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How to Buy the Best Used Car, In 4 Steps


If you are looking for a second-hand car, these tips will help you to make the right purchase and not become a nightmare. From how to choose the type of car you need to what elements we should check to know in what real state the vehicle is or if it is better to buy a private individual or a professional, we will clarify everything here.

We are in a good time to buy a second-hand car, but, like everything else, we must know how and where to buy it, if we want to make the best use of our budget. Yes, buying a car, even if it is used, is a decision that must be considered a lot. It's a good that we're going to maintain for a few years, so it's better to hit the first one. In the used car market you can find very interesting vehicles, adapted to your needs and at an affordable price. To find your ideal car effectively, one of the things that can help you is to follow a certain method in that buying process. Attentive: we explain how to buy the best used car in 4 steps.

When buying a used car, we will go through several phases: decide the type of car we want or need, where to look for it, how to check its status and, finally, buy it. We are going to see each of these steps and what we should look at each one of them.

When you are testing the car and talking to the seller, I recommend that you follow a golden rule: "if there is doubt, there is no doubt". If there is something that gives you a bad spine or does not fit at all, forget about that car. You may be wrong, but you may not, and surely there are more interesting offers that inspire you more confidence.

How to choose what type of car we need

Although the ideal is that we could buy the car that we like the most, most of us can not afford it. Buying a car that we love but that is not useful will make us not enjoy it, so we must find a compromise. Instead of choosing the cars we like the most and then seeing which of them are the ones that will give us the best service, we must do it the other way around: look at what our needs are and, within those that cover them, look for the car that more we like it To decide which is ours, we must follow these steps:

Set our maximum budget limit: knowing what is the maximum amount of money that we can allocate to the purchase of the car is the first, since it will condition the rest of the purchase. If our budget is low but we need a large car, we will have to look for older models. As soon as we know what our roof is, we must be strict in not exceeding it and not trusting "it is that for only 500 euros more ...". Maybe that money you need later for other things and the car will end up being a heavy slab instead of something that gives you a service and freedom to move.

Know what kind of car we need in the medium term: there are times when we look for a car for a small period of time, but normally we will have it between 5 and 8 years, so we must take into account if in that period our personal situation can change, if it is possible that the family increases, if we will have to take care of older people, and so on.

Beware of the big saloons and SUVs: in general, in the used market the biggest cars are the ones that depreciate the most and it is very common to hear "a new car was bought very cheap, which again was worth a paste". This is true and it is common to find luxury saloons at the same price as a somewhat more modern compact. We must avoid this temptation and stick to what we really need. In general, expensive cars have a higher maintenance, pay more taxes, are more difficult to park and their repairs and repairs are more expensive.

Where to look for a used car

Once we have clear what kind of car we are going to buy, it is time to look for it. Internet is an excellent tool, because it saves us a lot of time and offers us an overview of the entire market. JapanMotorsLtd, in its second-hand car ads section, has the widest variety of brands and models.

Of course, although the Internet gives us access to a huge variety, we must bear in mind that going to find a car 1,000 km from home implies a series of expenses that we must add to the value of the vehicle. Maybe that offer that is on the other side of the Peninsula is not so good if we take into account the trips of going to see it, pick it up ... and the possible inconveniences of having to take it to one of its workshops in case of breakdown in the period of guarantee. The ideal is to buy something in our area (for that you can filter the ads by province and thus access the offers closest to your home). Let's see what other sources we can consult in addition to the websites of used cars:


In your environment: ask your acquaintances and relatives. If you have the opportunity to buy a car from a family member that you know exactly how it has been taken care of and the result it has given you, that will be the best guarantee.

Take advantage of the fairs and salons: throughout the year almost every week fairs and salons are held throughout the Spanish geography. Find out if there is one in your city or nearby and go have a look. They are very comfortable, because in a very limited area you have access to a wide variety of vehicles. In addition, special offers are often made on the occasion of the fair.

Dealers and sales: car dealers usually have a good assortment of used customers who come to buy a new car and deliver yours as part of payment. Of course, the centers specialized in used cars are also a good source of offers and interesting prices.

