Car Buying Options – Comparing Private Sales, Dealers and Auctions

Over 1 million new and used cars are sold in Australia each year. If you want to buy a new car, a dealership is your only option. But if you want to buy a used car, private sales and auctions are also options. Each option has their pros and cons.


Private Sale

A private sale is one where you buy a used car directly from the previous owner. You can often get a much better price because you’re not paying a ‘middleman’. And it can be a safe option too if you take steps to protect yourself:

1. get a PPSR report. PPSR is an acronym for ‘Personal Property Security Register’. You can get a PPSR report that shows the following key information about a used car.
• Whether there is any money owing on it to a lender.
• Whether the vehicle has ever been in an accident and written off by an insurance company.
• Whether the car has been reported as stolen.
If you finance through Auto Loans Group we get clients a free PPSR check with every private sale purchase.

2. Get a warranty. You can purchase an after market warranty for a used car purchased privately, to make sure you’re protected in the event of issues with your car. Auto Loans Group offers warranties from a number of providers.

If you’re adequately protected you’ll find Private Sales are often a better value proposition than dealership purchases.



You can buy used or new cars through a dealer. It’s a good option if you want to buy new or see a lot of vehicles in one place. But when you buy through a dealer, you are paying a middleman who will often push you with aggressive sales tactics. That means you could end up paying more than you would for a private sale.

You don’t need a PPSR check if you buy from a dealer. But you should get a mechanical inspection and check the car’s service history if it’s a used car. And make sure you be very wary about the numbers ‘after market’ products like paint protection or tyre and rim insurance that the dealer may try to sell you -they often represent poor value.



A car auction works like any other auction. You bid for the item you want to buy. If your bid is the highest and higher than the reserve price, your bid wins. But you need to have a good understanding of used car values to bid successfully at an auction. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and to bid too much.

One of the risks of buying at an auction is that you usually can’t go for a test drive. It’s crucial to thoroughly inspect an auction car before you place a bid. Auctions are usually ‘buyer beware’ so you don’t get a statutory warranty and take on the risk of the vehicle being faulty, as if it was a private sale.


How we can help

If you’re looking to buy any car and you need finance, talk to us. We can arrange finance for you for private sales, dealers or auctions. We’re finance brokers. We can make sure you get a great deal.

Don’t use dealer-arranged finance or try to arrange it yourself. If you do, you’ll end up paying a lot more. We arrange car finance for a living. We work for our clients, not for lenders.

Call 1300 301 051 during business hours to speak with one of our experienced brokers.

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