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Thread: Hints and Tips for purchasing a used vehicle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Perth, WA
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    Default Hints and Tips for purchasing a used vehicle

    To buy new or used...

    Purchasing a vehicle can make one very nervous knowing the financial burden of a depreciating asset, more so when the vehicle is used and you're unaware of the history and afraid of buying an expensive lemon. A nightmare if the car is already yellow!

    I'm not an expert in cars nor vehicle sales for that matter, but below is some information personal information that may prove useful if yourself/friend/family are considering purchasing a used vehicle. Apart from the initial plummet in value that scares most people from purchasing a new vehicle, the guarantee is there on the history and working order of the vehicle. All new vehicles come with a warranty and that is put in place to comfort the buyer and hence the promised guarantee. More often than not one can not afford brand spanking showroom new and there are plenty of good buys for used vehicles out there.

    They way I've always seen it kilometers don't mean for much other than a record for how far the vehicle has travelled, and estimate to what the motor has gone through to deliver that vehicle to all the destinations. It comes down to the owner(s) and how the vehicle has been looked after. There is no reason a 100,000kms looked after car can't be better than a new company car that's thrashed around. However there are typical problems/maintenance issues to look for in a vehicle. Below is a more detailed description FYI. The articles main focus is toward MPS vehicles, but the idea goes across the board

    - - - - - - - -

    If possible - meet the owner...not the girlfriend, not the wife, the owner. You can tell a lot by a person. More often than not you can read them like a book. For eg I bought my car from a middle aged retired parametric. He seemed nice and calm and down to earth to talk to. If the owner is of odd character, heavy smoker, beer in both hands, rough as nuts, every second word is f*** and can't string a common sentence together, chances are he probably does not give a rats about his car and hasn't looked after it very well! No offence to anyone but that's just my personal observation

    Visual Inpection This includes the general appearance of the vehicle in question. How's the paintwork? Are there front, rear, or side scratches. (This includes under the car and evidence to how fast they take speed bumps) also look for missing paint on the edges of the door. It suggests the open their door and hit things. Also look for over spray or freshly sprayed areas - this signifies some sort of repair on the vehicle. A visual inspection can also include belts, pulleys, oil, air filter, wiring (dodgy after market wiring) scratches indicating removal of parts. A common thing is stock cars come with a line of paint marked on the bolts as a quality assurance from the manufacturer. If there is no paint on common bolts (engine mount etc) the car has had some work done on it. Clean engine? Interior wear and tear? Coolant leaks? Rubber boots on the drive shaft broken? Grease/oil spray around the engine and underneath the vehicle? Check the tyre wear, have they done burnouts? Is the outside out the tyres worn suggesting fast driving and intense cornering?

    Working order Do the wipers work? Squirters? The A/C work and the compressor is fine, getting cold air? The lighting including headlights, parks, tail lights, interior lights. The speakers have not been hammered and blown? Turn the volume up too. To a lesser extent check all the mirrors are ok. My drivers vanity mirror had been smashed somehow.

    Engine and performance Initially start the engine, listen to it idling, feel free to question the seller at this point about mechanical work done, maintenance and anything you feel necessary. Does it idle rough? Can you hear excessive noise from the valves/tappers. Go to the exhaust, listen is it misfiring? It will seem to backfire a little on cold start that is normal. Give the accelerator a hit in neutral (if the seller does not mind) about 4-5,000RPM is fine. If white OR blue smoke comes out I would be very concerned. If black smoke comes out the exhaust that's actually a good sign. 1 - its normal and 2 they probably haven't given a good thrash in ages cause its all built up in the exhaust!

    Take it for a drive After checking it over and you're happy, take the vehicle for a drive. See if the vehicle runs smoothly through the gears. If the seller permits, but your foot down (about 4-4,500 RPM) does it pull well? No noises under acceleration? Turn left to right and left to right, clicking noises? Suspension problems? Take a few driveways and/or speed bumps? Noises? Also, and this depends on how many kilometres (generally) How's the clutch? I usually change gears quickly and see if it bites under quick throttle. Another way is park the car, lift the hand brake and in 3rd gear release the clutch slowly. If the engine starts revving the clutch is slipping and not holding. If the car wants to go (pulling) or even stalls the clutch is engaging and thus, holding. Brakes (including handbrake) speed up and bit and plant the brakes a bit (not need to freak the seller out in the passenger seat and activate ABS!)

    "Redbook" - Car Prices - Search Car Prices & Values Online - Red Book the value of the vehicle and see if its reasonable

    Keep in mind it can never hurt getting a mechanic out to have a look if you want. Log books are great but not essential. Some people do actually know how to service a car. Paying a mazda dealer half a grand do stuff up your car just for a stamp in a book that suggests its been looked after is the way I see it. Some mechanics actually screw up your car or don't actually check things, rather just tick all the boxes.

