Walking into a car yard on Parramatta Road, while some middle aged bloke in a leather jacket, and boot polish in his hair, tries to talk you into buying something you know is a complete lemon, is no ones ideal car buying experience. Being told “I’ve never seen one in as good a condition as this” is the default salesman line and whilst you can’t prove it, your gut is calling him out on that statement.
The reality is that car yards on various stretches of Sydney’s roads, with lofty tittles such as “Prestige Motors” and “A1 Cars” really should be called “Beats Walking” and “She’ll Be Right Motors” given the poor quality of the cars they are selling. The days of buying used cars from reputable used car yards are on the decline. With that comes our advice that buying used cars from private used car yards is something you should try and avoid.
Some insider knowledge here for as to why we advise avoiding these yards. The fundamental reason for avoiding these places is not the gimmicks, or the sleazy salesman but rather the quality of the car. Most cars at the private car yards have been purchased by the car yard at the wholesale price through auctions or other wholesale purchases. Vehicles that make it to the wholesaler have normally been knocked back by other car yards and mechanics in the know. These cars are snatched up at a very low price and put on the lot in a used car yard. Thus the car you’re looking at in a used car lot has been through various hands in the past few weeks. All of those hands are experienced ones, belonging to those who work within the industry and have deemed the car unsuitable. These cars are often mechanically unsound and are a high risk purchase.
The scenario looks like this, a client comes to a dealership with a car with a known problem. They trade that car in on a brand new vehicle from the dealer. The dealer sends the car to its workshop for someone to have a look over it and decide if its something they want to re-sell on their lot, or send directly to the wholesaler. At this stage the mechanic will discover the reason the car was traded in and he recommends it be sold to the wholesaler and cut the losses. The wholesaler buys it and the car goes to the auctions. At the auctions it is snatched up by a small second hand car yard and then is sold on, complete with the hidden problem, to an unsuspecting consumer.
This is not always the case as many government and fleet vehicles with absolutely no mechanical faults go to the auctions as well. But you get the point. The chances of buying a problem car from a second hand yard are far greater than buying privately. By the way, in many cases our greased up salesman does not even know the problem exists. For this reason we advise avoiding the used car yards.
Having said that, it’s important to note that used cars on dealership lots are far less likely to have issues. After the mechanic has gone over a traded in vehicle, if it is deemed to be mechanically sound, then the car may find itself back on the lot of the very dealer it was traded in at. If this happens the car is probably okay. At the very least it is unlikely to have any immediate problems the mechanics have missed.