Before you buy

  1. Figure out how much you’ll need

    After researching what car you want, trying to find one within your budget can be tough. You’ll want a bargain, but you don’t want to sacrifice safety or be hit by long term costs for short term gain. If you don’t have quite enough saved, our paying for, and insuring a car page will help you understand all things loan related.
  2. Get a PPSR check

    Before you hand over your hard earned cash, make sure you get a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) car history check. This will reveal if your vehicle is debt-free and safe from repossession.
  3. Take the car for a test drive

    Make sure you take the car for a decent test drive over a range of different road conditions and speeds to ensure it drives and feels right. Before test driving any car, know who is liable if any accident or incident were to occur during the test drive. If you have to take financial responsibility you will need to decide if you're prepared to accept the risk. If a private seller refuses to let you test drive a car, walk away. There are plenty of cars on the market and it simply isn’t worth the risk.
  4. Bring someone along who knows a bit about cars

    If you don’t trust your own knowledge, bring along someone who knows what they’re doing. You could also get a vehicle inspection from RACQ that will provide a comprehensive report on the condition of the car, as well as any repairs that may be required in the near future.
  5. Check the service history

    If you can find a car that has a complete service history with it, then you’ll have a better idea what it's been through and what work has been done. But regardless of the service history getting a full vehicle inspection before purchasing will help identify any underlying issues or big expenses that might be just around the corner.
  6. Are there any illegal modifications?

    It can be extremely difficult to identify illegal modifications so the best bet is to ensure you have a Vehicle Inspection done on any vehicle you are keen to buy. You could be fined if your car has illegal modifications, the car could be impounded, and it could affect your ability to insure the car.
  7. Get insured

    Before you drive away in your new set of wheels, make sure you’re insured. Many insurance companies will provide you with a cover note which gives you a short term policy so you are covered as you drive home. It also allows you to shop around for your preferred insurance cover. For more information, check out our paying for, and insuring a car page.
  8. Do your paperwork

    If you are buying privately, you'll need to submit the following documents to the Department of Transport and Main Roads within 14 days of purchase:

    • Vehicle Transfer Form
    • Safety Certificate
    • Vehicle registration duty and transfer fee (determined by your car’s fuel type and number of cylinders)
    • If you buy from a dealer, they will lodge the documents with DTMR

Avoiding a lemon

Just because a car looks good, doesn’t mean it’s in good mechanical order. It might look good from the outside, but that doesn’t mean everything is working properly. In Queensland, Safety Certificates are required by law to transfer a vehicle's registration. But make sure you know the difference between a Safety Certificate Inspection and an RACQ Vehicle Inspection.

Safety Certificate Inspections
A Safety Certificate Inspection is a basic safety check. It doesn’t identify every potentially serious and costly fault. So a used car can have a valid Safety Certificate, but still need major repairs.

RACQ Vehicle Inspections
An RACQ Vehicle Inspection is more like a car health check. It checks for the current condition of the car and identifies major problems. For information or to book go to RACQ Vehicle Inspections, or call the team on 13 1905.

When you join Free2Go you'll get access to amazing discounts, benefits and member only competitions for free!

Join Free2Go

Banking and loan products issued by Members Banking Group Limited ABN 83 087 651 054 AFSL/Australian credit licence 241195 trading as RACQ Bank. Terms, conditions, fees, charges and lending policies apply. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Financial Services Guide and the Terms and Conditions, before deciding.
Insurance products issued by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152. Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Read the PDS before making a purchase decision. Ask us for a copy.