Retired SUV could prove bargain buy
Home mechanic seeks advice about repairing a vehicle with a blown gasket
The Toyota Land Cruiser our reader is looking at buying has been in dry-dock for two years.
Ron, the home mechanic, has his sights set on a slightly neglected, late 1990s petrol Toyota Land Cruiser that has sat in storage with the rego on hold for the past couple of years.
It was parked up after suffering from a blown gasket and has sat idle ever since.
The garage now needs clearing out and Ron has been offered it in an as-is-where-is condition.
“It’s a vehicle that suits my needs perfectly and has been offered to me at a price well below what I can purchase a complete runner for,” says Ron.
He is asking Driven if there are any legal issues in buying a vehicle in such a condition.
Well Ron, there are many potential issues that can snag you so doing due diligence before committing to purchase is the key.
On the legal side, an owner can apply for a temporary exemption from the requirements to continually license their vehicle if the vehicle is not going to be used on public roads for at least three months. The maximum exemption period is 12 months, but owners can apply for subsequent exemptions. The exemption takes effect from when the current or existing exemption expires.
Examples of owners placing the rego on hold are when a vehicle is undergoing major repairs, long-term restoration project or if the vehicle is not going to be used for an extended period of time.
So Ron, your first check should be to ensure the rego is still on hold. Remember the owner needs to apply for a further extension after 12 months. Failure to do this means the licence will have lapsed completely and the vehicle will need to go through an expensive certification (new registration) inspection once mobile. The owner should be holding the required paperwork to confirm the vehicle’s registration status.
Apart from that, you fill in the same buyer and seller forms as you would for any other motor vehicle transaction. I would also advise a written and signed note be retained by both parties listing the vehicle details, the conditions the vehicle is being purchased under and the price paid.
Next step is to take a good look at other parts of the vehicle and not just concentrate on the faulty head gasket. Sellers often have short memories when it comes time to recall any other mechanical issues a vehicle like this may have.
Wear and tear on tyres, driveline and brakes plus body corrosion and/or damage are just a couple of items that can be quickly checked out.
Finally, think carefully about the head gasket failure as it is often the result of a bigger problem. An engine overheat and subsequent blown head gasket can be due to problems, such as water loss from a number of different places or a blocked radiator.
In a worst-case scenario, extensive damage can be inflicted on the engine bores, pistons and the cylinder head itself.
Topping up the water levels, pressurising the cooling system, trying to start the engine and carrying out a cylinder compression test may help identify further and more expensive issues.
Ron, don’t let the initial cheap asking price of the vehicle side-track you. If you buy it, you own it — warts and all