Pre-Owned Buyers Guide

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

Buying your next vehicle is a difficult decision – it’s a lot of money, you want to take your time and choose the right car for you. No one can tell you what you should buy; this guide is designed to help you consider all the things in your decision to end up with the right car for you. The team at Motorama Pre-Owned works from the idea of focusing first on what you want, and providing you with that car as quickly as possible. We will give you our best price first. We will give you the biggest possible range of used cars to choose from and we will help you choose, buy and enjoy with a minimum of fuss, haggle free with 48HR moneyback guarantee and a lifetime engine guarantee.

Did you know?

There are more brands available in Australia than most markets in the world!

In fact, there are over 60 major carmakers to choose from!


When you’re looking at purchasing a car, it’s sometimes better to go for the middle or top-of-the-range models of a particular vehicle – if your can afford it on your budget.

When selling in a few years the extra features should translate into a higher selling price.

What to look for in a Pre-Owned Car?

Pre-Owned cars are anything that have been registered and owned previously, and you can find them anywhere from car dealers to the classifieds, to your neighbours front yard with a ‘For Sale’ sign on the windshield.

Have a look for a comprehensive service history, a few late or skipped services might not have caused problems for the last owner – but that could spell trouble for you now, especially if you’re looking for a used luxury car or a car with lots of complicated engineering.

Make sure you test out all the features of a used car, from seeing if the tyres have even tread wear, to whether the windscreen wipers work, to seeing if the boot stays open by itself. Be sure to ask if the vehicle has undergone a mechanical check by the dealership and ask to see what this check covers. It is also worth asking what sort of reconditioning has been done to the car.  At Motorama Pre-Owned we supply you with an independent car history report that will give you all this info.

Check the safety and ANCAP rating

In a previous era, stylish cars and safe cars were once exclusive of each other. Nowadays, budget hatchbacks, thrill-seeking sports cars and even commercial vehicles like utes, once neglected from everything but the most basic of options, are now getting the full treatment of active and passive safety features.

Ideally in a car ranking for safety, you want a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating. ANCAP is an independent body that crash tests vehicle safety features and assigns them a star rating. Newer cars have to pass more stringent tests than ever before, so a higher star score today is worth a lot more than say the same score, from perhaps, five or ten years ago.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that certain features are worth extra! Some safety features are standard on all cars. For example, electronic stability control is mandatory on all cars built and complied in Australia after 2011.

Got some registration left?

If you buy a car at a dealership, they’ll have the facilities to register and/or transfer your vehicle – if they don’t, or you buy privately, you’ll have to take it to a Queensland Transport service centre.

Registration costs will vary, and the more powerful your car is; the more you’ll be charged. For example, a four-cylinder car will cost much less than a V8 to register, while a hybrid or electric car will cost even less. It's wise to always check when the registration expires; a car with 11 months rego left is of course worth more than the same one where you have to renew it after a month.

To register a car in Queensland, you need to provide a safety certificate from an authorised inspection station.

To drive an unregistered car, you can apply for a permit as long as you’re driving it straight home or to a mechanic to have it inspected.

Check the servicing history

Capped price servicing is pretty common these days, but most Pre-Owned vehicles are already out of their capped price programs. It's therefore a good idea to check the service history of a used vehicle. Any vehicle with a full service history is worth more than one without, as you don't know what has been repaired or replaced by who, when. If anything does happen to go wrong you can rest assured with the Motorama Pre-Owned lifetime engine guarantee that comes standard with any purchase.

When you check the paperwork, also check if the car has been modified in any way (engine tune or change of parts) as this might have consequences for the reliability or insurance of the car.

Watch the fuel consumption

Fuel costs will obviously vary depending on what type of car you’re looking at, the type of fuel and size of the engine, so it’s important to know what you want out of a car. If it is not listed in the cars servicing books, a quick google search of the make / model will provide you the fuel economy figures.

There are two categories when creating fuel usage figures: Urban and Extra-Urban. Together, these are combined to create an average for the cars.

Urban figures are tested in heavy traffic and short distances like in a drive through the city, where Extra Urban testing is done on longer distances at higher speeds, with less traffic like you would see on a highway.

Now you can check the board computer to see if that figure matches and get an idea of how the car has been driven.

