Practice. Ten things to know before buying a used car

1. A well-defined budget

Defining the price that can reasonably be invested in the purchase of a new vehicle is not that simple. If you finance the car through a loan, what monthly benefit can you set aside for this purchase? Are you sure you can repay this amount every month? By cash payment, have you kept a small savings in case of a hard blow, or simply a breakdown? Real questions to ask yourself before you fall for the “car of your dreams”. By wisely defining a maximum budget, you can direct your research accordingly. On box pages, you can sort the answers by selecting a price range.

2. Clearly define your needs

It is a significant step in the purchasing decision. How do you want to use the vehicle? Do you lack space for e.g. baby chairs? What type of trips will be made? If you only take short trips in the city, we can avoid buying a diesel, which is totally unsuitable. On the other hand, a hybrid engine would be possible. There are as many cars as drivers, it is up to you to define your real needs.


Photo Lynxen

3. Choose the right model

For many buyers, the choice of vehicle is limited to very vague criteria such as “petrol” or “diesel”, “property” or “sedan”. But each car family is available in several versions. If you are looking for an economical car, you should be aware that there will be a gap between the version equipped with the base engine and the same car with, for example, V6 engine. Before we crack, we find out the exact version of the model. We can thus check the technical sheet, the consumption, the price of the insurance or simply the cost of replacing the tires, which can vary from simple to triple depending on the version.

4. Check the status of the vehicle in detail

Before inspecting the vehicle at all, it must be inspected. We start with the body and the condition of the paint. A difference in shade, ill-fitting panels should warn you. This vehicle has definitely suffered an accident and the repairs are poorly done. Uneven tire wear can also be the result of a twisted chassis. Inside, the general condition is also an indication. Check each accessory.

5. Take a test drive

Be aware of any suspicious noises or smoke at startup. The steering must be perfect, precise and not have any hard points. In a straight line, release the steering wheel to check that the vehicle is driving straight ahead. You can also perform emergency braking, making sure not to be followed. When holding still, with the parking brake applied, try starting in third gear. The car was to stop. Otherwise, and if the clutch slips, it will definitely show marked wear. It needs to be replaced soon. Finally, the water temperature on the dashboard is monitored. When it is hot, the temperature should not move.

6 I’m checking the car’s history

After confirming the identity of the seller and the name of the gray card, you should definitely go through an essential step. See vehicle history. For several years now, the government has been making the history of all vehicles available online. By connecting to histovec.gouv you can check the number of previous owners, the year of the vehicle or even the exact model. But you can also check that its mileage has not been tampered with by the fact that it has not been seriously damaged or declared stolen. Important!

Illustration Adobe Stock

Illustration Adobe Stock

7. Negotiation

We are not all equal when it comes to this delicate phase. So much the more reason to come up with arguments. Have you seen other similar models at a better price? Print the ads and show them to the seller. Do you urgently need a new car? Never tell the seller. During the test or inspection of the vehicle, every small defect should work to your advantage. Identifying these small imperfections and indicating them at the time of sale closing should allow you to bid below the advertised price.

8. Documents to be submitted

In order to complete the sale, certain documents must be handed over. They make up the sales file. The gray card crossed out, signed and dated the day of sale will be the first piece. A copy of the transfer certificate (Cerfa 15776 * 01 version 2018) will also be completed. The seller must submit a technical inspection report of less than six months for vehicles over four years old. The buyer is also sent a certificate of non-mortgaging, also called a certificate of administrative status. These documents are available online for free. Print them before the appointment.

9. Is the deposit mandatory?

There is no requirement for a buyer to pay down payment for a used car. However, in the case of payment of an advance, it is necessary to define whether it is a deposit or a deposit. The payment of a deposit obliges the parties and constitutes a promise of sale. It will be very difficult to retire. If we are talking about a deposit, either party can change its mind. But beware, if the buyer no longer wants to buy the vehicle, he will lose the money already paid.

10. We are thinking of insuring the car

From the moment you cross out the gray card, the car is no longer under the responsibility of the seller’s insurance company. You must have insured your new car in advance. The car must have an insurance contract when you take possession of it.

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