Another question that arises here is whether it is better to buy the car from an individual or a professional. Well, there is everything. There are honest professionals and private pirates and vice versa. In general, a private person has the advantage that we can "interrogate" him and know why he sells it, see how he takes care of his car and can usually negotiate the price with him and get a good offer. On the other hand, we will have a lower guarantee and backup in case of problems with the car. If you do not have much experience in buying a used car, it is best to go to a reputable and serious sale.

What you should check when buying a used car
Now that you have located one of your candidates, it is time to test it and verify its status. If you do not have the slightest idea of ​​mechanics and you know someone who does, it is best to accompany you. Four eyes see more than two and, besides, it is always good to have a second external opinion and with a head that is colder than ours. In all cars there are three things that we have to check: their legal status, their mechanical condition and their exterior and interior appearance.

Check the papers of the car: sometimes, especially when buying a private, we can find unpleasant surprises, as the car has unpaid tax charges, domain reservations because it belongs to a financial ... Check that there are no charges or it is specified in the contract of sale that any debt prior to the date of purchase shall be borne by the previous owner. It is important that everything is included in the documentation, including the user manual and the maintenance book. Also the bills of revisions and repairs will allow you to follow the life that that car has taken.

Check the appearance of the car: many times we stop buying a car because it has many parking frictions that do not matter and we buy a freshly painted and clean but that conceals a serious sinister. Do not get carried away by appearances and see if there are differences in color between the doors and the fins (especially in metallic paint cars), if one headlight shines more than another ... this may indicate that those parts have been changed or repaired Find asymmetries. If the slot between the hood and the left wing is larger or smaller than on the right side, if the doors on one side close better than the other ... This kind of thing indicates that there may be a serious blow badly repaired.


Check the interior appearance of the car: inside the car we must check that the wear is consistent. If we see some tires on the new pedals but the seat worn ... This type of incongruities show that they have tried to "make up" the car. Check well that the seats do not have gaps, that the safety belts collect well and do not stay unrolled, lifts the mats in search of crystals (when a window breaks it splinters into a thousand pieces that usually leave a trace). In the trunk check that there are no strange wrinkles in the hollow of the spare wheel that are evidence of a poorly repaired blow.

Check the mechanics of the car: Here are things you should check on standstill and others on the dynamic test. When stopped, check that all the car's accessories work properly (power windows, headlights, windscreen wipers, headlight washers, climate control, radio, automatic antenna ... everything). Check the tire wear and that it is homogeneous. If there are irregular wear, they can indicate that the steering is not well aligned, that the car is hit or that the shock absorbent are not in good condition. Turn the steering fully to the side and check for oil leaks and that the bearing shields are not cracked. Check the wear of the brake discs, if there is a lot of flange on its edge is that they need to be changed and have many kilometers. In motion, check that the car does not tend to go sideways when braking smoothly, that the cruise control works and all the equipment you ride. Stand up, brake the car with the handbrake, put in first and release the clutch slowly. If the car stalls there is no problem, if you do not do it or you notice strange jerks in the pedal stroke it is indicative that the clutch is in the last. Turn round with the direction to stop on one side and another. If you hear a "cla-cla-cla" when turning, the transmissions are in bad condition. Finally, check that you do not smoke blue or smell the leak.

Buy a used car

If everything has gone well so far, it is only necessary to try to negotiate the price of the car and close the deal. Check the conditions of the contract and, especially, the guarantee. The clearer everything is before signing and paying, the fewer problems you will have later. Remember that professionals are required to offer a one year warranty regardless of the age of the car. That they do not offer you a better price in exchange for not giving you a guarantee, is illegal. In the case of individuals, the guarantee is 6 months from the signing of the contract.

One way to go safe is to opt for a certified used car. They are the elite of the second-hand market: a little more expensive, yes, but in better conditions, with additional guarantees and with all a series of advantages included (you only have to consult which are in the program of certified vehicles of the brand that you interest). In JapanMotorsLtd you can filter your search and check the list only with the certified cars of the brand.