Financing – what do I need

Getting finance is a great way to get into your perfect vehicle, and sometimes the only way – because very few people have the money lying around to just spend on a car.

To get finance, you have to be an Australian citizen/permanent resident or have a valid working visa. If you are or have been in the process of bankruptcy or have outstanding faults on your credit history, your finance options will be more limited, but even if you don’t have a perfect credit file, it’s worth having a chat with a finance or business manager to see what you can do.

Financing through your bank, the dealership or a broker like CarBeagle is a common question. Dealerships tend to be specialists in automotive financing and can simplify repayment options or tailor a solution to your specific scenario. It certainly simplifies the process when you take delivery of the car when it is all done in house.

Trading in your car

One of the steps of moving onto your next car is in selling your old car. There are a few options to do this, depending on how much time and effort you want to go to.

The easiest way is to have us assess your trade in. Normally they can do this while you are perusing your new car or on a test drive. When selling your car to a dealership, there is no need to get a safety certificate and any finance owing can be paid out through the dealership. Often, your trade in will be used as part-payment towards your new car. At Motorama Pre-Owned our mission is to give a fair and competitive price for every vehicle brought to us when you're looking to sell your car.

The more DIY option and time consuming way is to sell privately. You can go through a number of third party sites – like Gumtree, Carsguide or Carsales. You will need to get a safety certificate to prove the car is roadworthy, take some good quality photo’s and write an informative description of the car to give it the best chance to get a good price.

Doing some extra research

Your car will cost a lot of money, so it’s important that you know everything about what you’re buying.

In addition to the official word from a dealer or any brochures, get opinions from friends, online and industry reviews (especially used car and long-term reviews) to get the bigger picture of what a particular model is like on the road before you test drive it for yourself .

Facebook and Google are also a good way to check out a dealership – do they seem attentive and show lots of photo’s of happy customers, how are their reviews on customers who deal with them?​

Taking the leap

So, now that you’re armed with the knowledge on the tips and tricks to buying a car; it’s time to have a look at which cars Motorama Pre-Owned has in stock at the moment in search of your perfect match.

It’s a big investment, often one of the largest in your lifetime, so it is well worth the time to find the car that fits your lifestyle. Buying a car should be fun, and once you get on the road you’ll have the satisfaction that your new vehicle will be the ultimate addition to your driveway.

Motorama Pre-Owned

The team have put in place a number in initiatives to ensure buying with us is super simple. Haggling backwards and forwards about the price is a thing of the past at Motorama Pre-Owned. All our prices are haggle free - as we've done the hard work for you and are actively reviewing our prices constantly against the current market value, so you can be certain you're getting a great deal.

All the other Motorama Pre-Owned advantages apply for your online purchase: 48 hour money back guarantee, lifetime engine guarantee, 12 months roadside assist and ongoing access to great service offers. These inclusions will provide you with a post-purchase piece-of-mind like never before.

360' Spin Photography 

To help ensure you know exactly the quality of the car you are buying - we've implemented a state of the art 360-degree photography technology.  This allows you to see both the inside and outside of your next car in a full 360-degree spin.    

Once you've selected the car you like, give it a spin and explore all the details.  One click later and you can reserve the car online, or book in a test drive.  You can be sure what you see online, is what you will get to test drive - no surprises.   

Online finance / Valuation

If you need finance or want to trade-in your old car, we can arrange all of that for you remotely.

If you're trading your car, no need to get a safety certificate or pay out finance - we can do all that for you - and will take your car as is.   You don't have to do anything else and we'll take care of the rest.

Financing your car at Motorama is quick and simple. In fact, 1 in 2 retail customers financed through Motorama in the past year.  Applications can be done online & in consultation with our experienced business managers. 

Motorama have one of the largest selections of quality pre-owned cars for sale in Brisbane. If you are in the market for a second hand car, we will have the right car for you at our convenient dealer locations in Moorooka, Springwood and Browns Plains.

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 Motorama Million Dollar Buying Drive

At Motorama, we don’t just sell cars, we buy them as well. And we’re especially keen to buy your car because privately owned cars are some of the best stock we can source. If you're thinking of selling your car, bring it to us for a no-obligation quote.

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