How to make a risk-free used car purchase

Buying is a car and buying a laptop have many features in common. You want both of them to have the best features so that you can boast about them to your friends, and you want both to last long enough for a couple of massive salary hikes. When you buy a car, you would want it to last at least 5 years, isn’t it?

Market growth of pre-owned cars

First-time car buyers are increasingly choosing to purchase a pre-owned car rather than a new car. According to a report by IndianBlueBook, 3.3 million units of used cars are sold in India in a year, 20% more than new cars. A Deloitte research also showed that 73% of the cars in the used-car market are bought by first-time buyers. One of the primary dilemmas people face when buying their first car is whether they should go for a new car or a pre-owned car. While there are plenty of considerations that go into making a final decision, the primary questions revolve around cost and discounts, usability and reliability, mileage, loan terms, how much damage you are likely to cause your car in the first year of driving, etc. Let us look at some of the reasons why a used car is a good choice as your first car.

Why choose a used car?

Here are some fabulous reasons for you to consider pre-owned cars this year:

#Condition of the vehicle: Unlike years ago, used cars are not always in bad condition these days. Nowadays you get cars that are less than 5 years old, unlike a decade ago when used cars were most definitely no less than 10 years old. People like to change or upgrade their cars every few years, making it easier for those looking for good-quality used cars. So you can buy younger cars at a lower price and make it last almost as long as or more than the previous owner. Also, there are authorised pre-owned car sellers who ensure that the vehicle being sold is in prime condition – or at least as good a condition it can be in at its age. So much so that “second-hand cars” has become an obsolete term, because the cars are not mere hand-me-downs.

#Easier ways to buy: From authorised pre-owned car showrooms of different brands, at online sites such as Carwale, Quickr and Cardekho, buying a used car has never been this easy. You can do your research, check out the features and specifications, and even take a look at the car online. You can contact the buyer directly and get a service centre professional to examine the vehicle. In addition, almost all banks also provide loans for used cars, making the purchase quite convenient.

#Value for money: You can get a relatively new car – 1-4 years old – at a lower price in the case of used cars. For example, a 2-year-old Chevrolet Beat is available at Rs.3.6 lakh in the market while a new Beat costs around Rs.4.9 lakh. Some vehicles might even cost just half of the new model’s price. While you might miss on the latest upgrades, the difference is not too much in terms of utility.

#Driving practice: Here’s something people don’t usually discuss. If you are a new driver, your car is likely to end up being at least slightly bruised at the end of the first year itself, thanks to your rickety driving skills. The car insurance policy may cover the damages, but you still end up with dents on your cars. If you’ve bought a new car, you’re expediting its age with the denting. Bumping swanky new cars on dividers or random construction debris on the footpath isn’t something you want to do. If practising driving is one of your plans, then used cars suit the need perfectly, making the whole experience guilt-free.

What to check when buying used cars

The biggest problem with pre-owned cars is that there might be some problem with the inner workings of the vehicle that you do not catch in your initial check. To ensure that you get a good deal in the used car segment, you need to look for the following things before buying a pre-owned car:

1. Ensure that the car is certified and has an active warranty. If you’re buying a vehicle through an authorised dealer or automobile websites, you can purchase a 6-month or 1-year warranty.
2. Select the car brand and model with care. Choose a manufacturer whose service stations and spare parts are easily accessible.
3. If you’re planning to take a bank loan to fund your car purchase, you need to ensure that you’re buying the vehicle from a certified agency. The agency will take care of car verification as per bank requirements.
4. Ensure that all the documents have been transferred to you by the previous owner. This includes transfer of ownership of the car, transfer of car insurance papers, and warranties. Proof of sale is also very important.
5. Do not skip the test drive. You need to be sure that the car also meets your comfort levels while driving.

Cost is an important factor to consider when buying a used car. Bank loans are stricter and costlier when it comes to used cars. The interest rates are around 3-5% higher than for new cars, and you might have to bear additional processing fee and pre-payment fees. Apart from this, used cars might need to service a pre-owned car more often than a new car. So before buying ensure that the vehicle has been regularly serviced and needs minimal maintenance. Even if you are in the last portion of your car purchase, do not hesitate to walk away from the deal if the car or the sales agreement does not meet your expectations. After all, the car will be your constant companion for a long time. You don’t want to make mistakes with it.


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