10 Tips on Buying a Used Car in the Philippines
Published: April 29, 2021 | Updated: July 23, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Car Insurance
You’ve decided to purchase a used car, and you’ve started to hunt for the right one 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?
Used cars are raging in the Philippine auto industry today. Take it from all the online communities where car advertising websites and car sellers are in speaking terms.
Buying a used car can help you get value for your money. However, purchasing a second-hand car is more difficult than getting a brand new one. This is why apart from getting auto insurance in the Philippines, it’s important that you be very meticulous and careful when buying a pre-owned vehicle. Here are some tips on how to buy second hand car in the Philippines.
Table of Contents
- How to Buy Second Hand Car: Tips to Protect Yourself
- 1. Research Your Options Extensively
- 2. Compare Used Car Prices
- 3. Check the Mileage
- 4. Set a Reasonable Budget
- 5. Dig Deeper into the Car’s History
- 6. Check the Second Hand Car Thoroughly for Red Flags
- 7. Never Skip the Test Drive
- 8. Negotiate a Fair Price
- 9. Check the Documents Needed When Buying a Used Car
- 10. Don’t Forget Insurance
- Final Thoughts
How to Buy Second Hand Car: Tips to Protect Yourself
1. Research Your Options Extensively
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.
Compare all the cars in your mind with your budget. Check your prospect’s specifications, variant, and model. This way, you can trim down all your options and will just stick to what precise car you really need and want.
Compare prices and read reviews of your desired car. Listen to what others have to say especially to those who have first-hand experience of buying or owning the car. If you’re looking online, check out what netizens have to say about a certain post. Most of the time, they give out the information you’re looking for.
You can also ask for pointers and leads from your friends and colleagues who bought a second-hand vehicle. Join forums, especially the ones that focus on your target make or model, and ask questions. Check out the second-hand car listings on classifieds on newspapers and websites to know how much your preferred model costs.
2. Compare Used Car Prices
As you browse through different buy-and-sell websites, make a price comparison of the model you want to buy. Also, check out the specs of the lowest-priced units—they might have higher mileage or they might be older year models. This is one of the most important tips on how to buy second hand car.
Planning to purchase a second-hand car through an auto loan? Compute first how much you’ll be paying for the interest and compare how much it will cost you versus paying the full amount in cash.
3. Check the Mileage
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 vehicle is. The older it is, 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 vehicles 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.
4. Set a Reasonable Budget
On top of the car’s purchase price, set aside an amount for the repair and replacement costs that will prep it 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.
5. Dig Deeper into the Car’s History
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 vehicle? This is important when learning how to buy second hand car. To protect yourself, here are some ways to find out.
- Check the car’s Certificate of Registration (CR) and Original Receipt (OR) issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Make sure that the vehicle details on these documents are consistent and correct. The seller or former owner of the unit should provide copies to you.
- Ask for the anti-carnapping clearance issued by the PNP Highway Patrol Group.
- Verify if it has a bad record in the LTO. Simply text LTO<space>VEHICLE<space>PLATE NUMBER to 2600 (e.g., LTO VEHICLE ABC123). This text service will send you relevant details about the vehicle, such as its year, make, and model, registration date, color, and if it has any LTO apprehension or alarm.
Keep the original copies and photocopy in multiples. Always ask for a receipt or any paperwork with all the seller’s full details on it. Sign a Deed of Sale and have it notarized. For transfer of ownership, bring the car to Camp Karingal for macro-etching and secure a PNP clearance.
Don’t be fooled by scammers and know your facts and deeds when you want to get a quality used car.
6. Check the Second Hand Car Thoroughly for Red Flags
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:
- Filler on the engine block
- Inconsistencies in the paint quality
- Touch-ups that cover scratched or bent parts
- Components that don’t work properly
- Mismatched tires
Not confident with your vehicle inspection skills? Take it to a trusted mechanic and let him do the job for you.
7. Never Skip the Test Drive
Sometimes, you don’t get what you really want when you see posts online or talk to the seller on the phone. It’s best to see the seller and your car by yourself.
Ask if the car has any records of accidents or major repairs such as transmission rebuilds, valve jobs, or engine overhauls.
Did the car pass your visual inspection? Good! The next step is test driving the unit. Insist on driving it for a test—if the seller refuses, just walk away. You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on a vehicle that’s cheap but will cause you headaches in the long run. Refer to this full checklist when test driving a second-hand vehicle.
8. Negotiate a Fair Price
You will get great deals when you ask for it. Put yourself in the shoe of the seller. Wouldn’t you put a higher price at first because you’re familiar with this buying phase? If not with the price, negotiate with the car add-ons like car insurance and accessories.
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 vehicle.
9. Check the Documents Needed When Buying a Used Car
Make sure that the car you plan to buy is clean. Check these documents with the seller to avoid inconvenience upon purchase of the second-hand vehicle.
- Original copy of Certificate of Vehicle Registration (CR) – this will prove that the car is registered and has no unsettled police reports or unpaid fines.
- Original receipt of registration (OR) – ensure that the receipt is consistent with the details on the Certificate of Vehicle Registration.
- Original LTO plate number – check the plate number of the vehicle. It should have the sticker of the current year of registration. For cars with new license plates, check the sticker placed inside the right side of the windshield to know if it’s registered with the LTO.
- Notarized Deed of Sale – have a deed of sale ready before paying the vehicle. This document will protect you. Without this, the transaction is null and void.
10. Don’t Forget Insurance
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.
Buying a second-hand vehicle may sound like a tedious process but it can be easy if you know your options well. Take the buying process seriously to ensure a wise purchase. Note down our tips on how to buy second hand car.
-  10 tips for secondhand-car buyers (Leuterio, 2013)
-  Inspecting a used car (Consumer Reports)
-  Used Car Test Drive Checklist (Balance Pro)
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.