Guide to Buy a Used Car

Guide Buy Used Car

If your aim is saving money, or have fewer resources, buying a used car or a second hand car instead of a new one can spare you big bucks in many ways. Here is a guide to buy a used car or second hand car:

Buying a new car is getting more difficult nowadays. Not just there are a plenty of new cars to choose from, the used car area is also beginning to make a very powerful position for itself especially in India. A used second hand car, truth be told, bodes well for first-time purchasers updating from public transportation or bikes, or besides, somebody wishing to purchase a second car for the family but have a tight budget.

Here are some tips for buying used cars in India:

1.    Fix a budget

2.    Choose right car models

3.    Shortlist cars online or offline

4.    Contact seller

5.    Test drive the vehicle

6.    Check vehicle documents and service history

7.    Get professional car inspection

8.    Negotiate price and close deal

Let us get into the details of each point listed above. This will help you get to your trusted used car quickly.

Fix a budget: Buying a used car or a pre-owned car is much more complex than buying a new car. Every second hand car is different irrespective of the brand and the model. Fixing a budget is important as this nails down to the maximum investment that you would want to put while purchasing a second hand car.

Choose right car models: Identify the top 2 – 3 models of vehicle that you would want to go with in your quest of having the perfect pre-owned car for yourself. Choosing the right car model does not end at finalizing the Car Brand and the Car Model. When you are planning to buy a second hand car, age of vehicle i.e. year of manufacturing becomes a very important parameter while choosing the right car model. Your choice of model should essentially then be Maruti Baleno not older than 5 years or a Hyundai  Verna not older than 8 years. Given the driving conditions in India and the quality of roads, we suggest that you prefer vehicles which are less than 6 years old especially if choosing a diesel variant of the vehicle.

Shortlist Cars Online and Offline: There are many platforms where you can look for old used cars now. Online mediums are preferred now. Visit websites like OLX, Quikr, Droom, Truebil, Spinny to get a hold of used cars. Platforms that OLX and Quikr allow sellers to list vehicle without any inspection which implies that you need to put a lot of effort to check the quality of the vehicle, but the good part is that you get used cars relatively cheaper. Platforms like Droom, Truebil, Spinny, Carnation, Mahindra First Choice they have a thorough inspection process and thus vehicles are well tested and appropriately priced.

Contact Seller: Once you have shortlisted your second hand car of choice, contact the seller and schedule an appointment for a test drive.

Test Drive the vehicle: Test drive and visual inspection of vehicle are very important aspects while owning a used car. Below we highlight important points to check while evaluating a used car. We break the evaluation in 2 parts:

1.    Inspection of vehicle when stationary

2.    Inspection of second hand car during test drive

Here you go:

Buying second hand car checklist: Know important things to look at while inspecting the vehicle without professional help of a car mechanic or a professional used car evaluator.

•    Check Exterior Dents and Scratches

•    Review vehicle interiors for any stains

•    Inspect electricals: Central Locking, power windows, power steering, reverse parking sensors, all sensors via dashboard lights

•    Check Mileage: Avg. vehicle usage in India is less than 15,000 kms in a year. Check if the vehicle has been driven for above average usage during the time of ownership

•    Check vehicle rusting: underbody is very prone to rusting

•    Air Conditioning: Quality of cooling, air flow

•    Check Stepni and car tools

•    Visually inspect engine after opening the carbonnet

•    Check car battery for any corrosion

•    Check all mounts in the vehicle shocker mounts, engine mounts and silencer mounts

•    Check Tyrequality

•    Oil leakage Inspection

Buying second hand car procedure – How to check vehicle during test drive: Real test drive of the vehicle gives the real feel of the vehicle. If you are thorough with the vehicle test drive, you can get a sense of expenditure that you will have to incur to get the vehicle in top shape. Here are things that you should check when you take the second hand car on a test drive.

•    Check for noise or vibration

•    Quality of vehicle braking

•    Test suspension and shockers on bumpy roads

•    Check smoothness of gear shifting

•    Check Car Dashboard

•    Check alignment and balancing

•    Air Conditioning effectiveness

Let us get into some details of all the above mentioned points to really understand what it means when the second hand vehicle is being taken on a test drive.

Check for noise or vibration: When test driving the second hand vehicle, turn off the stereo system and check for any excessive noises or vibrations. If you feel anything suspicious, get the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a professional car mechanic like pitcrew

Check quality of vehicle braking: When you are test driving the used car that is in your consideration set, do try braking the car multiple times and listen to any noises that the car may give. Any noises while braking can give you an assessment of whether the brake need replacement or not

Test suspension and shockers on bumpy roads: Take the second hand car on bumpy roads and through the potholes and listen to how the shockers and the suspension react. If there are any excessive noises, then suspension repair work may be needed which can create a dent in your pocket

Check smoothness of gear shifting: For manual vehicles, gears should not get held to one position and should not take extra effort to move from one position to another. If this happens then gear box may have some issues which can cause a worry in future. Seek help from a professional car repair mechanic to allay any fears

Check Car Dashboard: See if all dashboard dials are working fine and also any sensor warnings come up while driving.

