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Best tips for buying an used car

Diane Luke
Senior Editor, TipsHire

Willing to buy an used car? Then, you should know that you might get a faulty car. Here are the best tips for buying an used car.

Define your budget

Some of us remember the times when the gesture of buying an used car could be assimilated to a dentist’s visit. Times have changed, now we have access to information, so experience itself is not as stressful anymore. You need, however, a rule that you have to follow exactly: “do your lessons.”

You are the one who decides how much he wants and how much he can spend on a car. It’s just the first step and you have to keep your decision from scratch. Then, does it matter a lot from where you buy the used car from: an authorized vendor or from a private person?

You do not have to forget about taxes, registration or insurance. As a general rule, they should not exceed 10% of the car’s price.

As soon as you decide what is the maximum price you want, look for information about the car you want. Here most of the buyers are wrong. Sometimes the car you want is not the right car for you. Make a list of what you need and, in the end, compare this list with the models that come close to your needs. Choose the best option and start looking.

What is the car that suits you?

OK, if you got here, we’re sure you already have a model in mind. It does not, however, make the mistake of neglecting the value of the car you are driving at this time. Your new investment may depend on what you have been doing so far.

It is very important to make a comparison, in terms of necessity, between what you are leading now and what you are going to buy. If you do not, you will find yourself buying a car that does not help you so much.

Find out the car’s value

At this point, we are going to get rid of several options:

  • Second-hand car from an authorized vendor: It can be a reputable company to trust and answer your demands seriously. The cars they sell may have warranties or revisions paid and are at certain standards. This, unfortunately, also means higher prices.
  • Second-hand car from private seller: It’s the area where you need to be very careful and gather all the possible information. Not just about the car. Eventually, when you go to see the vehicle, take with you a mechanical friend, it could be a real help. Check out all the car papers and find out the price.
  • Second-hand car bought online: We do not advise you to buy something in your second hand without seeing what it is about in front of you. If you trust the seller, you could make this purchase, but it’s risky in many ways.

Contact and exchange information with the seller

If the person who sells the car you want is the private person, it’s very important to find out why he sells it. Ask him / her to describe your car and ask if he has anything against a visit to a mechanic.

It is also very important if the car is in circulation. If what the seller says is satisfactory, he sets up a meeting to see the vehicle.

Find out, if possible, the entire history of your car

Car works are the most important form of protection against car sharks. You do not have to buy a problem just because you were not meticulous.

Check the serial number of the car and, if it does not fit, give up the deal. Also ask for the revisions of the car, you could find out how it was maintained. Equally important is to check the history of the model. If it does not match what the seller says, give up.

Search for any problems

A physical evaluation of the car is extremely important. Do not rush and examine it carefully. Here’s what you need to look at:

  • poor wheel alignment: it can cost more than you need;
  • signs of body repair: it may mean that the car has been involved in an accident;
  • Reprints: can hide more serious problems;
  • cracks on the engine block: there is much of the car’s value;
  • flood signs: you do not want to invest in something already corroded;
  • signs of abuse: it is very important, you can not know how he led the current owner.

If everything looks right and you like the offer, there might be something that can help you: get in touch with the maker. If it is a more recent model, there may be warranty terms.

Make a test drive

Maybe it looks and sounds good, but more importantly how it is driving. Do not rush before going to the road, spend some time on the driver’s seat and check every function. Here’s what you need to be careful about in a drive test:

  • seat comfort: you’ll spend some time driving, after all;
  • Inner ergonomics: It is necessary to check if the car fits your height or your loved ones, but also its space and functionality;
  • on-board lights: if something does not work, insist on being repaired or changed;
  • engine noise: you will rely on it from here;
  • Driving vibrations: You do not want a problem car in this respect;
  • brakes: are more important than many others.

Check the car with a mechanic

If there are problems at any of the points above, go to the specialist and evaluate the repair costs. This is also the moment when you can begin negotiations for a price. Finally, record in the contract for what you pay in conditions.

Negotiate the price you want

If you buy from an authorized salesperson, this negotiation may end with an extended warranty or with one or two revisions included. In the case of a private person, the price may be lower and you know (if necessary) the former owner. Incidentally, most of the cars bought from the first owner are in pretty good condition.


You are one step away from buying the car you want. Any agreement between you and the seller must be put on paper and signed by both parties. Only after this step can you switch to the “goods” exchange.

These simple tips for buying an used car can help you a lot when deciding to opt for a second-hand vehicle.

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Best tips for buying an used car
Some of us remember the times when the gesture of buying an used car could be assimilated to a dentist's visit. Times have changed, now we have access to information, so experience itself is not as stressful anymore.
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