Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Tips for Buying Used Cars

There are so many do's and don'ts when it comes to buying a used car. In fact you have to take care of a lot more things than you do when getting yourself a brand new car. So be prepared before you start the car buying process. Try to get as much information as you can from reviews, from your near ones and compare options.

  • Settling on a Model

    Think about your needs, your budget and your driving habits. Study about different car models, prices and its technical specifications. Finally settle on a model which suits your lifestyle and image. It will help you to narrow your choice down, when you test drive a few different cars of the same model. You can easily compare their conditions and pick the correct one without any doubt. The age of the car is very important.  

  • Payment Options

    If you are depending on a finance company for payment, do search for good finance companies, their interest, monthly payment options, duration of loan etc and evaluate with your budget. There will be so many advertisements to lure you. Try to understand the following aspects before you apply for a loan. ! The actual price of the vehicle,  ! The amount you are going to finance, ! The monthly Payment & duration, ! The total amount you should pay (Your loan, including service charge and interest + the initial  payment).

  • Buying Locations

    You can buy a used car from different outlets: Car dealers; who sell both new and used cars, direct from the owners, pre-owned (second hand) car showrooms etc. Buying from a dealer will be an advisable option rather than from a second hand car dealer. The cars from dealers will be systematically inspected and moreover they will offer you service and maintenance warranty. You can also insist on confirmation to tax and pollution test. Verify the dealerís authenticity i.e for how long he has been in this business and try to get references of his already satisfied customers.  News paper advertisements and other classifieds section will lead you to inpidual owners. Enquire the reasons for selling the car, how the car was used,  and get permission for the car to be checked by your mechanic. Try to find out whether the car has been in any accident and always make sure that its condition is stable. Sale of cars from the owner will be on an "as is" basis and he may not offer you any service and maintenance warranty. 

  • Test Drive 

    Test- driving is an essential part of car buying process. Always take the car for at least a 3-4 km test drive. Drive the car in different types of roads and observe your comfort levels during the drive. Make sure the engine starts rightly, the steering is not vibrating and there is no unusual sounds and vibrations. Vibrating steering means a front end trouble. Apply brakes properly at the speed of about 30-50 km to check that the car stops in a straight line. Check that the speedometer and mileage recorder is working. Clutch should be smooth in its operation. When releasing the clutch, the car should move gradually without uneven jerks. Try each gear and note whether the car jumps out of gear. At the end of the test-drive, park the car on clean ground and look for oil leaks from the engine or gearbox. 

Things to check

Having finalized the car of your choice, now comes the main part of buying. i.e checking the car and its documents. You can spend some time checking the following things:

  • The first parameter is the year of registration of the car. A 3-5 year old car that has traveled 14,000 to 18,000 Km a year are prime buys. 

  • Check the Odometer reading of the car and calculate with the year of manufacture. Important thing to remember is that there is a possibility of Odometer tampering irrespective of a mechanical or electronic odometer. 

  • Check the engine, it should be smooth starter. A well maintained engine would not  produce any unusual noise and emit blue or black smoke while accelerating. Also check for oil spouting from exhaust.

  • If the Tyres are not in a good condition, there is a chance of bargaining for up to 1000 rupees. Look for the wear and tear and also the alignment. Check bushings, springs and sounds from the bearings. Wheel bearings can be expensive.

  • Check the bonnet and look whether the car has been repainted or not. Check for acid wear and tear around the battery areas, it indicates the car has not been maintained by the earlier owner.

  • If the battery is not new, there is another chance of decreasing the price of the car by 2, 500. 

  • If the seller claims, there is an audio system in the car, check if its in working condition. 

  • Check on electrical components, lightings and dippers, cabin lights, hind lights and reverse lights and their workings. Check the AC by taking a round in the afternoon, check how it functions with a/c on / off climbing a slope.


Checking all the Documents properly before the final payment is a must. Always ask the seller for the Registration papers. These documents are required to transfer the vehicle ownership. The certificate also provide the purchaser a chance to confirm vehicle ownership. Confirm the seller is the first owner of the car.

  • Blue book (Registration Certificate)-  Check if it is a duplicate or not. Check with the RTO for further authentication. Check Engine No and Chasis number are matching with the Numbers in the Registration Papers. Check the state of registration, mentioned in the papers. The state mentioned in the paper should be the state where you are planning to use the car. If not make sure that the seller do the necessary things to transfer the registration to the state that you are planning to use. Check for the RTO Tax receipt. 

  • Insurance Certificate- This is the most important certificate of the car. Check for any prior accidents claims. This certificate is a must for any transfer by RTO.

  • Pollution Under Control certificate - This is a must for transfer of name. 

  • BMC or Municipality certificate, if applicable. This is absolutely necessary if the car is registered in a municipal area.

  • Road Tax: Ensure that the seller gives you the papers related to road tax or clears all payments before he sells the car to you.

  • Other Documents: If you are planning to buy a used car that was bought on finance by the seller, remember to collect the following documents in addition to the above-mentioned ones. Try to get the original invoice of the car from the owner.

  • NOC (No Objection Certificate): NOC issued by the finance company. This document ensures that the finance company has no claim on the car anymore. Form 35: You must keep a copy of this form duly signed by the financier.