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Tips for buying an ex-fleet car

Used fleet cars often represent good value.

Most fleet cars are treated very well. This is partly because employees don't want to have to explain any damage to the boss.

Ex-fleet cars are a good buy and no longer run-of-the-mill vehicles Fleet cars once were boring vanilla vehicles. They were base-model sedans, painted white. Times have changed, fleets are more varied than ever and, suddenly, buying an ex-fleeter is a much more attractive proposition.

"The fleet cars that come through now really just mirror the types of cars being bought privately," one fleet-seller explains to Carsguide. Previously, fleets bought up in big numbers, selecting the cheapest possible model, which had hardly any features.

Some makers even produced super-cheap models, without must-have features such as aircon', especially to secure large fleet deals. The advent of user-chooser fleets, with novated leasing, along with other factors such as poor resale for basic cars, have increased the quality and breadth of fleet cars.

VALUE

There are pros and cons with used fleet vehicles but the odds of a great buy improve dramatically if you follow some guidelines and do some homework. Used fleet cars often represent good value. When a large fleet is turned over, there are plenty of cars and they need to be moved along quickly.

If you bid for a car at auction, it is possible you will get a bargain, although you may also miss out if someone else wants that particular car enough to outbid you. A car with a set price might be the better bet if you have your heart set on a particular model because you know you won't be out-bid.

MAINTENANCE

One positive of buying a fleet car relates to maintenance. It is not always the case but fleet cars, especially in larger fleets, are usually serviced at the makers' prescribed intervals.

The fleet managers generally make sure the maintenance occurs in a timely fashion, as it is not in the interest of a company to have a car off the road with a problem. Major fleets also know that a poorly maintained vehicle will not be worth much when it comes time to sell.

It is imperative that you check the service history of any vehicle you intend to purchase. If it doesn't have a history, it may not have had the correct work done and you could be buying a major headache.

TREATMENT

Most fleet cars are treated very well. This is partly because employees don't want to have to explain any damage to the boss. If the company's name is on the fleet vehicle it is far less likely the vehicle will be driven hard because it only takes one phone call to dob them in. Of course, this is not always the case. Some people treat fleet cars terribly and drive without the care an owner would show the vehicle.

TIPS FOR BUYING AN EX- FLEET CAR

• Having a reputable mechanic or motoring organisation, such as NRMA, carry out a pre-purchase check is worth considering. If you can, driving the vehicle you are interested in is also worthwhile.

• Do your homework and check when the next major service is due on the vehicle. Remember, not all the services are the same. Some are minor, while others require replacement of major components such as camshaft timing chains or CV joints. You might even be able to buy a car that still has warranty time left, which allows you to get it sorted before the cover runs out.

• Also look for any signs of smoking, wear and tear in the boot area (especially in wagons) and check underneath for signs it has been used off-road.

• Some ex-fleet cars are kept for as little as three years, with less than 50,000km on the clock. Others can be the same age, but are used to travel long distances every day and the odometer can display be more than 150,000km. Some fleets, especially smaller ones, can keep their vehicles for longer.

• Fleet cars are used for many purposes, some of which require special equipment. For example, many fleet duty wagons are fitted with a cargo barrier. This could cost up to $1000 if bought new but tends not to add much, if any, to a used car's value.

• Keep an eye out for cars fitted with extras you might benefit from. Make sure they are part of the sale and are not removed before you take delivery.
 

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.