When searching for the perfect used car, buyers usually put the price tag and condition as their top priority. An often glossed-over but extremely important aspect is safety. The safety features of a used car are especially important considering all the wear and tear the car would have experienced.

To find the best-used car, you need to make sure you cover all your bases. Below, we’ve put together a few tips to help you find a used car that’s safe, affordable, and reliable.

What to look for: Essential safety features

Asking a seller point blank, ‘How safe is your car?’ may not get you any valuable insights. The best way to check the safety of a used car is by looking out for these vital safety features.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)

The AEB is a highly effective safety feature made to prevent crashes and head-on collisions. By using a combination of sensors, radars, and cameras, a car equipped with an AEB system can notify the driver with a warning signal. If the driver fails to react quickly, the system will take over and automatically apply a full break to avoid a crash.

This feature is considered life-saving technology by many. The Australian Government has mandated that all newly introduced models from March 2023 and onwards must have an AEB system. The country-wide mandate includes passenger cars, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles.

Recent ANCAP safety rating

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is the leading authority in vehicle safety ratings. It’s one of the most trusted organisations when assessing the safety of a vehicle. They provide a rating between 0 and 5 stars based on the level of safety a vehicle provides. Their criterion involves a vehicle’s ability to minimise the effects of a collision.

Search for a potential vehicle’s ANCAP rating on the organisation's website. Most modern vehicles have a four-star rating, which means they do well in preventing crashes and protecting passengers if collisions do happen. Take note, ANCAP ratings have six-year expiry dates. Make sure you’re looking at the most recent ANCAP ratings to ensure you’re comparing similar models and results.

Driver-assist technology

During your used car search, make sure to be on the lookout for any driver-assist technology. These features keep both the driver and others on the road safe. Some drive-assist technology features include Pedestrian Detection, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Stability Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Warning.

Driver-assist technology may be harder to find on much older models. Having at least one or two may greatly improve the safety of you and your passengers. Make sure to consider this when finalising your decision.

High performance and capabilities

High-performance vehicles are safer than most people think. Their ability to accelerate faster may help you move away from tight spots, like when overtaking on the highway or avoiding possible collisions. These cars also have better handling and tighter road grip than low-performance vehicles.

These high-performance vehicles usually come with better safety features too. They may be equipped with an anti-lock braking system, stability control, multiple airbags, and the like that you wouldn’t normally find in other cars.

What to do: Tips for finding a safe used car

There’s more to finding a safe used car than listing down must-have features. You need to do some legwork on your part. If you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to do the following:

Check the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR)

The Used Car Safety Ratings is a report developed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC). It’s a document that lets buyers know which models are among the safest in the second-hand car market. The rating is basedon almost nine million vehicles in police records and accident reports in Australia and New Zealand.

The car ratings on the UCSR report were calculated based on the most recent crash data. The vehicles with the Safer Pick label provide protection for the driver and less serious injuries to others on the road. Most of the vehicles that were found safer have driver-assist technology.

Check the service and maintenance history

Look at the service and maintenance history of the used car. Theservice history lets you know if the car has been maintained properly. Cars with clean records and had regular maintenance work are usually in better condition.

You can request a full vehicle history report to see if it’s been in any accidents, as well. If it has, see if the resulting damage required major repairs. Even if the car has been fixed, it won’t be in the same condition as it was before.It could also be more susceptible to future issues as it goes through additional wear and tear.

Have the car professionally inspected

Seek the advice of a professional.Doing research on your own can only do so much. It’s always best to have anexpert look over the car. Have the car inspected by a mechanic so you’ll know exactly what condition the vehicle is in and if you should be concerned about any safety issues. A mechanic can also recommend additional safety measures and features you can add.

Where to go next: Find a safe used car faster by getting pre-approved finance

Before you start looking for the safest used car in Australia, make sure your finances are sorted out. Get pre-approved for a loan so you’ll have a clear budget going into your car search. Use our online car loan repayment calculator to help you figure out how much to set aside.

With so many used car loans available, it can get overwhelming. This is where Aussie Car Loans come in. We’re here to find the best used car loans for you! All you need to do is let us know what you need, and we’ll do all the hard work. Get a free quick quote today!