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Guide to Buying a Secondhand Car

This comprehensive guide covers everything from thorough inspections to savvy negotiations, ensuring you make a smart and informed purchase.

  • 23 Feb 2015
  • 3 min read

Buying one can be a tricky process if you have no idea where to start. Read on to get acquainted with the various aspects of acquiring a secondhand car without any hassles.


How deep is your pocket?

Before thinking of purchasing a car, think about your budget. Once you have done that, re-think of a realistic budget because most-probably you are going to move on to a new vehicle once you have mastered the art of driving and when you have deeper pockets in coming years.

Also, consider bank loans, fuel and insurance costs. While opting for a loan, make sure that your monthly car payment does not exceed 20 percent of your take-home pay.


Of miles and models

You can opt for a hatchback, sedan, sturdy jeep or a SUV depending on your requirement. While comparing secondhand cars, do check the number of miles the car has run along with its model and year of manufacturing. Newer the car, higher is the resale value.


Firsthand opinion

Avail firsthand information about the model and the brand from its users. It can be from friends, relatives or online reviews. Better to get a firsthand opinion than secondhand trouble! You could ask your neighborhood mechanic for the mileage of the motor, engine performance and resale value in the market. In addition, availability of spare parts is a critical factor in deciding whether or not to purchase the particular brand of pre-owned car.


Test before protest

Test-driving a car is like courtship, you still have time to rethink before giving the ultimate commitment. Test-driving not only tells you if the car is ideal for you but also lets you know if the engines are in top condition.

While test-driving the vehicle, create conditions suitable for your regular driving patterns. If possible, drive on a highway, steep slope, bumpy roads etc.

Also read:

Sherlocking the car

Inspect the car like a seasoned detective. Check past service records, car interiors, dents, loss of paint, etc. Also, ask for the accessories that come along with it. If the seller or secondhand car dealer approves, you could also take it to your trusted mechanic for a check-up.

Avoid purchasing a car that has undergone major repair work, engine overhauling or has been in a serious accident. Remember to visit the owner during the daytime so that you can analyze the car in natural light and determine its condition.


Bargaining like a pro

This bargaining process is easier when you are buying from a private seller. Decide beforehand your maximum limit and patiently put forward your lowest offer. Don't let fancy accessories, extended warranties or anti-theft devices distract you. Stay firm while persuading the seller.


Closing it with a handshake

The final leg is the most critical as you will have to be vigilant about the precise documentation. Documents pertaining to ownership, registration, and insurance have to be looked into diligently. Also, maintain a record of your financial transaction.


Whether you are purchasing from a private player or buying from a dealership you must settle on a reliable used car with clean history, proper documentation and the ideal price. Also make sure you secure your car with a reliable car insurance policy.

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