Buying a Second Hand Car

Jun 22nd, 2011 | By | Category: Car Buying & Selling Tips

Buying a second hand car is always an exciting moment. There’s a wide range of second hand cars available on the market, and quick decision makers can sometimes find a real bargain. But it’s important to do your homework and make sure you’re well informed.

Below you can find some hands-on tips that can relieve you from headaches.

After all, you want to know the pitfalls and don’t want to buy an over-priced car with lots of shortcomings.

Pay the correct price

Your quest to buy a qualitative second hand car should start by shopping around and look for the best deal. Be aware of what the current value is of second hand vehicles similar to the car you’re interested in, so you’re prepared to start the buying process and you’re in a strong position to negotiate.

Don’t just focus on the price of the car itself, but also pay attention to additional expenses like insurance, road tax and fuel economy.

Inspecting vehicles

Once you’re done with your pre-shopping preparations, you’ve found the car that suits your needs and wishes best. And after some phone calls you have made an appointment with someone who sounds confident and wants to sell his car. -Great!

If you’re not familiar with buying a second hand car and you lack some technical expertise, it’s a good idea to ask a knowledgeable friend to join you.

Together you can carefully inspect the car and run through a checklist to examine the general condition of the vehicle.

Start your inspection by looking at the bodywork. Be sure to do this in good daylight.

Look for signs of repairs or damage. If the car is over five years old, carefully pay attention to see if there are any rust spots on the paintwork.

You can use imperfections and scratches on the car as an argument during the negotiation to bargain down the price.

Once you’re done with the bodywork and tires you can continue your inspection inside the car. Check what the condition of the seats is, that all electronics work and especially whether the mileage corresponds with the general condition of the car.

Ask for a test drive

Even if the interior looks brand-new, the car looks great on the outside and the engine isn’t dirty at all, you always need to ask for a test drive.

Once you’re behind the wheel for a short trip you should not only be alert to weird noises. Pay attention to the engine, steering, transmission, brakes and the general handling of the car.

Proper documentation

After test driving the car it’s time to check the paper work. Does the chassis number match the registration document? Are you sure the car has a recent test certificate?

After these basic checks, ask to see if there are any service records available.

This is important in order to trace the history of the car and to see whether the owner maintained the car well.

If you have completed all checks pointed out above and the car passes all tests, you’re ready to make an offer and grab your competitive deal. Good luck!

Bertje De Kegel is a regular blogger from Belgium and has recently bought a used car through Cars On The Web, an auction site where you can find a top quality selection of used cars.


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