Used Car Buying Guide: 9 Things to Check Before Buying


Planning to buy a used car? What to look for when buying a used car? Do all these questions come to your mind too, when you are going to buy a second-hand car.

In the Indian market, there are more second-hand car buyers than customers of brand-new ones. People also look for reliable cars which they can use for at least 2-3 years.

Interesting fact: For every 3 new cars sold in India there are about 4 used ones that exchange hands. 

So what to look for when buying a used car! Here is our used car buying guide.

9 Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car:

buying a second hand car
Image Source: ET Auto

1) Documents

The first thing you should look for is the original invoice, receipts and other paper works. 

The proper document check will clear that if the car has ever met with any accidents, the car is well registered and you can also see how many times the car was sold and when it was purchased. 

The important documentation includes a registration certificate, vehicle insurance paper, original purchase invoice, road tax receipt, pollution certificate and form 35. If the car was financed along with the copy of NOC from the financing company. 

Apart from these the owner’s manual and warranty details of the vehicle are helpful as well. 

You should also cross-check all the documents provided by the seller because in India there are many cases of stolen vehicles, so you should also keep that in mind before buying a used car.

2) Where to Buy

You can buy the used car from service providers, individual sellers, dealerships and virtual sources as well. The customer-to-customer model alternative is the easiest choice if the seller is known to you. 

The fact there is no middle man involved makes the deal trustworthy and you can also bargain the price because there is always some room for negotiation.

There are some organized used car sectors like Maruti Suzuki true value and Mahindra first choice etc, the plus point of buying used cars through these sellers is that they have pre-checked the car and then only they put it on sale and also add benefits like service packages and warranties. 

The transparent paperwork and buying experience give these sellers a plus point.

3) Budget

Budget is the most important thing while buying a used car. First, you have to make up your mind about the amount of money you want to spend. 

While purchasing the car the salesperson gives you many favours to attract you to buy a specific car but you have to be grounded during the purchase so that no one can manipulate you.

If you want to finance a car be aware of the interest rates for the used car and check for second-hand car loans.

4) The Right Car

Image Source: The Economic Times

You should be clear about your choice and what you are looking for in a car. Try to buy the new models if possible. 

The old car usually provides low mileage and consumes much fuel. Also, look for cars that have low maintenance costs.

Tip: Never buy those cars which have been discontinued.

5) Exterior Condition

Car exteriors are the main area of concern while buying a used car. There is no point in buying a car if it is not usable. 

The car should be free from major defects and make sure the vehicle systems like the brake, emission, lighting, engine cooling, steering and suspension all are in good condition.

Doing the correct examination will save you from a lot of maintenance expenses in the long run. Make an assessment of the car yourself. 

It’s a good idea to take along a friend or mechanic who knows something about cars. Do a visual inspection of the exterior and interior as well. For example, look out for dents, repairing scratches on the body surface.

Raise and lift to check underbody and suspension damage also check the condition of tires.

6) Interior Condition

In the interiors lookout for signs of rust, seat condition, air-conditioning, signs of airbags, music system and windows. 

Check the upholstery for tears or burns. Take a look at the mileage reading on the odometer. 

You should do the checking of the car patiently and if you are not satisfied do not buy the car you will get many other options out there in the market.

7) Test Drive

Image Source: Daily Subah

Test Drive is very important, take out the car to drive before committing. 

While buying a used car get behind the wheel and drive around for 20 minutes at different speeds this would help you to figure out if the car is good in shape and you can also spot defects that were missed.

This would also help you to feel if you are comfortable in the car or not.

8) Negotiation Skills

Do not hold back while bargaining, stick to the price you feel the product is worth and give a good reason for it. 

There would be many times from the seller to manipulate you but you have to stand on your words, remember it’s a normal tactic.

If you feel that the deal is not right and if they hesitate, give them your card and walk away, it’s likely they will call you back. 

At the used car dealer the longer the car is in the lot the longer their money is blocked. 

Stand firm and don’t be carried away by emotions. Keep these things in mind, be patient and practical.

9) Homework

First, be sure of the car you want to buy and look out for its reviews and try to speak to a couple of people who are already using the same model. 

They can share their problems associated with the car and can tell you more about the car price, price of the spare parts and cost of the maintenance.

Familiarize yourself with the features of the car and its variants. All the information will put you on the higher side from the seller while buying a car. 

Also, look out for the other sellers, what they are offering and what your seller is offering you. 

These were the 9 things to check before buying a second-hand/used car.


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