Used Car Buying Guide

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It is always better to go for a used car if you are a greenhorn and have just learnt driving. This way you can refine your driving skills and gain the necessary confidence before investing a substantial amount on new car.
Some of the reasons, which have made used car market, a big attraction are:

  • Less capital investment
  • One can afford a luxury model in relatively less price.
  • Lower depreciation
  • Used car market has developed these days and most car makers now sell certified used cars, which include warranties.
  • Financing rates for used cars have dropped in recent years.

But buying a used car has a few downsides too. Used cars have higher maintenance cost as compared to new cars. You may have to go for replacement of old tyres, battery, clutch plate etc. Used cars have low reliability and they are susceptible to frequent breakdowns. New cars tend to have advanced and more safety features as compared to old cars.
Now that you have decided to buy a used car just follow these simple tips to get the best bargain.
1. Decide your budget: It is always better to have a rough idea of the amount that you can afford to spend on buying the car before starting the car buying process. This way you can avoid overshooting your budget. While deciding about the budget also account for the insurance and other running costs.
2. Finding the right car: Unlike buying a new car you can’t be fastidious while buying a used car. You have to be flexible. If you’re set on one model, in a specific color, with a certain mileage or specification you may find it hard to get a bargain as you’re focusing on a narrow market. If you’re prepared to consider something similar to what you want, you’ll find a much wider choice available and it becomes easier to negotiate.
3. Communicate with the seller: You can buy the used car either from a dealer or from an individual. While buying the car from an individual enquire why he/she is selling the car, how the car was used (single hand, daily commuting etc.), and finally ask for permission to get the car inspected by a car mechanic. If you get the right answers only then proceed further otherwise look for some other seller.
4. Thoroughly inspect the car: While an individual seller may permit you to get the car inspected by a mechanic, a dealer may not be so obliging. Don’t let this stop you from doing some inspection on your own.
Keep following things in mind while inspecting the car.

  • The engine should idle smoothly without surging or sputtering, and accelerate from standstill without bucking or hesitating.
  • Inspect the chassis of the car. The bodyline will give you an indication whether the car has met an accident or not.
  • Look for signs of repainting. Check whether all the body parts are of same colour. Open the trunk, hood and doors. Look for paint specs or over spray-a telltale sign that all or part of the vehicle has been repainted.
  • Check the wheel alignment of cars. Uneven wear and tear of tyres-balding on the sides or in the middle-indicate poor alignment.
  • Check the condition of battery.
  • Check whether all the headlights and indicators are working properly.
  • Check air conditioning for proper operation. Sufficiently heat up the engine to test the efficiency of air conditioner. Check the operations of defroster, heater and fan.

5. Take a test drive: A test drive will give you the feel of the car and help you arrive at the decision whether the car is fit for you or not.
Look out for following things while taking a test drive:

  • With the engine idling before you start your test-drive, turn the steering wheel right and left. There should not be any play in the wheel before the tyres start to turn.
  • The engine should idle smoothly without clattering or metallic sounds, or sharp hissing, in the engine compartment. Normal sound is smooth whirring of belts and fan.
  • Check the condition of clutch plates.
  • Test the brakes on an empty stretch of road. From a speed of 30 kph, apply the brakes hard. The car should stop straight and quickly, without pulling to one side and without any vibration. The pedal feel should be smooth and linear, and stopping the car shouldn’t take a huge effort.

6. Ensure that the paperwork is in order: It is very important to ensure that the paperwork of the vehicle is in order before finalizing the deal. It is quite possible that you may be lured into buying a stolen vehicle by a tempting offer. The checklist for paperwork is as follows:

  • Registration Book (Registration Certificate / RC Book): It is issued by the RTO, showing date and address of registration and a record of the owners of the vehicle. The car’s Engine No. and the Chassis No. should be verified with that shown in the RC Book. If the car has met with an accident which involved changing the cars chassis, then the RC Book would have a noting of the new chassis no. Check the state of registration mentioned in the papers. The state of registration mentioned in the books should be the state in which you intend to use the car otherwise you have to get the registration transferred. Transferring the registration from one state to another is a cumbersome process and hence ensure that the seller transfers the registration to the state in which you plan to use the car.
  • Taxation Book (Tax Certificate / TC Book): This document shows the status of tax paid. The RTO tax is a once in a lifetime tax and should have been paid by the original owner of the car. If the owner of the car has not paid it, it can add up to double digits in thousands, which you will have to ultimately bear.
  • Insurance: Insist on the insurance papers, as these papers are mandatory for any transfer by the RTO. Premium for Insurance is paid on a regular basis and it is advisable to check the due date. Also, ensure transfer of the insurance papers to your name.
  • Invoice: Do not forget to get the original invoice of the car from the original owner. You can know details like engine no., chassis no., date of delivery, delivery dealer and whether the car was financed or not.
  • PUC Certificate: Every car needs a valid PUC certificate. PUC Certificate is valid for a period of 1 year for all new cars and subsequently a certificate has to obtained every six months.

If you are planning to buy a used car that was bought on finance by the seller, remember to collect the following documents in addition to the above mentioned ones.
NOC (No Objection Certificate): NOC issued by the finance company. This document ensures that the finance company has no claim on the car anymore.
Form 35: You must keep a copy of this form duly signed by the financier.
7. Negotiating the price: While negotiating the price keep in mind the condition of the cars. If the car requires some immediate repairs such as change of battery, replacement of tyres, wheel alignment, suspension etc then reduce the price of the car accordingly.
8. Transferring ownership: With the sale of the car the ownership is also changed. The original owner (Transferer) who is selling the car, must inform the RTO with which the car was registered about this transfer, by sending a letter with information about the new owner (Transferee) within a period of 14 days. In case the new owner falls in jurisdiction of another RTO, then the owner has to inform this RTO by sending a similar letter.
The following documents have to be submitted to the RTO to effect the transfer of ownership of the car:

  • Form “TCA” – Intimation of transfer by Transferee (Buyer)
  • Form “TCR” – Intimation of transfer by Transferor (Seller)
  • Form No.29 – Notice of transfer of ownership of vehicle. This form is used to notify the RTO ‘transfer of ownership’ of the car and to obtain confirmation from the RTO.
  • Form No.30 – Report of transfer of ownership of vehicle.
  • Valid Insurance policy
  • PUC Certificate
  • Address proof of the Transferee (Buyer)
  • Evidence of payment of all taxes up-to-date.
  • Form No.28 – Application for N.O.C. and grant of certificate. This form is used to apply for NOC from the RTO for transfer of the vehicle to another RTO’s jurisdiction. This is required when you shift the registration of the car from the jurisdiction of one RTO to another RTO.

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