Budgetary considerations top the list of reasons why people often decide to purchase a used car rather than opting for a new one; but there are other reasons too. Today's vehicles are designed to run for many more kilometres than the models of yesteryear. Many people by nature or philosophical bent are opposed to the idea of buying new cars. Some of the people in this camp baulk at the amount of money lost through the depreciation of a new vehicle the minute they are driven out of the showroom. Others think that buying a new car is simply a waste of money― their focus is purely on the function of an automobile (to take you from point A to point B) and hold the status element of driving a new car in disdain. Collectors of vintage cars turn their noses up at the latest models and opt instead for purchasing a classic that can be both transportation and a favoured hobby. At the end of the day, it is only you can decide if a new or used car is the best choice for you and your family. Spend some time considering your options, discuss the idea with your family and friends, and do some window shopping before you make your decision. But once you decide to opt for a used car, it is time to move on to the next step.
Decide upon your budget
At the very inception, decide upon your budget. Figure out exactly how much you are willing to spend on the car and also allocate a certain portion of the fund for immediate repairs or upgrades that you will require such as new tyres, music system, etc. Once you have your budget in place then set out to check out the market and see what is on offer.
It is strongly advisable to survey the market when looking for a used car. You should try and find out which are the best cars on offer that fit your budget. Buying a pre-owned car means that you can afford a bigger and better sedan at the price of a new hatchback. There are company owned used car outlets such as First Choice and True Value, which are a good starting point. You can then check with independent used car dealers as well as private owners who are looking at selling their car through the classifieds. You can also refer to various publications and online automobile sites which carry information about buying and selling of used cars. This survey will help you figure out what is in the market as well as the going rate on various cars that you might be interested in.
Selecting the car
Zero down on a car that best suits your requirements. Bear in mind that if you choose a bigger car, it might be cheap to buy (because it is pre-owned), but ownership will involve maintenance and running costs that are associated owning such cars. In India, generally Japanese cars enjoy the best long-term resale value because of their reliability; diesel cars too fair well in the second-hand car market. Reliability should be top priority on your checklist; research it by looking at the quality ratings of each car.
Check the history of the car you have finalised
A very important step in getting a good used car deal is to get the history report of the car. Check service history of the car and also try and have a word with the owner of the car. It is also a good idea to take along a reliable mechanic to check the car out. Items that you should definitely look for are any signs of a major accident (usually a keen eye can spot major paint work done on a vehicle), unusual wear and tear on tyres and suspension bushings and at this point it would be a good idea to take the car out for a drive and listen for any unusual sounds. Another important element to scan is the paperwork. Make sure the vehicle’s papers are complete and up to date. This will be helpful when transferring the car to your name and you do not want to get stuck with a car that cannot be registered in your name. Only if you are completely satisfied with the car should you continue pursuing it.
Go for a test drive
Get hold of a trusted mechanic and go for a test drive in the car you intend to buy. There is a lot you can learn about the car in this process. Make sure you simulate your normal driving pattern and take the car to roads and areas that you will normally be driving it on. Check the engine for noise and vibration, brake, clutch, gearbox, suspension, rattles and squeaks.
Irrespective of whether you're dealing with a used car dealer or a private party, make sure you let them know that you’re ready to strike the deal on the spot, but you want then to rework the price. At the same time, you need to put up a valid argument as to why you feel that the price is too high. Try putting up an acceptable and rational offer. Walk out in case you’re not comfortable with the deal and avoid falling for offers which might prove to be a loss making proposition.
You could approach rrivate sector banks like HDFC Bank to finance your used car. Public sector banks do not differentiate between new and used cars. Apart from these, Asset Finance companies like Magma Fincorp Limited also finances used cars. The rate of interest in this segment varies between 15 per cent to 18 per cent, based on customer profile, car make and model, its tenure and usage.
Make it a point to check a car’s original documentation for discrepancies. Some documents that a customer should verify include:
1. RTO tax receipt: This is now a one-time tax and the original owner should pay it.
2. Registration of the car: Check for the state of registration and see if the letters “DRC” appear on it anywhere. DRC means Duplicate Registration Certificate.
3. Insurance: Check whether the insurance is comprehensive or basic third-party and when it will expire.
4. Original invoice: Take a look at the car’s original invoice. Details like the chassis and engine numbers can be found here.
5. Finance NOC: If you are looking at a financed car, make sure that the NOC is available.
Finally inspect the car before you take delivery and make sure all the repair work if needed has been carried out. Once all done, you’re ready to drive off in your “New Used Car”.
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