Buying a used vehicle especially in the Philippines can be a daunting task. It’s always a gamble when buying a second-hand car as there are many factors to take into account for. However, we have created 7 tips that will help you with your used car purchase. Each one will help guide you in getting the best deal all while helping you understand what to look out for.
Manage your expectations
The first and most important tip is to manage your expectations, as you are after all buying a used vehicle. It will not be brand new and as such it will already come with a few flaws and imperfections. Assume that you will also need to replace parts especially if you are in the market for an older model. These usually come in the form of consumables such as the timing belt and the tires. These degrade over time and may not have been replaced prior to the vehicle being put up for sale. With that in mind, it brings you to tip number 2.
Do your research
When it comes to looking for your ideal second-hand vehicle take a look at what the market has to offer. Look for the specific make and model as well as the variant you want for your vehicle. This will help you narrow down your choices and compare other options. It will also give you a good general idea of what to expect in terms of its price range. As much as possible go for a completely stock vehicle as there will be less to be worried about. A modified vehicle may seem tempting, however, these modifications may not have been installed properly and could cost you down the line.
Doing research will also help you look for the best deals when it comes to private sellers as you can negotiate with them. Alternatively, you could go for certified pre-owned vehicles instead if your budget permits. These oftentimes, come with a warranty and are in better general condition as they are thoroughly inspected before being sold.
Check on the mileage
While doing your research, make sure to check on the mileage of the vehicle as well. The more affordable vehicle isn’t necessarily the best one to buy. Usually, the higher the mileage a vehicle has the older it is. There are, however, some cases where that isn’t true and you will find a newer unit with more miles on it. Either way, this is a good general indicator of how “used” the vehicle is and what parts could need replacement down the line. If the vehicle is a newer unit but comes with high mileage, ask the seller if the vehicle was used primarily on the highway. Despite having higher mileage, a vehicle used primarily on the highway will be in better condition compared to one used in the city. As a general rule of thumb, do not consider vehicles that have mileage higher than 60,000km will likely be worn out unless you are specifically looking for an older model.
Check the paperwork and the vehicle’s history
Another important tip is to always check if the paperwork is correct and up to date. This will help give you a general idea of what the vehicle’s condition is and if it has been in any accidents or has been damaged in some form or another. Check if the car’s Certificate of Registration (CR) and Original Receipt (OR) are legitimate and are up to date. Check with the PNP highway patrol group as well to see if the vehicle has been carnapped or has been flagged to be part of a crime. Verify with the LTO as well if the vehicle has a bad record or if it’s clean.
As much as possible consider vehicles that have updated registrations or at the very least has been expired for no more than one year. This will lessen the cost to put the vehicle under your own name and re-register it later on.
Allocate a budget for repairs and insurance
Once you have found the exact vehicle you want, make sure to budget for repairs. This is especially important if you are buying from a private seller as the vehicle may not have gone through inspection prior to going on sale. More often than not something will be in need of replacement or repairs so make sure to set aside some time and money for this eventuality. A general rule of thumb is to set aside about 20% of the car’s second-hand price for repairs. Even if you don’t need it immediately it’s still handy to have money for emergency repairs.
Make sure to also set aside a bit of money for insurance as second-hand vehicles do not come with an insurance plan. This will help save you from more expensive repairs later on in the event that an accident occurs.
Make sure to visit the unit and bring a mechanic
While the vehicle may look pristine in its photos, nothing beats physically visiting the unit. Seeing the vehicle in person will give you a general idea of what to expect out of it and will help you get the most out of your hard-earned money. If possible make sure to also bring a trusted mechanic with you as they can spot possible problems that you might miss when you do your walk around. As you are eying to buy the vehicle don’t be afraid to open up the compartments and look under the vehicle to see if everything is still in good condition.
If the seller permits, bring the vehicle up onto a lifter to further see what is going on underneath. This will help you see if the car has been in a crash or has been recently repaired. You can also use the opportunity to check if the seller has indeed replaced the parts that were indicated in their ad for the vehicle.
Test drive the vehicle
Once you have done your visual inspection of the vehicle, make sure to give it a good test drive. In this manner, you will see what else is wrong with the vehicle and what needs to be replaced. Driving to smooth roads and then over bumps to see if the suspension is doing its job. Make sure to also check if the vehicle still drives straight, if it doesn’t this could mean something is broken or an alignment is needed later on. If possible also ask a friend or your trusted mechanic to drive behind you during the test drive to see if the vehicle indeed drives straight. There are some instances where a vehicle may feel like it’s driving straight on the inside, however, on the outside, it is a different story. Making sure that the vehicle drives correctly now will save you from the future hassle and future expenses if you decide to buy the car.