Check alignment and balancing: When test driving the used car that you are planning to buy, check if the steering is left unhandled while driving, does the vehicle travel straight or move toward left / right. If you observe vehicle tilting towards either left or right, then any of the following things may be required

a.    Alignment and Balancing of vehicle

b.    One of more tyres may have worn out and may require replacement

c.    Some issue with the suspension which may require some work

Check vehicle documents and service history:

Here is a list of documents to check before buying a used car in India

•    Check Registration Certificate

•    Pollution Certificate

•    Car Insurance

•    Check vehicle invoice

•    Any ongoing car loan

•    Service History Record

Let us review each of these points in detail to understand them better.

Registration Certificate: When reviewing the RC, please check who the real owner of the vehicle is and is the current owner the 1st owner or not. Check the validity of the RC, this gives sense of how old the vehicle is. Match the Chassis Number of the vehicle to the one mentioned in the RC. One very important aspect to check is whether the car is under any kind of hypothecation or not. Refer to the ongoing car loan point below.

Pollution Certificate: Review the PUC thoroughly and see if the vehicle meets all pollutions norms or not. Check the validity of the pollution certificate. We also suggest that if you choose to go ahead with buying the used vehicle, do ensure that the vehicle is tested at a reputed pollution center. This gives a real sense of the vehicle meeting all pollution norms

Car Insurance: Check type of insurance (Third Party, Comprehensive, Zero Dep) and the date of expiry. Check the No Claim Bonus discount that the current vehicle owner had in the current policy. This will give an idea if any claims have been taken in the past or not. Here is the discount percentage that you receive with every year of no insurance claim:

•    1st Year – Nil

•    2nd Year – 20%

•    3rd Year – 25%

•    4th Year – 35%

•    5th Year – 45%

•    6th Year Onwards – 50%

This grid simply means that if the vehicle is more than 6 years old, then if the second hand vehicle that you plan to purchase has a 50% NCB (no claim bonus) the vehicle has never used any claim and the driver is a safe driver.

Check Vehicle Invoice: Though this may not be a very important document to verify at this stage, but the document is essentially a tax invoice of the vehicle when it is purchased new. The car dealer provides this invoice to the owner and is normally kept handy with all the vehicle documents.

Ongoing Car Loan: Most of the vehicles are purchased on loans. When purchasing a used car in India, be sure that the car loan has been cleared and relevant documents have been attained from the bank or the loan provider. In the vehicle RC, it is also mentioned that the car is under hypothecation i.e. and ongoing car loan is taken and the vehicle acts as a security for that. When a car loan is cleared it is mandatory to get the RC modified and should not state any kind of hypothecation.

Service History Record: Whenever the vehicle undergoes periodic maintenance or repairs normal practice of the dealer is to update the service history record booklet that is provided with the car. Reviewing this booklet can give a sense of the regularity with which services are carried out. As all of us know that due to high costs at the authorized dealer, invariably the car owners move to outside multi brand garages after the vehicle warranty expires. Most car owners normally keep a record of all car service and repair invoices with them handy. Review this record to get a sense of what has happened with the vehicle in the past.

Get professional car inspection: Though we have highlighted a lot of Do it yourself stuff above, but seeking professional car inspection from a workshop like Pitcrew once you have finalized the used car of your choice is important. A professional car mechanic or used car evaluator can help give a sense of the quality of the vehicle and the expenses required post purchase of the vehicle.

Negotiate price and close deal: Once everything is done and you have finalized the second hand car of your choice, negotiate price and close the deal with the seller. Do ensure that you get the car documents transferred in your name eventually.

In summary, here are some used car buying tips and tricks:

•    Always get the vehicle inspected from a professional car mechanic

•    Get a car scanning done before buying the vehicle. It may trigger some unexpected surprises

•    Get a thorough under body inspection of the vehicle and check for any rusting etc.

•    Remember to get the vehicle transferred in the name of buyer

•    Drive and check the car – hear for sound like clunk from suspension and steering, ensure the vehicle runs straight, clutch doesn’t slip, brakes pull up easily without pulling or pounding, and steering ought to be tight and not have unnecessary activity in it.

•    Check the car’s history for service records

•    Check mileage – around 15,000km or less per year is average.

•    Ensure all switch gear works, particularly central door locking, doors mirrors, electric windows, reversing sensors

Pitcrew is also preparing a downloadable checklist document which you can use as a ready reference when inspecting a second hand car. This will be your guide to ensure that any unexpected surprises do not come up after the used car has been purchased.

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