Ask these right questions to the seller while buying a second hand car!! This checklist can help you to identify problems which are never disclosed while a car is sold.
This can be different from the date of registration, but the value of the car depreciates for every increasing year. For Eg. Someone could register a Oct 2011 manufactured vehicle in Feb 2012 and claim it to be a 2012 model, which is not the truth!
2. What is the Model / Variant?
Before you inspect a vehicle, do ask for the Model and Variant. Price varies a lot between a car with and without certain features like Automatic Climate Control, Power windows etc.,
3. Ask for the Recently taken photo of the car from all sides (If you are not inspecting the car personally)
A strict NO NO if the car's body is dented / damaged / differently coloured - high possibility for the vehicle to have met with an accident or maintained very poorly.
4. Ask for the Maintenance History & where the car was serviced regularly?
Don't mind spending few hours to check these old bills and inquire at the service station about cars health to understand when the car was last serviced and what were the works carried out recently. This can give you an exact feel of how the internal / invisible parts are doing.
5. How many owners on the RC Book and not in the RC Book.
Yes, value goes down for every additional owner and there could have been owners who did not do the name transfer in RC.
6. Any accidents?
Most sellers don't convey this upfront, but this can have serious issues! - both legal and Mechanical (Suspensions, A pillar / B Pillar damage or issues on the doors closing / hinges etc)
7. Whether car was repainted to any different color?
Any change in colour form original should be endorsed in RC book, so check for the colour of car mentioned in RC.
Ask for insurance, lean cancellation (EMI / Bank loan completion) etc.,
9. Why is the car up for sale?
Try to find out what ever reason given is genuine, it is difficult at times but based on your conversation with the seller you can identify the genuinity of the reason given. If you sense something is wrong - Walk away.
10. Can I or my mechanic test drive the car?
Have a look at the car by yourself, if possible take a good mechanic to test drive the vehicle to check if it has any mechanical issues related to suspension, lower arms, ball joints, tie rod, wheel alignment & balancing, braking etc.
11. How old are the batteries and tyres?
Check the condition of the tyres & find out when the tyres were changed & how many KMs they lasted for. If the tyres are really worn out then you will need to change all 5 tyres and it will cost you a bomb. Find out when the battery was last replaced and if it is over 3 years then the battery is as good as dead & will be need to be replaced soon and remember will cost you close to 5000 to 7000 for a 45 - 55 din.
12. When did you replace the parts under the bonnet?
Find out when the timing belt & bearings, Clutch plate, master & slave bearings were last changed. Check the condition of the starter motor and find out whether it is starting the car without any issue. Also, Check the status of the dynamo / Alternator, they should charge the battery well.
13. Where was the car parked?
Mainly check for rusting, this is very important for cars in coastal regions which are more prone to rusting due to high alkaline salt content in air or due to car owners not keeping the cars in covered parking. Dust, bird droppings, excessive heat can lead to roof & paint fading etc - these common problems seen in older cars. Check the condition of the front windshield glass for any scratches or haziness, if it is clear then it might need replacement
14. How are the interiors? are there any accessories being given?
Check for music system, speakers, carpets, seat and seat covers. They reflect how the previous owner took care of the vehicle.
This questionnaire and inspection is just the beginning. If the answers to above question are negative, then you'll be spending a huge fortune in bringing back the car to original condition. As I told you before, it is not easy to buy a used car in India!!
Last but not the least, don't be in any big hurry and rush to conclude any deal by making the payment in part or full, take your own time, as long as you have the money, you are in a better position to bargain, negotiate & demand. Going back to the seller with a host of problems after the sale will never help you get discounts or your money back. Have a lot of patience, Good cars do exist just like how good people exist.
Courtesy: With inputs from Mr. Mahesh Natarajan and other respected members of www.myfiatworld.in forum.