Your Second Car doesn’t need to be Second Rate

June 2nd, 2020

Watch all the near empty trams, buses and train carriages rolling past and might you notice something equally odd. The stops and platforms aren’t crammed with people demanding to be let aboard but the roads are becoming clogged with cars.

With fear of infection top of mind for many commuters, the prospect of being up-close with a potential virus shedder is sending people straight from lock-down to the sanctity of their own car.

Many clients of Enthusiast Motor will already have multiple cars. However, there will be some who make do with one vehicle that does limited distance while relying on the bus or train for commuting. That may need to change.

Others who live close enough to everything might not have needed a vehicle at all. At least not until the ride-share driver keeps wiping his runny nose with an already saturated sleeve or the entire train carriage suffers a coughing fit.  Suddenly, owning a unit of individual transport will become very important.

Bearing in mind that no one wants to spend a lot on a first or extra a vehicle that likely will be needed for less than a year, the budget can be minimal and the vehicle treated as consumable. Something that is roadworthy and with a several months registration might well do the job; getting you to the declared end of the pandemic just as the rego expires when it can be packed off to the car auction. Or maybe the wrecker.

Auctions are a great place to find low-cost cars and they can be a source of bargains. Get there early, list several vehicles you like then get the auction staff to start them for you. If things are slow, they might even extract a car from its ‘slot’ and let you have a brief drive around the car park.

Take particular notice of the summary sheet attached to every vehicle. While showing the year, make, model and kilometres these also summarise any major faults detected.

Bidding duels when seeking basic transport need to be avoided. You want a decent car at the lowest possible cost, not to match egos with someone who wants the car more desperately than you do.  Wait when bidding opens to see how many people are competing for a vehicle before deciding to raise your hand.

Having a few possibilities on the list allows you to wait until other buyers have found something or just lost interest and left. Even if your offer doesn’t reach the vehicle’s Reserve price you still have a good chance, especially if you make it plain to the auction house that any increase in your offer will be minimal and you are happy to wait until next week when there may be even fewer bidders and the vendor is getting more desperate.

Buying from a dealer isn’t as cheap but certainly the way to go if you need a vehicle quickly. Dealers may well be buying stock from the same auction as you, but then must prepare the car, add in the cost of warranty (sometimes) and make a profit. However, sniffing around the trade-ins parked at the back of higher-end yards might bring some luck.

Getting in before the wholesalers and buying ‘as is where is’ means no warranty and perhaps no roadworthy or registration either. At least though you get clear title and won’t be saddled with someone else’s debt as can happen when purchasing privately.

‘Pig pen’ cars, as fresh trades are known, can be in quite decent shape, but check the car as best you can and never accept the dealer’s first ‘rock bottom’ price. Make sure the salesperson knows you have cash in your pocket before walking away and it won’t be long before a voice behind you asks; ‘So how much would you want to pay for it?’.

Buying privately and in a hurry can be a risk, especially when the price of the car doesn’t justify a full mechanical inspection. Make absolutely sure though that you get an Encumbered Vehicle clearance and the current registration papers. Unless you are paying minimal money and prepared for some repairs, private-sale cars should come with a current roadworthy certificate and at least some registration.

Enthusiast Motor bases insurance premiums on a range of factors including the annual distance a vehicle will travel. If your low-cost car isn’t going far each week then Enthusiast’s Drive Less…Spend Less cover should save you money.  To arrange immediate cover, visit the website www.enthusiast.com.au for a Quick Quote.

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