Buying Used Car? Things To Keep In Mind When Checking A Car


The used car market has become immensely popular in the last few years. In FY’20, the used car market in India was 50 per cent larger than the new car market and by FY’25, the used car market will be approximately 90 per cent larger than the new car market, with total used car sales forecast at 7.1 million units, having a compounded annual growth rate of 11 per cent. Here is a small and handy checklist on exactly what to look at when you are planning to buy a used car. There are chances that you may be misled but it is always better to be prepared.  

(The Maruti Suzuki Swift is a popular car in the pre-owned vehicle market)

  • Paint – The first thing that you’ll notice is the exterior of the car. Scan the entire car for scratches, any odd paint work which has been done. Doing so will make you aware if the car has been in any accident or not.
  • Check the odometer – You get into the car and the first thing you do is check the odometer reading. If a 4-5 year old car has done more than a 60,000 km on the odometer, it’s better you get out and start looking at other options.
  • Engine – Start the engine and check the engine sound. If it sounds too harsh, enquire why it is so.
  • Electrical – Check all the electrical bits of the car which include the cabin light, horn, headlamps, tail lamps, wipers, fog lamps (if any) music system. Take your time and run a thorough check through all of them. 

tata nexon headlight and tail light

(Headlight and Taillights)

  • Battery – Check out how old the battery is and then check the acid levels as it shows if the car is well maintained or not.
  • Leakage – There is a likelihood that oil, water or lubricants might leak from the car. It is better to check before you end up with a leaky car.
  • Brakes – There are two tests for braking, one is to go on the highway and brake when at 50 kmph. It should stop in a straight line. The other being to take it on a slope and apply the brake to check how effective they really are.
  • Steering – Check for vibrations on the steering at high speeds. 


(Documentation is an important part of buying a used car)

  • Documentation – The three documents that have to be in order are Registration papers, Insurance Papers and No Objection Certificate. The Registration papers will have the chassis number of the car. The Insurance Papers are a must have when you go to the RTO to transfer the car in your name and the No Objection Certificate which should be issued from the financial institution stating that the car loan has been paid off and the lender has absolutely no claim on the car. 

This is a small checklist that will help you a long way and we hope this streamlines your experience of buying a used car. Wish you safe and happy driving!

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