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Tips For Buying Used Car (What we should do before?)

Updated on November 10, 2009

Tips for Buying Used Car

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What about my Hub here :

It is about Tips for Buying Used Car / Basic principles of assessing a used car before buy it / Things should do before buy an used car. They all same terms and that what I'm trying to share with you here in my Hub.

There are so many do's and don'ts before you start buying used car, It iyour homework. It take a lot more things before you buy an used car rather than you do when getting yourself a brand new car. It may save you some money. Here I write down some Basic principles of assessing a used car before you buy it. Consider your driving habits, what the car will be used for, and your budget. Research models, options, costs, repair records, safety tests, and mileage through libraries, book stores, and web sites. So be prepared before you start the car buying proces. If you do, you won't get any trouble in future. Here i try to advice Tips about things that you should do before Buying Used Cars.

Determine what type and model you wants

Think about what the car will be used for, that fits with your needs. If your family has outgrown the sedan, you may want to consider a minivan. If your sorrounding, job or places you often to visit need off road capabilities, you may consider a 4-wheel truck or SUV.  And, if your last child has moved away to college, you may just want to consider that sports car you have always yearned for. To decide which type of car you want, you should also write up a list of car options and discuss with some people. Such items may include features such as an automatic transmission; power steering and brakes; good gas mileage; air bags or adjustable seats. Once you have narrowed down the type of car you are in the market for, finally settle on a model which suits for you so you can easily compare their conditions and pick the correct model without any doubt. This is the first Things should do before buy a used car.

Settling your budget

What you should do next?
Buying a used car can be a sound financial decision that will save you thousands of dollars, Next step on Tips for Buying Used Cars. check out enough price information from lowest to the highest for car you are intended. A lowest priced used car, do not guarantee that it will save cost in the future, be aware of it. When you need to save money, absolutely you must save gas and get non problematic machine. The age of the used car is also very important. Study about different car models, prices and its technical specifications. be sure to factor in the expenses that you may not have considered yet such as title transfer and registration fees, and in some states, smog or emissions certification. In addition, your insurance rates may be affected. check with your current agent or online to get a quote. Once you have determine how much money you will spend on buying a used car, it is time to start the next Tips to buy used car.

Car Dealer

Things should do before buy a used car
Things should do before buy a used car
Things should do before buy a used car
Things should do before buy a used car

Car Dealer, The perfect buying Locations

Car Dealer, The perfect buying Locations
You can buy a used car from car dealers who sell both new and used cars, direct from the owners, pre-owned (second hand) car showrooms etc. Newspaper advertisements and other classifieds section will lead you to individual owners it waste more time. I suggest you to buy from a dealer rather than from a second hand car dealer or others. This is next step of Tips Buying Used Car.

Private Party or Dealer Sales, Pros and Cons?
A major difference between buying a used car from a dealer and a private party is the degree of warranty available. the dealers cars range from limited warranties to extended warranties. Conventional wisdom says that used car buyers will get a better deal if they shop for a car through a private party. There is certainly no shortage of used cars being offered by individuals, especially in larger cities and through the car selling websites and online selling.

The advantages of buying a car through a private party are: They are usually highly motivated to sell their extra vehicle, and generally charge less than a dealer will, and many owners can tell you a lot about the car, including all the work that has been done to the car. On the other hand, the majority of used cars sold by individuals will be sold with no warranty and no recourse should a major problem arise with the car.

If you decide to buy a used car at a dealership, there are many advantages as well. Going to a car lot provides you with many more cars to look at all in one place, saves you time, money and gasoline chasing down addresses all over the city, allows you the option of financing. Some dealers offer a limited return policy, and most offer a range of warranties. Many sales people will make a serious pitch to get you into more of a car (money, newer year, and options) than you went in looking for. Be straight with the models and budget you already determine. The cars from dealers will be systematically inspected and they will offer you service and maintenance warranty. You must check and Verify the dealer’s authenticity i.e for how long he has been in this business and try to get references of his already satisfied customers.

Now, you are ready to plan a trip to your local used car dealer, you are ready to read about the next step of Tips for Buying Used Cars, and Here some basic question (top 10 questions) that you should ask to dealer when plan to buying used car: This is Things you should ask to car dealer before buy a used car.

