Buying a car, whether new or used, is a major decision. Not only do you need to decide whether the vehicle is the right choice for you and your family, but you also need to consider your budget. If you’re thinking of buying a used car, it’s a great way to save money. You can take advantage of the depreciation that cars suffer once they leave the showroom However, there are some signs you should look out for that may indicate the car isn’t a good deal.

Here are some of the signs to look out for when it may be a good time time to walk away from a deal.

Missing or Incomplete Paperwork

One of the most obvious signs that you might need to walk away from a deal is if the paperwork is either incomplete or missing entirely. The paperwork is what makes the sale legal and legitimate. Without it, you have no idea what you’re actually buying and if you’re even buying legally. You don’t want to be in a situation where paperwork is missing and the sale ends up being illegal.

The paperwork will also have repair history, owner, service and the financial history of the vehicle. This will include if the car has been written off or if there are any liens on the car. If there are any reasons why the car should not be registered or licensed, it would be on the paperwork – if the paperwork is missing, it may be a sign that the car should not be registered in the first place. Doing a PPSR check for a small fee can tell you whether a car has been stolen, has finance owing on it or is an Economic Repairable Write-off.

Unlicensed Dealer

An unlicensed dealer is a major red flag that you should not purchase the vehicle. If the seller is stating that they’re a licensed dealer, don’t be afraid to ask for proof if you feel like they may be dishonest. If there is any hesitation in producing proof, walk away from the sale. You can easily find an honest dealer that’s willing to give you a deal without having to lie about their credentials.


Inspect the car thoroughly to make sure there are no inconsistencies. Check paint, panels, and undercoatings. You should be able to spot mismatched panels fairly easily, but paint can be more difficult if the paint job is good enough. While a fresh coat of paint isn’t always a bad thing, some dishonest sellers use new paint and undercoatings as ways to hide damage or flaws in the car.


Always take the car for a test drive to make sure it drives smoothly and is free of sounds that indicate mechanical issues. If there is any grinding, rattling, or squeaking when you start the car or when you drive it, that means there are more than likely serious mechanical issues.

Masked Interior Smells

If you get in the car and notice the seller put a little too much effort into making the car smell good, it could indicate odour damage to the car. Smoking and water leaks can cause serious smells that can be difficult to get out. Too many air fresheners or sprays should be a sign that something isn’t right.

My Next Car Buying Advocacy

Navigating the world of purchasing a used car can be tricky if you’re not careful. The team at My Next Car Buying Advocacy is here to help. We know all the tips and tricks to make your next purchase stress-free and seamless.. We are here to be your advocate during the buying process, ensuring you get a fair deal for your next car. We can help you work out what is the right car for you and simplify the buying process.

For more information on what we can do for you and your next car purchase, contact the team at My Next Car Buying Advocacy today.

Leave a comment

    Contact us for a quote »

    We use cookies to help us improve, promote and protect our services. By continuing to use the site, you agree to our privacy policy