The used car market in India is growing at a fast pace. There are many channels, portals and unorganized dealers through which you can buy a used car. But what are the things that should be kept in mind to pick out the best car from the lot? We explain.
Daylight is the best light
While many showrooms install fancy lights, there is a big reason behind the same. Artificial lights can hide minor scratches, small dents and other rough surfaces on car’s body. If you’re going to check the car you have shortlisted, always insist on doing the visual inspection in daylight.
Natural light is the best light to figure out the uneven surfaces, small scratches and minor dents. Also, it is better to take an extra pair of eyes to check a used car. A friend or an accomplice who likes to be around cars can be quite helpful while visually inspecting the car.
Take an opinion of the mechanic
You may be good with cars but a person whose daily jobs is around vehicles will identify the problems quicker. Always take it to a known mechanic or a trusted mechanic in your locality. The mechanic will help you identify the most common problems and will also tell you the condition of the engine and other critical parts better than the salesman in the showroom.
VIN and service records
Every car gets a unique number called VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), which can tell you a lot about the vehicle. The VIN helps in identifying the month and year of manufacturing of the vehicle. Also, you can use the number to get the service records from the manufacturer’s dealership on owner’s request.
Always check service records thoroughly to see if the vehicle has missed any service. Remember, if the vehicle is under warranty and it has missed a service, the manufacturer may not entertain the warranty claim if a problem erupts in the vehicle.
Longer test drives
Shorter test drives do no reveal the vehicle’s real character. Take a longer test drive and put the vehicle in different road conditions like potholes and bad surfaces to check the suspension. Also, accelerate and use the brakes to full potential to know their potency and health status of the engine. Always insist on a test drive of at least 5 km.
Inspect insurance claims
The insurance records are available with the service centres and can be given to you if the owner requests the same. The insurance record can tell you if the vehicle has been involved in any severe accidents. Vehicles involved in severe accidents are not as stable and strong as new vehicles. Sometimes, the accidents can also damage the chassis, which can disorient the alignment of the vehicle.
Recalls are important
Manufacturers issue recalls of vehicles for the safety and the proper functioning of the vehicle. You can get to know about the recalls from the authorized dealerships who can also confirm if the concerned car has attended all the recalls. Never go for a vehicle that has missed a recall. It can void the warranty on the vehicle and can cause unpredictable breakdowns.
One should never ignore rust or paint jobs that are patchy. Many car owners themselves are unaware of rust building on their vehicle. Check the car’s underbody, running boards and engine bay mounts for rust. Always remember that the rust weakens the metal and can break the part if it is put under severe pressure. Ignore such vehicles.
Research the market
Always talk to the owners who have a similar vehicle and go out to the service centres to know if the spare parts are available easily. This is extremely important for older vehicles, which have gone out of production. Non-availability of the spare parts can lead to higher maintenance costs.
Too lucrative usually = Scam
If you sense that the owner is in too hurry to sell the vehicle and is ready to offer you an unbelievable deal, you should stop and do a thorough check. Such owners can sell you a vehicle with a serious problem or other defect hidden behind that price tag. Always be extra cautious with such vehicles.
There is a lot of paperwork tied to a vehicle. Always inspect them closely. Check the registration certificate, insurance papers and bank loan papers. If the vehicle was bought on loan, make sure that you get NOC. It will be needed when you get the vehicle transferred to your name after the deal.