Top 10 Questions To Ask a Used Car Dealer

Here are Top 10 Questions To Ask a Used Car Dealer :
Don’t feel intimidated when buying a used car from a car dealer, You are the King. Make sure you have done your homework ahead of time about the used car’s values and then consult these Top 10 Questions To Ask a Used Car Dealer. Below is thing you should ask to Car Dealer salesman:

1. If the car is certified, can I see the mechanic’s pre-certification inspection?
Every certified car has to go through an inspection before it can be certified. Ask to see that paperwork to find out what was fixed. It’s a good piece of paper to hold onto for future problems.

2. Who was the vehicle purchased from?
If it was a trade-in to that dealership, ask to see the maintenance records. Tell them they can black out the owner’s name and address. If it was bought at auction, make sure it is gone over with a fine-tooth comb by a mechanic who specializes in inspecting used cars.

3. Who certified a used car that is called certified?
The only certification that means anything is a manufacturer certified pre-owned car. All others are insurance backed programs that I have rarely heard good things about.

4. How long of a test drive can I take?
The used car market is somewhat cold. Take advantage of it. See if the dealer will let you take the car overnight for an extended test drive. Put it in writing that you won’t put more than 100 miles on the odometer, prove you have insurance, and you’ll bring it back with a full tank (if you leave with a full tank).

5. Is a CarFax report provided before purchase?
A reputable dealership will have no problem with this. A disreputable dealership might, or worse yet, might present a doctored report. Make sure the report’s vehicle identification number matches the VIN on the used car you’re looking at.

6. What is the dealership’s return policy?
High-pressure dealerships will probably laugh at this question. However, a consumer friendly dealership will probably give you time to rethink the purchase and at least provide you equal value. No dealership is going to offer you cash back.

7.    What is your cash price for this used car?
Cash is king, even at used car dealerships. Dealers try to make money off financing, but in any market, cash should get you a lower price. Figure to cut 5% off the price. Point out to the dealer it eliminates a lot of work on their end when you plop cash on the table.

8. What new equipment comes as part of the purchase?
See if you can get the dealer to throw in a set of new tires. A timing belt might be a nice touch, too, if the used car’s mileage is approaching 100,000.

9. What service has the dealership performed on the used car since acquiring it?
This helps you determine what value you’re getting for your purchase. Complete overhauls mean you won’t be dealing with service repairs anytime soon after purchasing the car.

10.    Do you take trade-ins?
This makes your life a lot easier if the dealership will handle this for you. Don’t let yourself get tied up in trying to selling your own used car, especially if you hate selling.

Check Outside an Used Car

Tips for Buying Used Cars
Tips for Buying Used Cars

Things you should check on used car

If you have spot your desired car on the dealer parking lot and finalized the car of your choice, next step is go the main part of buying. Checking the car and its documents. Before starting the car, you should watch the whole car externally and internally in a systematic way. You can spend some time check following things, and be sure there is enough checking before you decide to buy it:

Check Outside

  • Go and take a walk around the car and do complete check, the car should be in a driveable state condition.
  • Let the salesman /seller show you the car, but never let them distract you from doing your own complete checks.
  • Look for broken/unclear windows, broken/unclear mirrors, bumps, rust or damaged painting.
  • Then look especially well at the channels on the sides. Look for any rust and injuries.
  • Try to open and close all doors. Look around the doors, both at the doors themselves and the frames around the doors. Try the locks in every door.
  • Look at the wheels and the wheel suspensions.Crouch down in front of each front wheel and look along the length of the car. Both front wheels should be directly in front of the rear. If they're not, it could be that the car has been in a crash with slightly twisted chassis. This is known as crabbing.The wheels should sit neatly in the wheel arches, equally on both sides.
  • Try the suspension by bouncing each of the corners of the car. They should bounce only one or two times in every corner, and without any cracking noise.
  • Look closely at each tyres. Watch for uneven wear, which could mean suspension damage, nicks and gouges. Tyres are expensive, so if they need replacing, use this as a bargaining tool.
  • The minimum tread depth is 1.6mm for the whole way around the tyre. Use a tread depth gauge to see how much is left – the more, the better.
  • Check the gaps between the panels whether they are equal. Run your finger along each to feel if the gap is bigger at one end than the other. Un-even panel gaps could be mean that the car has been in a crash, or if panels have been refitted badly.
  • Check under the car, particularly at the front and back, under the bonnet and under the carpet in the boot for signs of crash damage. Panels should be flat, and free from signs of welding or patching up – if they're not, it's probably had a shunt. Most shunts are minor, low-speed crashes, but you should take extra steps to be sure there aren't any more serious problems.

