Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide

Image showing used cars

Buying a car in India for some might be a basic necessity, for the more indulgent it can be a status symbol, but for the majority it is a dream come true. Whatever the reason may be, a car is an important part of Indian households. But buying a car is a very major financial decision, which involves a lot of savings, and farsightedness into the future. The concept of buying used cars started taking ground in recent years when people started realising that used cars can be as good as new cars. However, many of us still refrain from the idea as it involves tons of research and a substantial amount of risk. With the advent of online used car platforms, things have gotten easier for the common Indian.

But the question of reliability still haunts used car buyers, as chances of getting a good used car are still relatively low. Enter online used car dealers. Unlike offline used car dealers whose sole aim is to get rid of a car in the name of a sale. Online car dealers, like Spinny, make it a point to go the extra distance and check the car extensively before putting it up for sale. They also offer warranties and guarantees should the car run into any post sale troubles. Combined with trust and reliability, Indian online used car platforms are fast becoming used car buyers’ go to source for procuring used cars.

Why Should You Buy A Used Car?

Buying Used Cars

The question that pops up in every used car buyer’s head, and the answer to this question lies in many parts. Let us break them down for you.

> Affordability

> Lower Depreciation Rate

> Lower Insurance Premiums

> They Are Warranted

> Great Quality Cars

Why Are Used Cars Affordable?

Used cars are affordable because they’ve been through depreciation and enough wear and tear to bring down their value considerably. But with affordability comes the doubt of buying a vehicle that doesn’t have any problems which one would have to bear in the near future. Those doubts can be laid to rest by buying certified pre-owned cars from trusted vendors. Take Spinny for example. Spinny Assured cars undergo a very stringent 200 point evaluation, before being offered to prospective buyers.

Lower Depreciation Rate

This is the main reason why used cars cost less. Let us first explain what depreciation is in a nutshell. Depreciation rate is the loss of value of assets one owns, in this case a car. The rate of depreciation depends on a number of factors but the primary cause that brings the value of a car down is its wear and tear, or its mileage. The higher the mileage, the higher the depreciation rate. And for a new car this means an average 15-30% loss of value after just a year. Used cars on the other hand have already been through the high depreciation phase, which means there won’t be a significant loss of value once you try to sell it.

Lower Insurance Premiums

Insurance value is directly proportional to the age of the car, that means a newer one will have a higher insurance premium than compared to an older one. When a car is new it is of higher value, hence higher the insurance but once it starts ageing its value starts to come down, due to a myriad of factors, which is why the insurance premium also comes down.

They Are Warranted

Similar to their newer counterparts, used cars from certified dealers like Spinny come with limited warranties which can give the customer a sense of security when buying a used car.

Great Quality Cars

Nowadays, there is nothing ‘used’ about a used car. This is because certified dealers take great care in making sure that the used car matches the appearance, durability and mechanical standards of a new car and gives the customer ultimate satisfaction.

Certified Vs Non-Certified Used Cars

Buy Used Cars

These are the two mighty contenders grappling in the used car market space. Certified used cars are a recent phenomenon while the non-certified players have been in the market for quite a time.

What is the difference between the two?

A non-certified seller can be anyone. It can be the neighbour trying to sell their used car, an offline car dealer, your friends, relatives, and so on. In short, non-certified sellers are private sellers who don’t offer any certification for the vehicle they sell. No certification means there won’t be anyway by which you would be able to tell what the car has been through, whether it has had an accident, whether the meter has been tampered with, and if the service details mentioned are true or not. However, you might be able to get the car for the best price if you are directly buying from the seller, eliminating the middlemen, but this might not be the case with offline dealerships.

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Certified used car dealers on the other hand are very transparent and they only offer cars that pass their quality tests. A certified used car will have all the details, right from the service history to the physical quality. On the flip side, these might cost more than non-certified cars but you also get peace of mind with the warranty and guarantee that comes along with them.

Buying A Used Car

Made your decision? Let us tell you about the important steps you should keep in mind while buying a used car.

Selecting The Car

A very crucial aspect of buying a car. It would be wise and pocket-friendly to buy a car that suits your lifestyle and needs. For example – It would make no sense to buy a big SUV for your daily commute if you are single. It would also makes no sense to buy a compact sedan if you are a family of 6 and want a car to go out for those long drives.

