Tips for Buying a Used Car: Best Online Car Tools

J. Richards

May 11, 2022

 

Tips for buying a used car – or a new car – can really come in handy in the lead up to getting keys in pockets.

But there’s so much information out there that finding what you need to know can be a (slow) pain point in itself.

Not anymore. OnlineLoans takes a look at NINE awesome online tools that can save you money, time and stress.

Discover great tips for buying a used car with these online tools

Tips for buying a used car
WAIT, I need to sell my current car first

Check out Price My Car’s sell my car option.

How it works
Selling a current vehicle before (or around the same time) is a situation that most of us encounter. Provide your details and your car’s details and Price My Car will scour dealers / car traders in your area. You’ll also receive the market value of your vehicle so you can connect and trade it to the highest paying dealer, or closest one to you.

Benefits

  • Some dealers on the list can come to you and pick up the vehicle
  • No advertising online
  • No dealing with potential buyers coming to inspect your vehicle
  • No no-showers or low-ballers
How much will the car(s) I’m looking at cost to run?

Check out this car cost calculator.

How it works
If we’re talking tips on buying used cars, we have to begin with numbers and dollar signs. This car running cost calculator lets you add in various costs like registration, insurance and even fines (you can estimate) and spits out the costs per year, per km and of course, the total amount.

Benefits

  • Super simple to use
  • You don’t need to fill in all fields
  • Open multiple tabs to compare multiple vehicles
  • Run a few calculations to get the lower and upper ballpark costs
What if a used car has a bad history?

Check out a PPSR report.

How it works
Firstly, you’ll have to pay for this one – only $2, but it can save thousands of dollars. A PPSR (Personal Property Securities Register) report is a government issued report (typically a PDF) that lists a used car’s history. You’ll need the VIN/Chassis number from the seller to complete the search.

These documents are so important that car dealers and car finance companies require them on all used cars, although they usually organise PPSRs themselves.

Benefits

  • Find out if the vehicle has finance owing on it (the seller might have a debt against it and if you buy the vehicle, some funds need to go to the finance company)
  • Know if it has ever been reported as stolen
  • You can check if the car’s ever been reported as written off too. Some people buy written-off vehicles for a cheap price in order to repair and resell, this is legal depending on the previous damage and repair work carried out. For example, hail damage that’s been repaired is different from a major car crash or saltwater submersion
How about recalls? Did the previous owner get them done?

Check out vehicle recalls.

How it works
Did you know that a lot of cars get called back to have additional work done on them? It’s called a recall and is typically free – paid by the manufacturer. Basically, it means a component has been found to be faulty or otherwise not working properly, despite the rigorous tests that cars go through.

Benefits

  • Ensure the car you’re looking at has had required work completed
  • If it hasn’t, find out what needs to be done and why
  • Find out the problem, is it an annoying smell at certain speeds or something more serious?
  • Plan a recall in the near future if you buy the vehicle
I took it for a test drive, but there were funny noises

Check out these common noises and their likely causes.

How it works
Good tips for buying a used car also need to determine if you’re buying a lemon. If a car is making a funny or weird noise, it can be serious but tough to diagnose, especially if you’re only driving it for a short period of time – like on a test drive. This car noise diagnosis tool describes noises clearly and provides a likely cause and recommends what action to take.

You’ll have to remember the noise and, soon after the test drive, check the likely cause.

Benefits

  • Avoid buying a lemon
  • Find out if it could be a simple fix or something more serious
  • Use any weird noises to (possibly) knock the price down when negotiating
I’ve bought the car, now I need tyres and wiper blades, but what size are they?

Check out this tyre size calculator.

How it works
Just enter the year / make / model of your car and get the factory sizes for your vehicle.

Benefits

  • Find out recommended tyre sizes that might also be compatible with your car
  • Check sizes of any tyre upgrades you might be considering
  • Look at different types of tyres like all terrain, winter and summer
  • Browse rim designs / brands that you might be considering upgrading to
Wipers

Check out these wiper sizes.

How it works
Just enter your plate number and state and Supercheap will do the rest.

Benefits

  • Displays different brands available
  • Can show store locations
  • You can compare prices and brands
So how much will fuel cost me?

Check out this petrol cost calculator.

How it works
This calculator is great for figuring out how much you’ll need to budget for petrol, no matter how far you’re driving. Simply enter how far you plan to drive (check Google maps if you’re not sure), enter the rough petrol (or diesel) price and your car’s rough fuel use per 100km.

Most new cars display the fuel use in litres per 100km, but if yours doesn’t, you can easily find it online.

Of course, how you actually drive affects the cost too.

Benefits 

  • Budget before you travel or buy a car
  • Compare fuel costs in different models
  • Calculate your fuel costs per year or trip
Where is the cheapest fuel?

Check out petrol spy.

How it works
Simply scroll the map in your area to see the cheapest fuel locations. This tool has become super popular over the last few years and is loaded with data.

Benefits

  • Know where the cheapest petrol is
  • Avoid driving around looking for a “better price”
  • Search all areas in Australia
  • Look at diesel, regular unleaded, premium, even LPG
Tips for buying a used car at the end of the day

Using even a few of the tools and tips above can save huge amounts of money and headaches the next time you’re thinking about getting into your next vehicle.

It can be really tough going it alone, no help and no support – something that leaves many car buyers with concerns.

Luckily, OnlineLoans offers the support of a fully functioning and experienced team on shore, here in Australia so we know exactly what works.

Start with a quick quote to get the ball rolling and know that an experienced team is backing you each step of the way to your new car.

Sign Up to the OnlineLoans Newsletter

Get offers, contests and promos delivered straight to you inbox