Important Considerations while buying an old car -
Step 1: Know what you want and your budget
We feel buying an old car is as significant a decision, as buying a new car. So beforeyou go ahead with your hunt, assess what your needs are, just like you do when you decide to buy a new car
- What kind of shopper (intended) user is - brand conscious, quality or cost conscious, safety driven or performance driven?
- What will be the usage pattern - no of family members, driving in city or highways, driving style, powertrain type - petrol, diesel or alternatives, safety requirements (critical to assess, as newer models keep on upgrading safety standards, so older models will have some compromise compared to newer options)
Answers to these questions, will help you not only shortlist your research to fewer models, but also in focused search for that one final car
Nowthe next question which pops up is where to look for these cars, based on priorities defined
- Traditionally a prospective buyer used to reach out to his close friends and relatives to start hunting. The model slowly matured to agents and brokers, selling either through used car showrooms or just being middlemen. Realizing the significant growth in used cars market, OEMs jumped into the field and started offering "Used Car", both as sales platform and exchange platform. But still this would entail a prospective buyer going to these showrooms to check options available.
- But luckily, gone are those days. With e-commerce growing strong in India, a buyer now has option to look at thousands of available cars at multiple channels. Many of these channels have also matured to a level, where not only they provide listing but multiple other value added services also. This takes away a major headache of running around to even shortlist few cars
Each of these channels will have their pros and cons, and a buyer can make a choice based on his appetite. Critical is to manage the hit rate. Use your requirements and budget limits judicially to shortlist only the cars which are relevant. This would save lot of time and effort in finalizing your purchase
Step2: Check the condition of car, leveraging available information
- Year of ownership
- Types of usage (Private, Commercial, Taxi)
- Model Recalls
- Any specific repair/damage history
- Insurance Status
- Asking price vis-à-vis ongoing market price
Easy way out could also be looking at verification reports (available with dealers / online channels)
If certain information is not available, feel free to mark it as a gap for future verification
This should help you get to a second shortlist of cars and a step closer to your purchase
Step 3: Reach out to Seller (post your shortlist of cars)
- Ask right questions
- Check if the car has been in any accidents
- Are service done regularly, when is the next service due date
- Is there a room for price negotiation
- You might confirm some of you key selection criteria (e.g. if Mileage is your top priority, you may want to check on current mileage in city and highways. You can validate the average no in some cars by looking at Mileage Reading)
- Ask any doubts you may have from ads
Don't be shy and be upfront in having a very good understanding of the car
In case of individual sellers, this communication might also give you some insights on seller's impression and their integrity. Leverage the communication smartly to see if there is a suspicion or trust issue
Step 4: Test Drive the car & get an expert review
For the shortlisted cars, post conversation with seller, the next step is to go on a test drive. Drive the car in multiple environments (city roads, highways, potholes etc.) to see if there are any issues, technical, or NVH related
Also, it is suggested to test drive multiple cars in close interval, as this would give a better understanding on comparison across the cars
Test drive will also give you an opportunity to look at both interiors and exterior of car in more detail While this should give you a better feel of car, there will always be certain things which only a professional would be able to guide on
A professional can help you look out for the things which you will probably never catch. For e.g. if a car has been repainted, a professional can still catch that, while it might be difficult for you
Also, a professional can look under the hood for any damages or conduct a test drive checking things which are critical, e.g., ensuring that test drive vehicle is cold started, as many defects might be noticeable only under that condition, being more cautious about NVH while driving etc.
They might also be able to give you a sense whether the vehicle needs to go up the lift or not, which means that whether vehicle seems accidental and needs to be checked in workshop
This is actually the most critical and difficult step for abuyer and aprofessional help is highly recommended. This is also one of the areas where multiple e-platforms are providing buyers with either pre-verified reports on a long checklist or an option to get verification done at a small cost
Professional can also guide you on right valuation. Extra investments required refurbishments, etc.
Step 5: Purchase
Closing the deal means many things, and a buyer needs to get all elements in place, to successfully close the deal
- Negotiating and finalizing the price - typically all the used cars have scope for negotiation, whether it's sold through dealers or individuals. The scope with individuals is higher though.
- Checking all the relevant documents - Check for Registration Certificate (RC), Insurance, Pollution, Loan Documents
- It is also advisable to check if there are any pending challans. These days such information is available on online RTO websites
- Title Transfer - This could be achieved through third party agents or directly at RTO. Many online channels are also offering this facility
- Insurance - Ensure that vehicle is well covered. If not, you can either directly reach out to insurance agencies, online insurance aggregators, or some used car portals who provide services like these. It is important to ensure that car is covered for both self and third party damages
- Refurbishments - if you plan to get any
- Selecting Extended warranties – if required
We at Wheel Monk believe that explosion of information through internet has on one hand provided expanded opportunities for buyers in terms of options and on the other hand are also trying to create a fair play by offering services like verification
This should make it much easier for used car buyers to make right choices without always living under constant fear that something can go wrong with their purchase.