A major Australian insurance company has launched a “free” check on the history of used motorcycles and other vehicles so you don’t buy a lemon.
If you are buying a used motorcycle, you should check to see if it is stolen, has money owing on it, has been written off in a crash or has been damaged in a flood or storm.
Buyers used to check the state-based REVS (Register of Encumbered Vehicles) or VSR (Vehicle Securities Register).
Since 2012, this has been nationalised in Australia under the Personal Property Security Register website which costs just $2.
There are several private websites that offer similar services, but they can be quite expensive and may offer information that is not relevant to your purchasing decision.
Be wary if you simply Google-search for “PPSR” as you will also find private suppliers.
These are only useful if you want a more in-depth report that may show things such as odometer regularities, or “clocking” where the seller winds the odd back.
It says it’s a “car search”, but it also works for motorcycles as Budget Direct does insure motorcycles.
This service may save you a couple of bucks, but you need to know that you have to supply your email and phone number.
After I did a search as a test, Budget Direct contacted me via email for an insurance quote.
I then tried to manually unsubscribe from their email service several times, but it kept throwing up an error. They tell me they will fix that error.
I have not yet been contacted by phone, but I suspect that may be coming.
So while the service may be free from payment, there could be an associated hassle.
There are several scams that make buying a second-hand motorcycle a risk. Click here for some of the most prominent scams.
At least you can be assured with an official PPSR check that you do not end up buying a lemon, a stolen bike or one that will be repossessed by a finance company because the previous owner still owed money on it.
To make a PPSR check, you will need to supply the vehicle identification number (VIN). Never buy a vehicle from anyone unless they provide the VIN.
You can find the VIN on a registration notice or on the bike’s steering head, front frame or on the bottom of the engine.
It could be on a special plate, or stamped or etched into the frame or engine.
Turn the handlebars to the left and look on the right side of the frame where the steering head goes through the frame.
In a car, a VIN could be in a number of different places: Wheel arches, dashboard, boot, under the spare tyre, doors, door frames, and in the engine bay.
PPSR can also be accessed for various other personal property such as cars, boats, caravans, pant, machinery, shares and even works of art.
You can also search non-material items such as accounts, intellectual property, investment instruments, or licences.