Buying and Selling

Don’t get stuck with a lemon! Do your homework on used cars

With the cost of living soaring, this is the perfect time to save money where you can. Many of us are already cutting our household costs, spending less on groceries, takeaways and fuel.

When it comes to buying a car, money-savvy drivers know that a used car can be a great choice. A second-hand car could save you a lot of cash up front, and it won’t depreciate in value as much as a new car in the first few years of ownership.

However, there is one area where you have to spend more on a used car than a new car: pre-purchase inspections. You might even be tempted to skip these checks and just take a chance, but that cost-saving decision could end up being far more expensive in the long run.

Saving on pre-purchase checks could be a false economy

Driver looking under bonnet lemon

It’s vital to do your research up front before you buy a second-hand vehicle. First, you need the right make and model of car to suit your needs, which means thinking carefully about how you use your vehicle and what the ongoing running costs will be. Second, you need to ensure that the individual vehicle doesn’t have any issues that you don’t know about until after you’ve driven it off the lot.

The right used car could be a brilliant buy – affordable, cost-effective to run, and cheap to maintain. The wrong car could be a money pit, setting you back financially as it keeps having recurring problems and ultimately needs replacing. In the worst case scenario, you could be caught out by a car with an inaccurate odometer, which has happened several times in recent years.

As anyone who has ever bought a lemon will tell you, they’re expensive. They break down, repair costs are high, you’re constantly worried about your car’s reliability, and eventually you have to cut your losses and buy another car.

AA Pre-Purchase Inspections help you do your homework

dont buy a lemon1

AA Motoring Services General Manager Jonathan Sergel says, “In recent months we have seen the impacts of the pandemic push up the prices of used cars, and we are more mindful of the rise in running costs – such as fuel, and the recent introduction of the Government’s Clean Car rebates.

“We always encourage our Members to first look for an AA Preferred Dealer. Our series of checks on used cars gives drivers peace of mind that the used car they’re interested in buying isn’t hiding any secrets.

“We also recommend that anyone looking to buy a used car gets an AA Pre Purchase Inspection. At only $184 for AA Members, or $209 for non-Members, this is a comprehensive 100-plus point check, which provides you with an overview of recommended repairs and any potential WoF issues. Because our technicians are independent, we aren’t trying to persuade you to buy the car.

“We have more than 30 sites across New Zealand – including mobile inspectors in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. Our team inspects and tests more than 100,000 vehicles every year, and we’ve been taking care of motorists in New Zealand for over 25 years. You can rely on us to give you peace of mind before you fork out your hard-earned cash on a second-hand car.”

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a used car:

Vehicle experts you can trust

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