Checking interior

Check Inside

Next Tips : There are many things need to check inside the used car, as well. Most of which can be a good indication of good car condition.

  • Look around the cabin, a 50,000 mile car shouldn't have a worn or sagging seat or a steering wheel, gear knob or pedal covers which have been worn by lots of use.
  • This is harder to check on more modern models which have electronic mileometers, the miles can be turned back simply by connecting a laptop and entering a new mileage. Either way, make sure the mileage tallies with old MOT certificates and service history.
  • Look closely at the dashboard (the bit which houses the speedometer and other dials). If the car has an older, mechanical-style mileometer which turns as you drive, make sure all the barrels are aligned correctly, turning these back is the oldest trick in the book. If there are fingerprints in there, ask why there could be an honest explanation.
  • Look into the luggage room. Look under carpets and covers. Look especially for cracks, rust or unsymmetrical parts. Such symptoms can indicate that the car has been subjected to an injury.
  • Make sure all the seat belts works, they could indicate a previous crash or general neglect. They're a legal requirement too, if the car is being sold with a new MOT certificate.
  • Make sure all the dashboard and steering column panels are bolted on correctly – they could point to a clocked car, or one which has been stolen, particularly if there are glass fragments on the floor.
  • Don’t be too quick to reject a car, it can be tricky to bolt a dash back together after changing a blown bulb in the instrument panel.
  • Then turn the key so that the electric systems are activated.
  • Try all electric windows, electric mirrors and other commodities that are electrically operated.
  • Make sure all the switches works ,including the heater or air-conditioner and check the front seats move about properly.
  • Try out all lights, including the signal lights and the serene. If some of them do not work, set in a new bulb, to see if this is the only problem.
  • Try the radio, car computer, music equipment and any GPS navigation unit
  • Locate the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You'll find this riveted in the engine bay. There are few reasons why this should have been removed, so be suspicious if there are signs of tampering, you could be looking at a clone, a stolen car given the identity of a write-off. Visit our safety and security centre for more information.
  • The VIN number will also be stamped in the floor beside the driver or passenger seat. A clone will have another number welded on, and are usually quite easy to swap.
  • Modern cars also have the VIN recorded at the base of the windscreen.
  • Check all the numbers match the logbook and your Car History Check documents, if they don't, walk away now.

Checking Under The Bonnet

Check Under The Bonnet

Check the bonnet and look whether the car has been repainted or not. Any problems you miss here could cost you a money, so be thorough. Read basic car checks page more for details on how to do this. 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
  • Check for signs of oil leaks around the top of the engine, but don’t forget to check underneath as this will be where it's most obvious. Road grime can stick to oil, making it even more noticeable.
  • Remove the dipstick, wipe it with a cloth and replace for a couple of seconds. Pull it out again and look at the amount of oil,it should be near the top; if not, the owner hasn’t been looking after it.
  • The oil should be a golden color, sludgy black oil is a sign the engine could be damaged.
  • Look around the oil filler cap for a white mayonnaise-like substance - this is an indication of a damaged head gasket which can be very expensive to put right.

You should do this before buying used car, this is Tips that must you do before you you ask a test drive.

Start the Engine and Check

After having seen the car all over, it is time to start the engine. The Engine should ideally be started when it is cold. when it's easiest to spot starting problems or excessive smoke. Place a hand on the bonnet if it's warm, it's been run recently, so let it cool for a few hours. If need be, come  back later. 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.

