20 Tips to buy Second Hand cars

July 11, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

Car Shopping is exciting and wild but it can become frantic and tiresome at the same time, especially when it comes to the second hand cars. Second hand cars can be old fashioned, in poor condition, uncomfortable, and sometimes out of your budget.

Sometimes, the car model is very is old and full accessories are not provided with the car by the car dealer. Here are our 20 tips to buy a modern, comfortable, good condition, affordable second hand car.

Buy Second Hand cars

1. Research for the second hand car

The first tip is to research for the second hand car. You must know what characteristics you are looking for, in the second hand car. You can search on the internet, cars magazines and newspapers for the models and prices. Locate family or friends who are interested in selling the car.

2. Check your Budget

After doing the research, check your budget. Do you have enough money to buy that car? As the second hand car costs can also include title transfer, regular maintenance costs , running costs, registration fees, and in some countries, smog or emissions certificate. In case, you want to finance the car from the dealer, you have to pay heavier interest rate. In this way dealers get more profit. So, don’t forget to check the affordability of the second hand car.

3. Hit upon the right car

Find the second hand car that is just right for you in terms of price, model, color and engine.

4. Buy it from authorized dealer or private owner

You can buy the second hand car from the authorized dealer, over the internet, from a private owner or at a live auction. But the best way is to choose the dealer or private owner option. As over the internet, you can get the car which doesn’t match the provided description and at live auction there can be strict conditions of conditional sale, leasing agreement or a logbook loan.

5. Beware of fraudulent dealers and private owners

Don’t get caught in cars dealer’s games and beware of the frauds. Before deciding on buying the second hand car, make sure that the car is not stolen and was not involved in unfair commercial practice and the car dealer or private owner is claiming the right price for the car. In case of dealer, check its authorization and in case of private owner confirm the home address and all the documents.

6. Check VIN

Before buying the second hand car, check Vehicle Identification Number VIN. This is also called Vehicles ID, made up of letters and numbers and is written in the engine’s bay. Also it should match the car’s registration documents provided by the car dealer or owner.

7. Inspect the car through mechanic

Get the second hand car tested via mechanic. Ask the mechanic to check the lights, tires, Chassis, Radiator, Suspension, Glass, Brakes, Hoses, Belts, Fluids, Battery and Body condition. You may have to spend some money but it is worth in the end when you have bought the second hand car.

8. Examine it yourself

After getting it inspected through the mechanic you need to examine the car thoroughly yourself also. Check  whether the seats, carpets, switches, mirrors and headliners are all in good condition, the safety features like horn, three-point centre seat belt in the back, secure fixing points for a child seat, headlights, emergency brake, and windshield wipers are working properly, the tow bar ,spare wheel, and full wheel replacement kit is available, . Also make sure, the seller is selling the car with the original parts and accessories. Do remember to examine it in the daylight, as you can miss some details at night.

9. Test drive the second hand car

Only examining is not enough, you also need to test drive the car on differing road surfaces and conditions e.g country road, in-town and motorway to ensure that car is in proper working condition. Check that whether the car is easy to start, the Gears, Brakes and Indicators are working properly, cruise controlling is easy, the air conditioning, heating and car’s sound system is working properly.

10. Check the engine

Engine is the heart of the car and whole working of the car depends on it. Its inspection is necessary. Check that whether the engine is not giving unusual noises, smells or blue smoke from the exhaust, also there are no leaks. Remember to check the oil in the car by removing the dipstick. Before testing the engine make sure it is not warmed up by the seller to hide any problems.

11. Check the mileage

Engine checking is not enough; you also need to check the mileage of the secondhand car displayed on the odometer. As, the seller may have altered the mileage, You can confirm it by checking wear and tear conditions of the steering wheel, driver’s seat, pedals or carpet in the car.

12. Check the terms and conditions

Check all the terms and conditions on which you are buying the second hand car. There may be a warranty and pre or post deposits.

13. Check the Car Taxes and fees

Before buying, check whether all the taxes, registration fees, outstanding loans, or even a previous write-off have been paid by the dealer or private owner. If not, you will have to pay all of it.

14. Check car’s history

Be sure to check the second hand car’s history by asking questions like how old is the car? Why the seller is selling the car? Was the car involved in any theft or accident?

15. Do not buy flood or accident affected second hand car

Don’t buy flood or accident affected car. Check all the crash reports and overspray conditions. Flood affected car may have rusts, silt or mud under the seats or in the glove compartment, damp floor carpeting, discoloration, leaks and worn outs, or accident affected car may have signs of freshly welded metal.

16. Shop the second hand  car at the end of month

You should prefer buying the second hand car at the end of the month as dealers and car owners are offering good deals and quotes. While at the start of months they are full of customers. And they may not hear your price.

17. Do not rush to buy it

Don’t rush to buy the second hand car. Get all the documents checked. Get satisfied with the car condition and the price. As there can be other car dealers out there, selling you the same car in good condition and less price.

18. Bargain the price

Many car dealers and private owners don’t tell the price in the advertisement or on the phone.  They first want to know your claim.  Don’t rush to empty your wallet. Always bargain the price as the car seller is always taking more profit. You should also know model’s current market price to do the negotiation.

19. Do Necessary Paper work

Do all the necessary paper work for the second hand car’s registration, title transfer, service history and logbook. Be sure to take all the original documents and licensing of the car from the owner.

20. Get the Key and Ride your car

After all the paper work is done and the cash is paid don’t forget to get the key. Ride your car and enjoy driving.


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