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Tips for how to buy a secondhand used car and Insurance for under $5000

Updated on November 30, 2010

Be careful of these points when deciding to buy a secondhand car

Tips for buying a secondhand vehicle under $5000

Deciding to buy a second hand car/vehicle/automobile for under $5000 is not an easy and acceptable feat when you have no prior experience in the secondhand,pre owned or used car market place.Used car salesman are not the most trustworthy fellows to deal with and often shirk the fact of a dud car when it breaks down or ends up costing you more for the repairs than you paid for your secondhand car.$5000 is still alot of money to part with.

Here are some tips to helping you decide on the right vehile for under 5000 dollars.

secondhand cars under 5000 dollars

some secondhand cars are not so easy to find parts for

Engine and chassis number

The first criteria for a second hand car to pass is wether the engine and chassis number are true to matching the paperwork provided as the engine may be stolen from another vehicle or the vehicle itself stolen and repainted.It should be relatively easy for the person selling you the vehicle to provide a clearance certificate from the licencing and traffic authority as to the verification of the engine and chassis numbers for the secondhand car

what year will this be secondhand used cars for sale

The electrical system

Do all the lights on the vehicle operate as intended or are some faulty. The electrical system would need to work correctly in order to prevent faulty engine starting problems by draining battery power whilst the car is not being driven as well as constant replacement of globes and so forth. Would you like you new secondhand car to function day and night and be able to start when you need it to. Check the electrical system at a battery replacement centre for charge rate to the alternator circuit and make sure it functions correctly.

Car insurance premiums for secondhand cars

Car Insurance for secondhand cars

What are the insurance premiums ?

Get the car make and model number and do a preliminary insurance quote to get an idea of what the replacement cost is if you are in an unforseen accident. Even if the accident is not your fault, some second hand cars are more expensive due the their availability of parts.

can you find parts for your secondhand car

Secondhand car parts replacement

Can you get replacement parts for your secondhand car ?

Make a phone call to the scrap yard or parts dealer in your area to see what the availability of replacement parts are like for the secondhand vehicle your are interested in purchasing.It is often found that a deal for a secondhand car looks so good, because the are no parts available and you may be left searching the national dealers and paying a fortune in freight costs or having to even import parts that you can not find.

Good brakes and tires are always helpful

Brakes and Tires

Do the brakes work properly?

The owners of second hand cars are notorious for selling their vehicles at a point just before total collapse or failure of the brakes and tire tread.Do a visual inspection of the tire tread by ensuring at least a 2mm tread exists over the entire tire.Bald spots and uneven wear are a sign of poor wheel alignment and poor steering which may lead to expensive repairs in short time.

The emergency brake can easily be tested on a small incline to see if the car rolls back when you take your foot off the brake. 5 to 8 clicks would be fine when you pull up the lever.Any more than 10 clicks indicates poor brakes and necessary replacement off brake shoes, discpads and more expensive discs and linings.

Accident damaged secondhand cars

Signs of accident damage

Do the gaps in the bodywork look even?

Now bearing in mind that you are only spending $5000 or less on your secondhand vehicle can mean that you may expect the car to have been in an accident or two in its lifetime. You can however lie on the ground and do a quick look underneath to see if any rust is visible.

By tapping the body panels can usually identify hollow sounds showing body filler meaning accidents have occured or rust has been hidden and may be worth avoiding the second hand car entirely if reliability is a major concern.

The easiest way to see bodywork is to look with your eye from the rearĀ  tailight down the length of the car for straightness of the body.

As a rule of thumb, red is often chosen to hide accident damage.Never buy a green or brown car as it is the hardest color to march after an accident and usually means respraying the netire car instead of just the damaged panel.

So have you learnt how to use these tips to buy a second hand car for under 5000 dollars.

I hope you remember this information

and the tips given here whenever you buy a used car in your lifetime as it can often prevent the agony of realising that you bought a lemon to late.

If the seller of the secondhand vehicle your are interested in, is not prepared to wait, this can be a sign that there are hidden defects and should tell you to be weary.

Good luck and know that there are still some decent second hand cars available in teh used car market, but armed with these tips, you should have some peace of mind.

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Thanks for reading



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    • Dale Nelson profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Nelson 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the feedback Eddie.Glad you found it useful

    • Eddy2106 profile image


      8 years ago from Chicago Suburb, IL

      Great tips for buying my first car, cause i don't have much to spend right now, useful hub.

    • Dale Nelson profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Nelson 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Quite right Annette. Thanks for the addition.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Another tip: I think it's always a good investment to get the Car Fax report on a car as well. You'll probably have to purchase this yourself when you buy from a private party (some dealerships provide it free). Great information!


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