Five tips for buying used cars

27/11/2019 - 17:00 | ,   | jeogeorge

Come April 2020, and the Indian automobile industry will see a significant shift from the sale of BS-IV-compliant vehicles to those that conform with BS-VI norms. While only time will tell if the sales of BSVI vehicles would be higher than those of the BSIV-compliant models, the used car market is believed to certainly go up. This is due to the fact that the BS-IV vehicles will continue to sell in the used car market at considerably economical prices. Witnessing the probable growth in the sales of used cars in India, following are the top five key points to consider while going for one:-

Body style

This is the first and foremost aspect one considers when going for a used car. You need to keep in mind what kind of body style is your actual requirement. If your commutes are small and you are on a budget, going for a hatchback is a safe option. If you are already using a car and want to upgrade to a bigger option, going for a compact or a midsize sedan or a compact SUV is a viable choice to make.

India-bound Toyota Etios Platinum (facelift) sedan and hatchback revealed in Brazil

Choosing between a sedan and an SUV is purely dependent on your driving cycle – if your driving involves urban and highway runabouts, going for a sedan ensures better and more pliant driving experience. On the other hand, going for an SUV will be a more wiser decision if your commutes involve driving mostly over rough patches and roads filled with potholes and sharp speed breakers. And lastly, if you are looking for a vehicle for your large joint family, opting a seven-seater MUV or SUV is the best decision you can make.


This is one aspect which many people keep at the top in their priority list, and it should rightly be done. Going for a brand which has better reach in remote areas when it comes to after-sales experience matters for most, and it is where Maruti Suzuki scores heavily with its extensive sales and service network across India.

Maruti Suzuki Swift front bumper

After Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota, Tata, Mahindra and Honda are five other brands which have gained popularity in the used car market with their sufficient reach in urban as well as rural areas. All of these brands have some popular offerings in their respective line-ups, which do command a respectable value in the used car market. Lastly, international brands like Ford, Volkswagen, Skoda and Renault, which still have a long way to go when it comes to their reach in rural markets, are preferable only when you are staying in urban areas and bigger cities.

Brands like Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Fiat, which have clouds of uncertainty wandering over them owing to their extremely limited service network and unavailability of spare parts after a certain period of time, are usually not preferred in the used car market.

Exterior checks

The health and condition of a used car are preliminarily checked on the basis of its visual appeal on the outside. Usually, there are four main things which you should visually inspect while looking at a used car in the very glance – dents, scratches, paint chipping and rust formation.

Firstly, while viewing the vehicle from the front, check whether headlamps are fogged. Usually, the headlamps of older vehicles are prone to fogging or getting paler due to penetration of water or fog due to the breakage of vacuum seals. Also, many cars nowadays come with chrome garnish on the front grille and around fog lamps, the rusting of which should also be checked.

Secondly, check for all kinds of dents and scratches all around the body of the car. There is a strong possibility of scratches, which are usually not clear in photographs but are visible in case of a closer inspection. These kinds of scratches are formed while parking in tight spots or manoeuvring through congested urban traffic. Thirdly, check whether the body panels are prone to paint chipping, especially on the edges. And finally, inspect any kind of rust formation in hidden areas like inner wheel arches and underbody as well as scratches.

Interior checks

While many people do not check the interior with that intensity as other aspects, the interior cabin should be inspected with equal importance. Check all the dashboard and door panels and ensure whether they are properly opening and closing. Also, have a keen ear over any type of ratting or squeaking. Check whether the height, sliding and reclining adjustments of seats and steering

2019 Maruti Eeco Dashboard

Moving towards the rear of the car, usually people do not inspect the condition of rubber lining and coverings around the inner boot lid, which prevent the penetration of water within the boot compartment. Do have a thorough check of this aspect as well, along with the more obvious inspection of the condition of spare tyre as well as tool kit. In case of the absence of the spare tyre, try to negotiate to a lower price and ensure that you purchase the missing tyre before you start using the car.

Mechanical and electrical checks

It is always advisable to have the mechanical and electrical components checked by a certified or trustable mechanic, especially the ones present under the bonnet. Components like that of engine, alternator, battery and tyres do need a thorough test with respect to their life and operations.

New Datsun Go Facelift Engine Bay

Ensure that you have a test drive along with your mechanic to inspect whether there is any kind of unwarranted noise or vibration coming from the engine, gearbox, brakes and tyres. In case if you notice any kind of suspicion, try to negotiate for a lower price citing that particular reason.

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