The dilemma that most first-time car buyers face is whether to go for a brand new car or a used one. Once the decision is taken in favour of a used car, there are a lot of options to choose from. To tap the high demand for used cars in the country, several car manufacturers have opened their own branded used car showrooms.
Like in the case of a brand new car, the cars bought from used car showrooms managed by car manufacturers come with a minimum guarantee in terms of their quality. However, cars bought from non-branded showrooms or agents do not come with any warranty. Therefore, utmost caution has to be taken while buying a second hand car.
Used car showrooms
Until the recent past, company-run dedicated showrooms for used cars were beyond our imagination. However, the market has evolved in the past few years and a lot of company-managed used cars showrooms have come up across the country.
Most car manufacturers have opened used car showrooms and they sell not only their brand of vehicles but also their competitors’. But then, cars sold through these branded used cars showrooms are a little costlier than the ones available elsewhere.
Company-owned used car showrooms sell only cars with a minimum guarantee. The vehicles are repaired, refurbished and the price is calculated based on their condition. Some dealers even offer free services for used cars that are comparatively newer. They also help in transferring the documents of the car in the buyer’s name. Another factor that attracts a lot of customers to used cars showrooms is the availability of auto loans to purchase such cars.
If one decides not to approach branded used cars sellers, he or she can search for a good car in the non-branded second hand car market. A lot of retail dealers, under the banner of ‘Park and Sell’ are dealing in used cars on commission basis.
The general appearance of the car is important. One should watch out for dents or scratches on the car’s body. If the shade of the paint used on the car is different at different spots, it may be a sign that the car has met with an accident. The difference in shades may be because the car was repainted after repairing the dents. If rust is spotted on the metal body of the car, it should be best avoided since patch work is a costly affair.
One should open the bonnet and see if there are any bents in the engine compartment. If the engine compartment is bent, it means that the car has suffered a strong impact from the front. After examining the bonnet, one has to open the boot, remove the spare wheel and check for any welding marks in the wheel well. The presence of any welding marks would again mean that the car has suffered a strong impact from the rear side.
After the bonnet and the boot are examined, one should note down the year of manufacture of the car as marked on its window glasses and compare it with the car’s year of manufacture as stated in its registration certificate. If the glasses do not mention the same year of manufacture as mentioned in the registration certificate, it means that the glasses were changed later. Further, an inspection of the doors and door hinges will give clues as to whether the vehicle has suffered any impact on its sides.
It is said that a car’s interior is the mirror image of its owner’s personality. If the previous owner of the car had taken proper care of his vehicle, its interiors will be clean and in perfect shape. Therefore, a prospective used car buyer should examine the condition of the upholstery and the dashboard. If the accelerator, clutch and brake pedals look worn out, it indicates that the vehicle’s usage was on the higher side. One should also operate the wiper, windshield washer, power windows and other electronic instruments to check if they are working properly.
This is the most crucial element of the whole package. If the car’s engine is not in a good condition, then maintaining it can burn a hole in your pocket. An average buyer will be unable to ascertain the condition of the engine and thus it will be advisable to take an experienced mechanic to examine the engine.
The vehicle should be test driven to check the engine performance, suspensions, braking and gearbox. If the test drive is satisfactory, one should go through the documents of the car and verify them before buying the car.
Other factors to check
One should examine the car’s service history. It would be best if the vehicle has been serviced at the same service centre each time. Further, an examination of the insurance papers will reveal if any claims have been made against the vehicle.
One should try to avoid modified vehicles as far as possible since there is no way to ascertain if the modification was done properly, to what extent and what all parts have been modified and so on. Avoid repainted vehicles and also stay away from cars that are out of production at the time of buying.