    Some of the common things to look for in more specifically in the 3 and 6 MPS are containted in the threads below. Happy shopping, and enjoy your purchase!

    Mazda 3 MPS

    mazda-3-mps-gen-i-problems-you-have-had-warranty-fixes

    mazda-3-mps-gen-ii-problems-you-have-had-warranty-fixes

    Mazda 6 MPS

    mazda-6-mps-problems-you-have-had-warranty-fixes

    smoking-turbo-seals

    With great power comes great fuel consumption...
    M P S
    - 6 - RR | Cobb AP | CAI | TIP | ATP GTX28R | 3.25" TMIC | SS DP | REM | 3" Zorst | SSP Anchors & Countershift | DBA Rotors | K/Springs | Upper & Lower Bracing | Alpine Type S 12" sub MRP-M500 Amp
    | Grille | STi Lip | Shark Fin | 6000K HID | Fog Light Tint | Twin DEFI gauges | Custom Decals & Badges | LED lighting | CF Mirrors & Pillars | Black rims Red callipers

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the tips rogwick, i just joined up to OzMPS and will be looking to get an 07 MPS6 in the future (when i can afford it :P)

    one question though, based on the fact that the MPS is no longer made, will this be an issue going forward regarding parts?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    No worries mate. The idea of this thread is to help new (and existing members) with any problems/issues/advice they might need answers to or help with as there are typical frequent questions asked about the MPS.

    I don't think you'll have an issue mate. The MPS isn't that old and the Mazda 6 is still going strong, both past and future so parts will be available for some time.

    Depending on what the part you might need is you may want to consider after market anyway.

    Oh....and Welcome to ozMPSclub!

    With great power comes great fuel consumption...
    M P S
    - 6 - RR | Cobb AP | CAI | TIP | ATP GTX28R | 3.25" TMIC | SS DP | REM | 3" Zorst | SSP Anchors & Countershift | DBA Rotors | K/Springs | Upper & Lower Bracing | Alpine Type S 12" sub MRP-M500 Amp
    | Grille | STi Lip | Shark Fin | 6000K HID | Fog Light Tint | Twin DEFI gauges | Custom Decals & Badges | LED lighting | CF Mirrors & Pillars | Black rims Red callipers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Bentleigh, Victoria
    Posts
    7

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    I'm in exactly the same position, looking for an 6mps (06-07) later this year, once funding is sorted.

    Driving an 06 luxury hatch ATM and love it but want some more bang... Great read thank you for puttin this thread up... Will be on here asking for advice later in the year when it's shopping time

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Moorooka, Brisbane
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    If you ask the wife/girlfriend is the squatters work, you might embarrass her.

    But seriously, maybe add the warranty claims threads for both the GENI, GENII and MPS6 to the initial post. Give people a direct path to look at specific issues.

    Top thread Andre!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisemmerson View Post
    I'm in exactly the same position, looking for an 6mps (06-07) later this year, once funding is sorted.

    Driving an 06 luxury hatch ATM and love it but want some more bang... Great read thank you for puttin this thread up... Will be on here asking for advice later in the year when it's shopping time
    I was in exactly the same position mate! I had an 06 Luxury too, great car, loved everything about it, just wanted more "go" sad to see it go but after the MPS I quickly got over it

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeldarb View Post
    If you ask the wife/girlfriend is the squatters work, you might embarrass her.

    But seriously, maybe add the warranty claims threads for both the GENI, GENII and MPS6 to the initial post. Give people a direct path to look at specific issues.

    Top thread Andre!
    Cheers guys, that's what the thread is for, basically helping out those who don't know much about the MPS. Thought it be good to post top responses on one thread so its easy to find, rather than excellent posts everywhere

    With great power comes great fuel consumption...
    M P S
    - 6 - RR | Cobb AP | CAI | TIP | ATP GTX28R | 3.25" TMIC | SS DP | REM | 3" Zorst | SSP Anchors & Countershift | DBA Rotors | K/Springs | Upper & Lower Bracing | Alpine Type S 12" sub MRP-M500 Amp
    | Grille | STi Lip | Shark Fin | 6000K HID | Fog Light Tint | Twin DEFI gauges | Custom Decals & Badges | LED lighting | CF Mirrors & Pillars | Black rims Red callipers

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Perth, WA
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    So I'm in this boat again, looking for a car for my GF. We've found one but thought I'd share another tip, one I just thought of. We got the address for the vehicle...

    So me thinks to jump on google street view and check out the castle. I know this plan has massive flaws as the owners might not live or own the residence but in this case a newish "well looked after" house perhaps could offer some re-assurance the vehicle has been treated and maintained as such? I'm hoping so anyway. Character reading can go a LONG way I've found, often if you think outside the box you'll be amazed on what secrets life has waiting for you to discover.

