Buying a used Ford Ranger: What you need to know

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate


When you need a solid ute for work, play, or family holidays, there are a few front-runners in the Australian used car marketplace. The Toyota Hilux, Holden Colorado and even the Volkswagen Amarok have all proven great vehicles for certain activities, but arguably none are as versatile as the Ford Ranger.

Buying a used Ford Ranger in Australia requires more than just finding one at a car yard or online and fronting with the money.

A popular ute for banging up around work sites, getting muddy on off-road tracks, pulling the boat around, or filling up with luggage for the summer holiday up the coast, Ford Rangers are reliable, well built, stylish vehicles, and they're readily available around Australia.

Buying a used Ford Ranger in Australia requires more than just finding one at a car yard or online and fronting with the money - you need to make sure it's going to be reliable, and that it doesn't have issues such as finance owing, odometer tampering, and whether it has been reported as written-off or stolen. You can do that with a comprehensive CarHistory report.

Why do you need to be careful when buying a used ute in Australia?

Utes are common workhorse vehicles - they're thrown around building sites or mines because they can handle themselves, but they can be neglected and run into disrepair over time. Cosmetic changes like cleaning the car might fool you during an inspection, but beneath the surface there could be some more serious damage that will end up costing you a lot.

The used ute you're looking at could be hiding a dirty past.The used ute you're looking at could be hiding a dirty past.

Particularly on four-wheel-drive Rangers, make sure you inspect the bodywork and undercarriage of the car thoroughly before making a decision to buy1. Cars that have been taken off-road a lot are subject to much harsher road conditions (in many cases, they aren't driven on regular roads at all), and suspension or axle damage might not be obvious.

The Ford Ranger PJ and PK models ran from 2007 to 2012 and are some of the most common you'll find on used car marketplaces now1. They were sturdy utes with enough street style to pass at the weekends, and enough grunt to get the job done through the week. The variants were two- or four-door, and had different styles of tray available based on what the buyer needed to throw in the back.

Possible problems with used Ford Rangers in Australia

While Rangers are brilliant vehicles by all accounts, and can handle themselves off-road just as well as many more advanced vehicles, they have had some issues in production throughout their history1,2.


What to look for during a test drive/inspection

Faulty multi-switch/turn signal The horn may honk intermittently without warning; windscreen wipers don't work or come on by themselves; headlights go off when you activate high beams2.
Recalls in 2010 30,000 Rangers were recalled in 2010 to replace a faulty bonnet lock, and a further 8,000 were recalled to replace a faulty cruise control component1. Check service history for evidence that models from 2010 were checked by registered Ford mechanics.
Rusting Vehicles that have been used to tow boats or traverse bodies of water may not have been cleaned properly, meaning salt or still water could have corroded the underbody of the car, which will affect the structure over time. Thoroughly check the body and any corners of the cab for signs of early rust - ask a mechanic if you're unsure.
Faulty airbags Between 1995 and 2008, Ford Rangers all suffered from the same airbag deployment problem, and many were recalled2. Check the service history to see if the model you're looking at was serviced by a Ford technician, or consult a Ford workshop about checking the airbags are safe.

If you can find a Ford Ranger that has been looked after, has low mileage, no underbody damage or mechanical faults, and a tidy interior devoid of all fabric tears or ute tray cracks, then you're onto a winner. These cars will come at a premium, but that's because the sellers will know exactly how valuable (and long-lasting) such a vehicle would be for the buyer.

For peace of mind when you're buying a used Ford Ranger in Australia, make sure you check it out with a CarHistory report.

1. Motoring. Buying Used: Ford Ranger PJ/PK (2007-12). Accessed September 2017.

2. The Ranger Station. Ford Ranger Buyer's Guide. Accessed September 2017.

View a sample report >