A Guide on Buying a Second Hand Ute


Apr 29th, 2020

A Guide on Buying a Second Hand Ute

Owning a ute has numerous benefits. Unfortunately, not many of us can comfortably part with a hefty sum to buy one, unless you are okay with buying one made in China. Thankfully, there is a thriving market for second-hand utes in Australia with many excellent options for you. Buying from the used car marketplace is a good idea, but be warned that it’s not going to be straightforward.  

The biggest advantage of buying a second-hand ute is that you get to avoid the instant depreciation expense that occurs as soon as you buy a new vehicle. In the second-hand market, you pay for what you get. 

Know the Difference Between 4x4 and 4x2 Utes

The first decision you have to make is whether you need a 4x2 or a 4x4? Naturally, 4x4s are more expensive as they have off-roading capabilities. According to sales figures, 4x4s are more in-demand compared to 4x2s. Their machinery is more complex, replacement car parts are more expensive, fuel consumption is higher, and frequent trips are required to the mechanic for repair and maintenance to keep them in running condition. 

4x2s usually have more payload capacity compared to 4x4s, making them a better choice for those of you who frequently need to carry loads on their ute. The insurance cost also needs to be considered, which is higher for a 4x4 compared to a 4x2. 

All in all, buying a 4x4 is a more expensive choice. However, the resale value of a 4x4 in the second-hand market is also higher than a 4x2. For example, you can get a 2012 4x2 model of a Ford Ranger XL for under $18k, while the 4x4 version can average around $27k. Similarly, the 2012 model of the 4x2 Workmate by Toyota Hilux can be bought between $8k-$20k, while the 4x4 variant commands $16k-$27k in the second-hand market. 

Buy a Ute that’s Abundantly Available

It's always better to buy a second-hand vehicle that is in abundant supply in the second-hand market, since their car parts and car accessories are readily and cheaply available as well. In the second-hand market, Falcons and Commodores abound, including Commodore SV6 and Falcon XR6. Both of these models are available for under $20k for the manual variant.

Research the Vehicle

After you have shortlisted a few utes in the second-hand market that you like, it is time to research their actual value in the market. Are the quoted prices reasonable? The answer to this question can be found on the internet by researching the latest prices for your chosen model and make in the second-hand car listings. And don't forget your trusted mechanic who can specify a ballpark figure for the car you pick. 

The Things You Should Know

It is essential to know about the numerous challenges you will have to overcome while maintaining your ute in a working condition. The running expenses of a ute such as replacement car parts may be too much for you to afford, or the vehicle may not be as reliable as you want.

To understand whether your chosen ute is the right choice for you, it is always a good idea to hear out an expert review about the vehicle. Experts weigh all the pros and cons of a car, and their reviews can help you form an educated decision about the suitability of your chosen ute for your needs. 

Where Should You Buy a Second Hand Ute?

Most people approach car dealerships when they buy a second-hand vehicle, and there is a good reason for this. Although you would probably pay more at a dealership for a second-hand ute, your price will include some consumer protection that an auction or a private seller may not provide. 

Dealers are required to provide a guarantee of title proving that the ute has no outstanding finance and is not stolen. Also, the law entitles buyers a statutory guarantee on a purchased vehicle. You might also be able to trade in your old car as part-payment of your desired ute. Dealers also allow test drives and inspection by state motor body experts, so you will know if the vehicle is free from unknown faults. 

At auctions, you can get a great bargain for a ute, but you should only explore this option if you, or someone you know, have a sound knowledge about utes. Test drives or independent inspections are usually not allowed at auctions, so a visual inspection is the only available check. You might also want to check the consumer protection being provided by the auction house, as these can vary by state. 

Purchasing from a private seller can be even cheaper than an auction, but you will not receive any consumer protection or statutory warranties with this option. However, unlike auctions, you can get an independent inspection done on a privately-owned ute, and will likely have the option to take the vehicle out on a test drive. 

Why It’s Important to Inspect a Second-Hand Ute?

Unlike most privately-owned vehicles, utes are treated a bit more roughly due to their perceived strength and power. Some owners overload utes beyond their maximum capacity, potentially damaging the chassis, drivetrains, as well as the suspension. Also, ute owners frequently take their utes on rough terrain and, without proper maintenance, cause permanent damage to the ute’s body. 

These reasons make it essential that you verify the condition of all the car parts installed on your chosen second-hand ute. Make sure they are in working condition and undamaged. Seek the help of an expert if needed. Many owners keep their utes in perfect condition, so it should be easy for you to find the perfect second-hand ute for you. 

For more news and updates on the automotive industry and information on maintaining your car, visit www.carpart.com.au to access how-to guides and expert advice on car maintenance. Also, we have a nifty car parts finding tool that will make your search more effective, convenient and safe. Best of all – it’s free! So try it now and see for yourself! 

By Muhammad A. Lashari