10 common mistakes second-hand car buyers should avoid

So, you've decided to bite the bullet and purchase a second-hand car. That's not an uncommon choice in the Philippines, where frugality and practicality are desirable traits for any person. That said, buying a used vehicle isn't always as simple as it seems. 

Whether you're looking at a workhorse pickup truck like the Isuzu D-MAX or a family MPV like the Mitsubishi Xpander, you'll need to have a keen eye to close a great deal. We present ten of the most common mistakes second-hand car buyers should avoid.

How a car looks is a huge consideration for many buyers, but it shouldn't be your sole basis for purchasing a second-hand vehicle. You'd be leaving a lot of viable options on the table if you stick with what you think looks best. At the very least, you should check out other available vehicles on the used market. You just might find a diamond in the rough. 

A vehicle is a big purchase, and you'd be remiss to buy one without even taking it for a test drive. Often, you won't know if you truly love a car until you actually take it for a spin. Test driving a used car is virtually non-negotiable. Do it and get valuable first-hand experience before you take out your checkbook. 

Unless you know your way around an engine, taking your best mechanic to check out a used car is often the right decision. They'd be able to spot important details that you wouldn't have even given a second look at if you came alone. A trusted mechanic can also tell you what overall shape the car is in and whether it would be a smart move to buy it. 

Again, a trusted mechanic would do wonders here. Many buyers tend to forget to check out the underside of a used car, but it's just as crucial as any other aspect of buying a second-hand vehicle. Check the undercarriage for any corrosion, leaks, or damage. You'll thank yourself later.

While we're on the point of vehicle damage, it's an absolute necessity to ask the owner about the car's service history. Is it still under warranty? Do they have the service booklet? Has the vehicle been in any major accidents? Which parts, if any, have been replaced? These are critical questions to ask before buying any used car.

You may have found a perfect used car, but the ability to walk away always comes in handy. It ensures you won't compromise when the deal becomes less than ideal, and it's just a convenient way to protect yourself. Always look at multiple vehicles and never commit to any model until you're ready to sign the papers.

Used cars are almost always cheaper than brand new ones, but that doesn't mean you can't set a sensible budget. Do your research and set a limit on what you're willing to spend for a particular model. That will help you find a deal that fits your needs and financial status. 

When buying any vehicle, it's all too easy to be blinded by our desires. It happens to the best of us. So, find a friend or family member to review the transaction before finalizing everything. They might see something in your blind spot that can save you hundreds of thousands of pesos.

Insurance can be a forgotten consideration when shopping for used cars. Yet, it's one of the most significant aspects you'll have to think about. As you may know, insurance rates can vary wildly depending on many factors. So, doing a bit of research beforehand can not only give you a leg up on negotiations but also help you prepare for any future costs the used car might accrue.

Lastly, there's the issue of traffic violations. We assume you know to check if the vehicle matches its license plate number, but you should also check if the plate has any violations attached to it. The MMDA's "May Huli Ba?" feature allows anyone to view a particular plate number for any pending violations that have yet to be settled. Of course, you don't want any trouble down the road, so take a few minutes to check this online.

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