Much like buying a new car, a thorough study of your needs should be done well in advance when buying a used car.

Explore All Buying Locations

After narrowing down on a car of your liking, now is the time to go and see it in the flesh. There are many options when it comes to buying used cars, it could be directly from the owner, used car dealers, and many others who provide the service of buying used cars. When you see a car that you like, don’t hesitate, ask reasons for selling, how it was used, inquire whether the vehicle was involved in an accident, and many more. The more questions you have the better are your chances of getting a good used car.

Here are places where you can hunt for a used car.

Directly From The owner

The chances of getting a good bargain are pretty high in this zone, as you eliminate the brokers and speak directly to the owner. But it is a very cumbersome method and requires a lot of time and patience and a mechanic. You cannot expect the owner to tell you everything about the car and that is where the mechanic comes in. You can ask for the service book to ascertain the service history of the car. One more thing, buying a car directly from the owner doesn’t come with any service warranty.

Neighbourhood Pre-owned Dealer

Okay, so these used car dealers are a convenience, no more hunting parties, you have your prey lined up in front of you inviting you to have a taste of them. However, this doesn’t mean that these cars are risk-free, there is a chance that the odometer might’ve been tampered with or the documents forged. It would be better to ask your mechanic to have a good look at the car both inside and outside. Secondly, these cars will cost more in comparison to you directly going to the seller to buy one. Make sure that the dealer is not the owner of the car otherwise it becomes a third-hand car, and this significantly affects the market value of the car.

OEM Brand Owned Used Cars

With so many used car dealers in the market, how do you know which one is most reliable? OEMs without a doubt, OEMS, or original equipment manufacturers are car brands that have got their own used car dealership. These are the most reliable of the lot and you can rest assured that any car you buy from here will be the best. Moreover, they provide warranties, guarantees on the cars they sell, giving you peace of mind about the quality you get. Some of the well-known OEM used car dealers are – Maruti Suzuki True Value, Mahindra First Choice, Hyundai First Advantage, Premium Selection by BMW, Mercedes’s Proven Exclusivity, and many more. The down part, however, is that these cars would be much more costly than other options in the market.

Online Classifieds

Sites like OLX, Quikr come under this category. They are time-saving and at the click of a button or a tap on the screen, you have a number of used car options in front of you. The portals do make life easy but one cannot rely completely on the information displayed as this could be false as well. You will still have to go to the car check it out thoroughly and then come to a decision.

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Online Used Car Retailers

Just like traditional e-commerce platforms, the online used cars retailers have an end-to-end managed system that requires negligible involvement of the customer. The advantage of these retailers is that like OEMs, they are completely reliable, transparent, and trustworthy but unlike them, they don’t cost as much. Cars you buy from these sources have reliable quality checks, affordable prices, warranties, and guarantees in place to keep you secure and peaceful if any problems arise. One such example is Spinny. Spinny Cars are not only reliable but they also give you the guarantee of a full refund upon returning the car within 5 days if you somehow did not like it. In addition to this their BuyBack feature guarantees a pre-fixed value of your car for up to 18 months, if you want to return or exchange the car. Online used car retailers have got everything under one roof, meaning that even if you want to finance your car it can be done there and you won’t have to wander elsewhere for a loan. The downside of such places is that they are available in some locations only.

Testing The Car

Okay, so you’ve found a used car that you like and want to try it out. In all its actuality, a test drive is simply not just a test of the engine or the way a car drives. By taking a test drive your senses perceive what all you need and what all the car offers. Let us guide you through the finer points of taking a test drive.

  • A test drive should be long enough to tell you about the working condition of a vehicle, insist on driving for at least 5 kms through various types of roads to understand the car and your comfort.
  • The car should start instantly and there shouldn’t be any strange noises apart from the hum of the engine.
  • Gears should shift smoothly and upon releasing the clutch the vehicle should move forward without jerks.
  • The steering should not vibrate. If it does then there is a major problem.
  • The brakes should also slow down proportionally to the force applied to them and this should happen in a straight line, the car shouldn’t move sideways. If it does then the car has a major braking issue.
  • Lastly, check for oil leaks from the engine and the gearbox. Park the vehicle on clean ground and check if anything has leaked or not. If it has then there are issues that need to be looked into.