Trade secrets on how to buy a secondhand vehicle


A few weeks ago, the hubby and I embarked on buying a new secondhand vehicle. Since the eldest child is going to college and will be driving one of the cars exclusively, we needed to reconfigure a bit our vehicle assignments.

We have a rule that we should just keep cars for about three to four years when bought brand new, so we do not need to go through the pains of repair and maintenance when wear and tear kicks in.

Pros of buying secondhand

You don’t suffer the burden of depreciation.

They have a saying that the moment your drive out of the dealership, your car loses 20 percent of its value.

The possibility of getting a more premium brand.

In the Philippines, premium brands have a lower resale value because of the higher maintenance cost.

For a price of a brand new mid-market vehicle, you may get a secondhand premium brand, albeit an older model.

Cons of not buying brand new

You don’t know how the car was treated by the previous owner

You lose the thrill of being the first owner.

Easier financing

We used to operate a repair shop, so it was quite easy for the husband to spot a good buy. Here are some trade secrets on what to look for in buying a secondhand vehicles.

Evidence of repainting.

Repainted cars can mean two things: either the car was not treated with care, or it got into an accident.
Check for pinholes, colors or gloss that don’t match. Look at the car in the sun or a well-lit place.

Check the condition of the touch points such as steering wheels, gas and brake pedals.

If these are worn out, it means the previous owners were very rough in their use of the vehicles.

The smell of the aircon when you first turn it on.

One of the tell-tale signs of the car being a flooded vehicle is when the aircon smells like wet socks or a wet dog.

Check the trunk lid and lift the cover of the spare tire for signs of flooding.

This is one of the parts usually taken for granted during repair or cleaning, so sometimes, it will show watermarks on both metal and carpet cover.

Check under the hood for possible signs of repair.

Again, a portion is usually taken for granted during repair. If you see a different color or mismatched gloss and quality of paint inside, there is a significant possibility the car has been repaired.

Compare the state of tire and mileage.

If the tires are brand new, and the mileage is a bit high, the car was a workhorse.

If the mileage is low, and the tire is worn out, it could be that the mileage instrument was tampered with.

Also, if the tires are worn out, consider the price of replacement tires on top of the purchase price for the vehicle.

It’s better to buy stock than cars that are heavily modified.

Modification usually voids any warranty given by the dealership to the vehicles.

It is a given that you go for low mileage and newer vehicles.

Since we recommend that you keep the car for three to four years only, the newer it is, the longer you can keep it.

And if you find a vehicle that fits into these two criteria, always ask why the owners are selling it.

One of the reasons owners sell a relatively new and low-mileage vehicle is the possibility that it’s a lemon.

Happy shopping!

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