Avoid Disaster When Buying a Second-Hand Car!

  • 28 February, 2020
  • Sharon Piening

There is a simple, low-cost, step that will help avoid disaster when buying a second-hand car!

That is; use the federal government Personal Property Security Register (PPSR).

A quick search will cost only $2 but it could save you thousands!

The PPSR can help you avoid financial disaster by confirming:

  • The vehicle is not held as security by a financier
  • It has not been stolen
  • It is not an insurance write-off

What is the Personal Property Security Register?

The Personal Property Security Register is a national (government) online register designed to protect consumers buying a car, boat and even artworks.

If a motor vehicle is financed, the Lender will register a charge over the motor vehicle to secure the loan

By undertaking a low-cost search, you can find out if someone else has an interest or charge over what you are buying.

It is particularly important to use when buying a second-hand car.

Why Use the Personal Property Security Register?

If the motor vehicle is financed and the owner does not make the required repayments, then the Lender can repossess the vehicle.

Whilst the vast majority of people will always do the right thing, there are those who look to take advantage of the unaware!

If they sell you a vehicle subject to a charge and fail to clear the debt, then the Lender can repossess the car – leaving you with no car and most likely unable to recover the money you have paid!

Financial Disasters Happen!

We recently became aware of an instance where a person purchased a very expensive second-hand car.

Unfortunately, the buyer didn’t undertake a PPSR search and wasn’t aware the car was subject to finance!

The seller handed over the vehicle – but failed to clear the debt with the money paid to them.

The end result was the loan defaulted, and the Lender tracked down the buyer and repossessed the vehicle!

Even though the person concerned purchased the vehicle in good faith, the prospects of recovering the money are bleak as the unscrupulous seller has gone missing!

Write-Offs and Stolen Vehicles - Take Care!

Besides alerting you to the fact the vehicle may be subject to finance, the PPSR can also make you aware if the vehicle is an insurance write-off or is stolen.

A few years ago, one of our team members was buying a second-hand car for his daughter.

By using the PPSR he discovered the first three vehicles they looked at were all insurance write-offs!

All the vehicles were well presented, had low kilometres and the vendors had sound stories as to the vehicle history and why the car was being sold.

The problem with insurance write-offs is that the vehicle is likely to be uninsurable and its longevity questionable.

By using the PPSR and spending a small amount of money, disaster and heartbreak for the daughter was avoided!

Critical Information Required!

To undertake a PPSR search and to ensure you correctly identify the vehicle you need the:

  • Vehicle Registration Number (Number Plate)
  • Vehicle Identification Number (Vin) – (a 17-digit alpha-numeric code on a metal plate in the engine bay)
  • Engine Number (Stamped on the engine)

It is not enough just to rely on the Registration Number – check to ensure the Vin and Engine Number are correct. If there are discrepancies care is needed before proceeding!


Purchasing a Motor Vehicle for many people can be an emotive decision.

When we find a car that aligns to our needs and which is priced right, the temptation is to proceed quickly!

But that can be a recipe for disaster!

To avoid disaster when buying a second-hand car – always undertake a PPSR check before handing over any money!

If you would like to learn more or need finance –  give me a call on 0433 210 353