You’ve decided to purchase a second-hand car, and you’ve started to hunt for the right used car for you. The next steps will be a lot trickier than the car buying decision. Of course, you want a vehicle in the best condition possible at the lowest price. Just because you’re buying a second-hand car doesn’t mean you’ll settle for a huge piece of junk, right?
So you won’t end up regretting your purchase, be very meticulous and careful when buying a pre-owned vehicle. Here are some tips you need to know before buying a second-hand car.
Before contacting sellers, make sure you arm yourself first with enough knowledge about the used car model you want to buy and its price range.
Ask for pointers and leads from your friends and colleagues who bought a second-hand car. Join car forums, especially the ones that focus on your target make or model, and ask questions. Check out the used car listings on car classifieds on newspapers and websites to know how much your preferred model costs.
During your research, don’t focus only on the prices. The cheapest used cars aren’t necessarily the best ones to purchase—they typically have higher mileage. The higher the mileage is, the older the car is. The older the car, the more parts you have to replace.
So be sure to check or ask the details on the mileage of the car you’re considering to buy. Avoid those cars with a mileage higher than 60,000 km. because these units’ parts are likely to be worn out.
To verify a car’s mileage, pay attention to the pedals and steering wheel during your vehicle inspection. Their condition can speak volumes about the real age of the car.
On top of the car’s purchase price, set aside an amount for the repair and replacement costs that will prep the car for the road. TopGear columnist Andy Leuterio recommends allocating at least 20% of the used car’s price.
For example, set a budget of PHP 100,000 for fixing a second-hand car worth half a million pesos. This way, you’ll spare yourself the stress of taking out cash from your wallet each time a component of your newly purchased vehicle breaks down.
The biggest risk of buying a second-hand car is its history. It may have been stolen, involved in a crime, met an accident, or flooded. How will you know about the service history of a pre-owned car? Here are some ways to find out.
Never agree to buy a used car without doing a thorough inspection yourself. Be as meticulous as possible—check not just the body but also every nook and cranny. Look for red flags that indicate that the car has been involved in an accident or flooding.
Some warning signs to look out for:
Not confident with your vehicle inspection skills? Take the car to a trusted mechanic and let him do the job for you.
Did the car pass your visual inspection? Good! The next step is test driving the unit. Insist on driving the car for a test—if the seller refuses, just walk away. You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on a car that’s cheap but will cause you headaches in the long run.
Refer to this full checklist when test driving a second-hand car.
A full inspection and test drive should give you an accurate idea of the used vehicle’s condition. With that information, come up with a price to be negotiated with the seller. Raise your chance of getting a lower price by pointing out the red flags you discovered while inspecting and test driving the car.
If your newly purchased second-hand car doesn’t come with an insurance plan, you’ll have to buy one on your own before you take it out for a spin. Used cars, like brand-new ones, aren’t exempt from accidents that can drain your money if yours isn’t insured.
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