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How to Avoid a Dud Second-Hand Car

We’ve previously discussed some of the benefits with inspecting a second hand vehicle. Naturally, this is as good a way as any to make sure that the car you’re buying second hand is fit to keep you going. Beyond that, you might also want to take a close look at the service book, ensuring that the car has been regularly maintained and serviced by the appropriate professionals.

Before you get too confident that might be the end of the matter, there is one more thing you should look into – and it is arguably, the most important thing you should look into.

Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR)

Fortunately, each state across the country maintains their own written off register, which is  nowadays aggregated in the federal government’s Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR), which is an online search system and noticeboard detailing security interests in personal property

When it comes to write-offs, it’s important to distinguish that there are two types – statutory write-offs, and repairable write-offs. Both categories on the register are restricted to vehicles up to 15 years old. The registration of a written off vehicle is also cancelled once declared a write-off by the relevant authority who supplies the information. Such authorities typically include the likes of insurance companies, dealers, auctioneers, and other parties who trade such vehicles for parts or scrap value.

In the case of a statutory write-off, the vehicle has either been: damaged beyond economic repair; damaged extensively by hail, floods or fire; stripped of parts; or suffering a notable level of structural damage that would inhibit the vehicle being repaired to a safe and operable standard. These vehicles are meant to display a notice advising of their written off status. Meanwhile, it is prohibited to repair the vehicle or take it onto the roads – its use is now limited to scrapping, or for parts.

As far as repairable write-offs, these vehicles are deemed a write-off when their underlying salvage valuation plus costs associated with repairing any damage exceed the market valuation of the vehicle. This has a tendency to work against older vehicles, particularly those from luxury manufacturers, or models which are known to depreciate rapidly.

Unlike a statutory write-off, vehicles which have been declared a repairable write-off may be repaired and returned to the road. This will typically be recorded with the registration body in each state, and may show up on the registration certificate. As you can image, the process of returning a vehicle of this nature onto the road is somewhat strict. As well as the repairs themselves, owners are required to provide relevant documentation proving the identity of the car, while also taking the vehicle through a roadworthy test and government inspection.

Having the peace of mind and clarification that a vehicle is not a statutory write-off is a blessing for motorists. On the contrary however, the presence of repairable write-offs on the relevant registers means that affected vehicles will take a significant hit in terms of their valuation – despite the fact they have passed all necessary tests and are considered safe and operable. Keep this in mind if you’re considering purchasing a vehicle that was a repairable write-off.