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Used car buyer's guide

Your guide for buying a used car

In the dealership

What matters most when comparing used cars?

Finding a used car you love is exciting – but the search can be daunting. We’ve assembled these used car buying tips to give you confidence to search, compare and buy the perfect vehicle.
Before you get started

With so many differences to consider between used vehicles, you can make life easier by narrowing your search by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • Which vehicle fits best with my lifestyle, family and/or work situation?
  • Do I prefer a particular style, colour or vehicle feature?
  • What budget can I afford upfront or with financing options?
  • What features are absolutely essential for me?

Not sure which features to focus on? Frame the criteria around your lifestyle, hobbies and any other factors that have prompted your search.

  • Need extra seats for the family?
  • A higher towing load for a caravan?
  • Extra storage space for sporting equipment?
  • Maybe you’re thinking about getting a used hybrid car?

Once you’ve formed a baseline of the type/s of vehicle you’re interested in, it’s time to start searching!

Man in car
Searching for a used vehicle with Toyota

With Toyota Used Vehicle you can easily filter your search and quickly find vehicles near you that meet your criteria.

Car in field
Compare and pair the perfect used car to you

Our Vehicle Compare page lets you get a side-by-side vehicle overview of your wishlist. Depending on your criteria, certain stats and features shown here will matter more to you.

Below are some general factors to consider when comparing between used vehicles.

Age and mileage
It’s generally best to aim for the newest model or lowest odometer reading that’s in your budget. A lower mileage is likely to need less maintenance in the short term.

Vehicle safety technology improves each year, so a 10-year-old car will be missing many features we now take for granted. Search to see if an ANCAP rating is available, with a safety score and features for the car you’re considering.

Cost of ownership
To work out a used vehicle’s running costs, start by comparing fuel economy and types, engine types and researching the model for auto reviews, forum posts, known issues etc. Generally speaking: bigger engines equal more fuel consumption. Also, a hybrid might cost more upfront but could save you money in the long term.

Vehicle dashboard
What else should I check before driving away?

  • Ask the seller or dealer any questions you have – don’t hold back!
  • Ask to see the vehicle’s history, including service logbook.
  • Take it for a test drive – ideally on a high speed freeway (if feasible and safe).
  • Review a recent roadworthy certificate and take note of any included registration period.

Get the ultimate peace of mind

Test drive checklist

Your guide to inspecting a used car with confidence and finding the perfect fit.

What is a certified pre-owned car?

A Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle comes with an additional 1-year Toyota-backed warranty#, full service history, 1 year nationwide Toyota Roadside AssistP9 and an independent background check. You may also have the option of a Toyota Access loan for Guaranteed Future ValueF2, and it's eligible for Toyota Genuine Service from your local Toyota dealer.