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Tips For Buying A Second Hand Car

Updated on March 12, 2011

Buying a second hand car is always risky unless you know the seller. This is the reason why most used car buyers prefer to purchase cars from known owners but then also there is not any guarantee that the car had never had any major accidents or will not require lots of repair work and/or long term maintenance problems, so for buying a used car, you need to know go through some essential tips for buying a second hand car which are explained below.

Things to check before buying a second hand car:

Tip #1: Engine Condition

The most important part of an automobile is an engine. If the engine has worn off or gives an unusual sound when it is turned on, then there might be some issue. Get the car engine evaluated by a trusted and experienced car mechanic in your area.

Tip #2: Mileage

This is another important factor. A car which gives low mileage is of little or no use because it will just broaden the hole in your pocket instead of giving you financial relief.

Tip #3: Accidental History

History of any major accidents can be confirmed by touching the pillars. Open the bonnet and check the pillars of car. If the pillars are soft and give a rubbery push when pressed with nails, then the car is not accidental and if the pillars are rigid and tight, then it is an indication of a major car accident where it might have been possible that the car had not totaled but then also an accidental car should not be bought because of low resale value when you will sell it after a few years and it will keep giving you various problems throughout your ownership of the car.


Tip #4: Check for past claims from the insurance company

You need to check for any past claims the previous owner had filed with the insurance company. This is another important tip to check the accidental history of used car.

Tip #5: Let your mechanic test the car

Before buying any used car, you should get it checked with your trusted mechanic. If the mechanic says it is okay to buy the car, then you can progress forward with the purchase and if you are in doubt, you can take a second opinion by confirming with another mechanic. Most good car mechanics around the world take very nominal charges for doing this and the plus point is that you can also confirm the real current price of that car.

Tip #6: Records from local R.T.O

Checking the documentation and paperwork of the car is another important factor, so go ahead and check the records of the car from your local registration authority. You need to be aware of agents selling used cars and if you don’t have other option and would like to buy a car from a used car dealer, then the best thing is to get all the paperwork of the used car evaluated.

Tip #7: Visible scratches, dents, and cracks

If the car has any scratches, dents, and cracks but the condition of the car is good keeping in mind the factors mentioned above, then you can go ahead with purchase of the car because dents, cracks, and scratches are minor problems that are visible and the most problematic things are hidden problems lying within the car.

What price should I pay for a used car or second hand car?

In general a 1-year-old second hand car goes for 80% of the new price of the car (depends on the mileage).

I hope the above tips will help you in buying the best second hand car.


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    • Pkittock profile image


      6 years ago from Minnesota

      why would low mileage be a bad thing?

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      Thanks for the beautiful tips for buying a secondhand car, Even I came accross this article please take a look

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I agree with your views ftclick and malfunctions. Thanks for your comments.

    • multifunctions profile image

      Sanjay Sapre 

      8 years ago from India

      yes you have covered all the points that are necessary for second hand car which is a growing market in India but i think the difference in first hand buying and second hand one is that in second hand you have to have patience till you get the car of your like , selecting on a time line sometimes get you a bad choice.

    • ftclick profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, definitely have a mechanic check it out BEFORE you buy. I got a salvage vehicle which passed smog check and everything else, yet once i brought it to my Toyota mechanic he was surprised that the front end still held together since it was screwed/bolted in half-a$$.

      It will give you peace of mind because now you are hesitant to drive it like you stole it.


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