  • Listen for sound of uneven motor work, sounds of vibrations or sounds of friction. Do you feel any vibrations outside the normal?
  • When starting the motor, kick the brake pedal. It should easily go down and kick in the brakes when the motor is started. If not, the brake servo can be broken.
  • Listen for unusual or high sounds from the exhaust system indicating breakage.
  • Look at the dashboard panel. Do all indicators work? Does any indicator signal any problem?
  • Try the steering by turning the steering wheels. How much do you have to rotate it before the wheels turn? It should not be more than around 2 cm or 0.8 inch.
  • Try the window washers and the window wipers, and any light wiper and washers.
  • Kick in the clutch, and try all the gears if it is manually geared.
  • Try out the cabin heater or air conditioning.
  • Once the engine has been running for a while, the temperature gauge should sit around the halfway mark.
  • Test the handbrake by pulling it on and trying to drive off gently. If it fails to hold the car back, it will need attention - although most handbrakes will still lose the battle with an engine.

That's all things you should do for pre-eliminary assestment on engine and driving instrument. Lets Go to main part of Tips buying used Car, The Test Drive.

The Test Drive

The Test Drive
Test drive is an essential part of car buying process. Always take the car for at least a 3-4 km test drive. On your test drive, you should drive on as many different kinds of roads and surfaces as possible.  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.Use all the gears, and don't forget reverse. the gear change should be slick and smooth, and the clutch pedal should 'bite' between the top and middle of the pedal's travel. If the clutch doesn't disengage until the pedal is on or near the floor, it needs adjusting or replacing - expensive. 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. If you're driving an automatic, there shouldn't be any slurring, whining or banging. 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. Look at the figures for motor temperature. Is it in the normal range? At the end of the test-drive, park the car on clean ground and look into the motor room. Do you see any oil leaks, or water leaks, or is there any unexpected high temperature? Is there any smell of burnt substance? Is there any smell of gasoline or diesel? Note down all your findings. And lets go to the next level Tips for buying used car

Decide to buy or not?

Tips for Buying Used Cars
Tips for Buying Used Cars


After the test drive, you must decide several things based on the findings.If you have decided that this is the car type for you, then think further.

  • Is the car in such a technical condition that it is possible to bring it to the standard you want? If not, decline the offer.
  • Then think about how much time and effort the repair of the car will cost you. Even though you let a workshop repair the car, you must spend time by bringing the car to and from the workshop, by explaining what to repair, by waiting, by checking after repair, and so on.
  • What do you think the repair of the car will cost?
  • Now you can decide if the car is worth buying after all, and assume the maximal prize worth paying.
  • As the last point, discuss the prize with the seller, even if it is within the right prize range.
  • Then at last, after all checking, and all thinking, and discussing the prize, you can decide to buy or not.

Once again, don’t feel intimidated when buying a used car from a car dealer, This is important tips. You are the King. Make sure you have done your homework above and decide based on above Tips. Also remember that an used car always has faults that reduce the comfort of using the car or that must be repaired before using it comfortably and safely. This is all right, as long the prize you pay is not too high when you also add the prize, time and efforts for subsequent repair and adjustments. Used cars can some money. As long as you have done adequate research, and you take proper care of your car through regular maintenance, your new "used car" should serve you well for many miles and years to come.

Check The Documents

Check The Documents
After you fall in love and decide to buy the car, Check all the Documents properly before the final payment, it 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.Here are the step:

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 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.

If you already follow all above Tips for buying used car, then go for the contract. But again please do not sign a contract and pay advance for the car with anyone until you are sure the car is perfect for you.

It's your Deal..

Tips Buying a Used Car
Tips Buying a Used Car

Final Thoughts on Buying a Used Car

Final Thoughts on Buying a Used Car
Buying for a used car can take quite a bit of time and energy, as you already read above. But if you are committed to the process and follow these simple guidelines, I bet that you will walk away with a deal that you can be proud of. A used car always has faults that reduce the comfort of using the car or that must be repaired before using it comfortably and safely. This is all right, as long the prize you pay is not too high when you also add the prize, time and efforts for subsequent repair and adjustments. Used cars can some money. As long as you have done adequate research, and you take proper care of your car through regular maintenance, your new "used car" should serve you well for many miles and years to come.

If you follow all these tips and take along the checklist, you will definitely be satisfied with your "Brand New" Used car. Haha, I'm also confuse with the words, but that's it , I finally done to  write down The Tips for Buying Used Car. Hope it is useful for they who needs it.

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