The auto industry in India is currently going through some of the worst times ever. With dwindling demand due to many factors that have impacted the industry, customer sentiment is at its lowest when it comes to vehicle purchase. However, the numbers from the used car industry show that on the flipside, buyers are looking at second-hand models instead of buying brand new vehicles.
The reason for buying used cars for most people is simple. As it is used-car, the second or following owner does not have to take the depreciation hit. Additionally, with the latest technology being used in manufacturing and modern parts, vehicles in modern times are more reliable than they were in the not-so-distant past of Indian motoring. Modern cars are built to a higher standard and last much longer.
However, buying a used vehicle also bring about quite a few uncertainties. These come in the form of the vehicle’s history. Has the vehicle been treated well, are all the papers in order, has it been in a crash previously, one even needs to factor in if the vehicle is stolen or not. So here are six essential used car buying tips you need to know before buying a pre-owned vehicle.
1. Budgeting: The very first thing you need to do before you buy a used car is to know your budget. Finalise the amount how much your current finances will allow you to spend your willing to spend. Additionally, since you cannot tailor in a particular variant, you will have to take into consideration of certain variants of cars that may or not be available in the second-hand market. So make sure you have some flexibility in your budget and have an upper limit of how much extra you’re willing to spend.
2. Evaluate the Options: Once you have your budget narrowed down, make a list of options that are available in your budget. Make sure to factor in different body styles like SUV, sedan, MPV or even a hatchback. While you can zero in on a particular model you want, you need to be open-minded when looking at the options that are available to you. It is best to list your essential must-haves like safety, interior space, engine size and fuel variant and then find a vehicle that suits all your requirements in that budget. But be ready to compromise if required on different aspects are requirements. Also, check your local laws and find out the maximum registration period for a given type of vehicle. Factor that in that as well and decide how old a vehicle you are willing to buy and how long to expect to keep the vehicle you purchase for.
3. Take Your Pick: Once you finally narrow down the possible choices, go to the dealer or current owner and see the vehicle. Make sure to see it in broad daylight and in dry conditions to get the best understanding of the condition of the car. Inspect the body, interior, engine bay and the paint. Check the available service history of the vehicle as well and also check the tyre tread depth and condition of the tyres of the vehicle. Look for obvious signs of impacts, rust, electrical issues. When everything looks alright, take the car out for a test drive. When test driving a used car, see how the engine performs and if the suspension makes noises when going over bumps and through potholes.
4. Vehicle History: Double-check the paperwork of the vehicle before you narrow down your search. Check the remaining warranty, if it has been modified in any way, if it has been repainted, repossessed, stolen, and if the vehicle has been discontinued by the manufacturer or not. The final point is important as this will dictate how long spare parts of the vehicle will be available for the car.
5. Professional inspection: While it may look nice and shiny for the outside, a used car may have problems underneath the skin. If you’re not that savvy with cars, once you zero in on a vehicle you wish to purchase, most dealers will allow you to take the vehicle for a thorough inspection in lieu of a security deposit. Schedule an appointment and take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic with a lift or an authorised workshop of the brand of the car for a professional inspection. Usually, these workshops charge a nominal fee to inspect. The benefit of that is that the authorised workshop of the brand may also reveal if the odometer has been tampered with or not from their records and also reveal any expenses that you may need to incur soon down the line.
6. The Negotiation: Remember that as the buyer you are in charge as the salesman wants to sell as soon as possible, but you have the right to refuse the purchase. Most sales executives will have tactics to try and extract as much money as they can, so be careful. Provide your offer after all the evaluations and also mention the conditions if there are any (like short time warranty). Make sure to be stubborn with your offer. If you sense anything that is unnerving, walk away from the deal. if the dealer is reluctant to meet your offer, leave your contact details and walk away from the deal if you can. If the dealer is unable to find another buyer willing to eclipse your offer, it is likely they will call you back and accept your offer.
Once the deal is done, initiate all the paperwork to transfer the vehicle to the new owner’s name. Make sure to collect the previous owner’s registration in order to be able to legally confirm vehicle ownership.