    Another tip which I've not mentioned but tried out before (its excessive and a bit stalker, each to their own) if it's an email enquiry and they reply, punch it on Facebook. The address might be registered to their account. Quite often people don't hide their pages or at least their profile pics are still shown. If there are pics of your soon-to-be Holden SS going sideways with smoke pouring out, I'm guessing perhaps said owner is not being entirely honest with the "well looked after, not tracked" statement.

    Take Forrest Gump's approach "Momma always says there's an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes. Where they're going. Where they've been."

    Just a couple of tips you typically won't find elsewhere...thinking outside the box.

    With great power comes great fuel consumption...
    M P S
    - 6 - RR | Cobb AP | CAI | TIP | ATP GTX28R | 3.25" TMIC | SS DP | REM | 3" Zorst | SSP Anchors & Countershift | DBA Rotors | K/Springs | Upper & Lower Bracing | Alpine Type S 12" sub MRP-M500 Amp
    | Grille | STi Lip | Shark Fin | 6000K HID | Fog Light Tint | Twin DEFI gauges | Custom Decals & Badges | LED lighting | CF Mirrors & Pillars | Black rims Red callipers

  8. #8

    Default Hints and Tips for purchasing a used vehicle

    Add to that - if you're buying a performance car or car off a forum - try type the plates into google and see where that takes you.

    And even better - if the car is on a forum, check the owners profile and find all previous posts - you will get a very frank run down of any issues he/shes had with the car.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Perth, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMOKEY View Post
    Add to that - if you're buying a performance car or car off a forum - try type the plates into google and see where that takes you.

    And even better - if the car is on a forum, check the owners profile and find all previous posts - you will get a very frank run down of any issues he/shes had with the car.
    Shh no need to mention that. On another note (completely unrelated to the above) can admin change my user name? Lol

    Nah good point! Probably a good worth-while search. I'd be happy to sell or be honest about the history of my car. I drive it as it was designed to be driven, anything it needs it gets. If that's no good, find another better looked after MPS I say! lol

    With great power comes great fuel consumption...
    M P S
    - 6 - RR | Cobb AP | CAI | TIP | ATP GTX28R | 3.25" TMIC | SS DP | REM | 3" Zorst | SSP Anchors & Countershift | DBA Rotors | K/Springs | Upper & Lower Bracing | Alpine Type S 12" sub MRP-M500 Amp
    | Grille | STi Lip | Shark Fin | 6000K HID | Fog Light Tint | Twin DEFI gauges | Custom Decals & Badges | LED lighting | CF Mirrors & Pillars | Black rims Red callipers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Age
    45
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    2,084

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    @ Rogwick

  11. Default

    nice post,
    I wanna say check the paint too, never really noticed the paint work until many months later and I noticed slight so-called 'orange peel' paint work

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    S.E Suburbs, Melbourne
    Posts
    44

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    Thanks for the tips

    I'll be looking to purchase a gen 1 mazda 3 MPS in the next month or 2

  13. #13

    Default

    If the owner says:

    - "limiter bash... gets the gash"
    - "when in doubt, flat out"
    - "life starts at 2BAR"

    Dont buy it

  14. Default

    Can I add, please please do a Revs check. and save yourself a lot of hassles.
    This only applies to private sales.
    Owner is not obliged to tell you if the car is a repairable write off.
    Owner is not obliged to tell you if the car has been damaged or water damaged.
    Owner is not obliged to tell you if there is an monies still owing on the car.

    When I purchased my car the owner didnt tell me there was $6900 still owning on the car, I had to ask her about it after i did a revs check.
    Oh sorry I take care of that later... Bull$h!7 take care of it now.. here is a check for $6900 made out to your finance company and the rest is for you.

  15. #15

    Default

    Great write up, lots of good advice

  16. #16

    Default

    Big mistake! There are plenty of people in large expensive houses who can't drive or maintain a car to save their lives. A big house isn't going to stop the owner from bouncing off kerbs and putting the steering out of alignment. Or while they might have lots of money they might have got it through being as tight as duck's rear end and not spending $$ on servicing their cars.

    Conversely, how many kids do you know who have bugger-all cash and live in a rented place but lavish all their spare change on looking after their cars, like some of the guys here??
    CP_e Standback & PNP; CP_e 3" SS Downpipe; Corksport FMIC with Top-mount K&N filter & OEM Ram CAI; Turbosmart BOV; Dashhawk; Prosport Boost Guage; JBR solid shift bushes; DBA 4000 Wiper-Slot front rotors; Hawk Ferro-Carbon HPS Street front brake pads (@ 69,000km); Sumitomo HTRZIII's in 225/45 x 18

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