can be a great way to get the car of your dreams sooner. But you need to make sure you can manage repayments and any unexpected costs. This is particularly the case if your car is second hand and not covered by a warranty.

If you're confident that a loan is the option best suited to your situation, you can save money educating yourself and gathering information on finance. Many websites are available to help you understand different types of loans and finance calculators. If you would like to find out more about different finance options available to you, your local dealership could also be a useful source of information.


You'll need to factor the cost of insurance into your budget. Most new car owners will take on a comprehensive policy to protect their investment, while third-party property insurance may suit people with used cars of lesser value.

Either way, you'll still require Compulsory Third Party (CTP) personal injury insurance before you can register a vehicle. In some states, this cover is provided as part of your registration, while in others you will need to choose your insurer or organise this yourself.

A large number of reputable dealers are well versed with vehicle insurance options and have established relationships with major insurance providers that you can leverage when you purchase a vehicle.

Is your research watertight?

When it comes to important purchases such as a car, the more you know the better. Take the time to research car websites, talk to dealers or other car experts and read independent car reviews on the web or in newspapers or specialist auto magazines. You could also check whether the accessories you want are available with the car you are most interested in.

There's a huge amount of information that's easily available. Buying a new car knowing you've got the best one for your situation and budget will give you real peace of mind.

Mechanical checks for used cars

Brand new cars go through a series of comprehensive checks and balances before the new owner is handed the keys.

But if you're buying second hand, it's not as easy to know whether the vehicle is safe and road-worthy. It may also have had major bodywork to cover up an accident.

When buying a used car, one of the smartest investments you can make is to get the vehicle checked by a professional car expert.

Buying a second hand car from a reputable franchised dealer will help ensure the vehicle has been comprehensively checked. Most dealers undertake a 100 point mechanical and safety check.

If you do find yourself buying second hand on the open market, it will pay to have an independent safety and road-worthy inspection.


* Terms and Conditions apply. Toyota Roadside Assist is administered by Toyota Finance, a division of Toyota Finance Australia Limited ABN 48 002 435 181, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 392536

^ The Guaranteed Future Value (GFV) is the minimum value of your Toyota at the end of your finance contract, as determined by Toyota Finance. If you decide to return your car to Toyota Finance at the end of your term, Toyota Finance will pay you the agreed GFV, which will be put against your final payment subject to fair wear and tear conditions and agreed kilometres being met. The information provided is general in nature. You should seek your own financial advice to determine whether Toyota Access is appropriate for your individual circumstances. Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply. Toyota Access GFV products are available to approved customers of Toyota Finance, a division of Toyota Finance Australia Limited ABN 48 002 435 181, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 392536.

# Applicable to pre-owned vehicles purchased as a Toyota Certified Pre-Owned (TCPO) vehicle on or after 01/01/2022. TCPO 2022 Warranty expires 1yr after sale, or 1 yr after the current New Vehicle Warranty expires (if applicable), or 10 years from date of registration in original owner's name, or at 160,000kms (whichever occurs first). TCPO Warranty does not apply to vehicles used for commercial purpose (eg taxis or rideshare). See for T&Cs. This warranty does not limit and may not necessarily exceed your rights under the Australian Consumer Law.