Buying a used car: relax when buying a new car thanks to our checklist

Well prepared when buying a used car: our checklist provides important tips

Well prepared when buying a used car: our checklist provides important tips.

A new car has a certain prestige and can be individually configured, but buyers also have to dig deep into their pockets for a brand-new vehicle. In 2016, according to the statistics portal "statista", Germans spent an average of 29.650 euros for a new car from.

Many people do not want to or are not able to invest such a sum in a car. How good that the German used car market is booming. In the whole year 2016, according to the statistics of the federal motor transport authority, there were around 7.4 million new car registrations to record. With such a wide range of vehicles, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the right used car for you.

On the way to the used dream car lurk, however, some pitfalls. You should never buy a car blindly – whether from a dealer or from a private buyer always undergo a thorough appraisal and inspection. But what really needs to be considered when buying a used car? Many laymen find it difficult to assess a vehicle and its condition. Our checklist for buying a used car will help you keep track of what’s going on.

Used car buying checklist

Checklist for buying a used car free download

You are welcome to download this checklist for your own use. Below you will find the list in PDF format for download:

  • Free download
  • Simply print it out and take it with you
  • All information at a glance

FAQ: checklist for buying a used car

We have compiled all the important points in a checklist. You can find the printable file here.

Dealers must be liable for material defects for at least one year after the purchase of a used car. private sellers can exclude this liability.

An indicator for an accident can be different gap dimensions between the individual components. A different paint job can also indicate damage.

checklist for buying a car: finding the right used car

you can download our used car purchase checklist for free in PDF format. printed out, they can then take to the appraisal appointment. check each item and then check it off the list. So you can make sure you do not forget any important point.

Applies Does not apply
you are accompanied by another person.
the inspection takes place during daylight hours.
you have a flashlight with you.
there is a dry weather.
bodywork / the exterior of the vehicle
the vehicle is clean.
the paint is even and has neither dull spots nor color differences.
the discs have no stone chips.
the body shows no rust spots.
the gap dimensions (hoods and doors) are uniform.
the tires are in order (tread depth is sufficient, they are not worn unevenly).
you have checked the lighting.
the rims do not show any damage.
the brake discs are in order.
vehicle interior
the windows are not fogged.
there is no musty smell.
there are neither damp spots nor rust damage.
the wear of the seat and belts matches the mileage.
all electrical devices (radio etc.) work perfectly.
engine compartment
no engine wash has been performed.
all fluids (engine oil, coolant and brake fluid) have been topped up.
there are no rust spots to be discovered.
lines, clamps and hoses are in good order.
the timing belt has no cracks.
There are no white traces on the oil cap.
the information on the oil change slip matches the mileage.
there are no rust spots to be found.
no fluids are leaking.
the brake hoses and lines are in good order.
the exhaust system is tight and shows no signs of rust.
the shock absorbers do not lose fluid and do not rattle.
there are no traces (z. B. welds) can be found, which indicate that a repair has been carried out.
there is a complete inspection checkbook available.
the vehicle has not had too many previous owners in the past.
the owner does not hand over the car after a short period of time.
the protocol of the last main inspection is available.
test drive
you have planned a sufficiently long distance (approx. 45 to 60 minutes), which also includes faster sections.
the engine starts without problems.
there are no unusual noises to be heard.
the steering does not crack when you turn it fully while driving slowly.
the steering does not vibrate even at higher speeds.
when you let go of the steering wheel, the car continues straight ahead.
the brakes grip immediately and do not make dragging noises.
the car stays on track when you brake.
after the end of the test drive, the car does not lose oil.

Buying from used car: if the checklist has too many check marks under the item 'Does not apply', you should refrain from buying

Buying a used car: if the checklist has too many check marks under the item "does not apply", you should refrain from buying the car.

General advice

In the following we will go into more detail on the question "what do i have to pay attention to when buying a used car"?" a. For laymen it is of course often difficult to judge the condition of a vehicle. for this reason, take another person with you to the appointment with the seller. It is not for nothing that the basic principle applies: four eyes see more than two.

The appraisal should also take place in daylight, so you don’t miss a thing. To illuminate the engine compartment or corners inside the vehicle, it is advisable to take a flashlight with you. It should also be dry. If the car is wet, for example, it is difficult to check the paint – an important item on the used car buying checklist.

Among the most important tips for buying a used car is the following: if you want to be on the safe side, a used car check is worthwhile in any case. Such a professional inspection of used cars is offered, for example, by the ADAC, TuV, KuS or DEKRA.

tips for buying a used car – dealer or from a private seller?

The checklist for buying a used car can be used at the dealer or when buying from private

The checklist for buying a used car can be used at the dealer or when buying privately.

you can always use our used car checklist – regardless of whether you buy the car from a dealer or from a private buyer. Many buyers, however, ask themselves in advance, which of the two options is the better choice.

A blanket answer can not be given here. Rather, your preferences are decisive here. Would you like be on the safe side, it is advisable Buying from a dealer. The dealer is legally obligated to stipulate at least one year’s liability for material defects in the purchase contract.

If you notice a defect after the purchase that was already present before the handover date, the dealer is obliged to rectify it within this period. Within the first six months, the burden of proof lies with the dealer. He is obliged to prove that the defect was not already present before the sale.

In contrast to this, a private seller explicitly exclude liability in the purchase contract. This means less security for the buyer. However, you will benefit from a larger selection and from more favorable prices.

Checklist: the used car and its bodywork

After you have found an interesting offer and have contacted the seller, you can carry out the inspection from home thorough appraisal of the car at. The most important points can be found in our checklist for buying a used car.

So what to look for when you buy a used car and check the bodywork? The vehicle should be washed, otherwise you could miss minor defects in the paintwork. Check if the surface of the car is even and no dull spots or color differences shows. This indicates that there was accident damage that has been repaired. also inspect all windows – a stone chip in the windshield can quickly become expensive.

In the following video there are a few more professional tips on buying a used car:

Furthermore, they must check car for rust damage, before you buy a used car. What to look out for: if there are large rust spots, this usually indicates that areas that are difficult to see – such as the underbody – are also affected. Also investigate whether the gaps in hoods and doors are not uniform, these are usually caused by an accident.

The car buying checklist for used cars also tells you that you need to check the tires should be checked. They are ideally in good condition and do not drive off unevenly – this indicates problems with the chassis. Also examine the lights, rims and brake discs exactly. Talk to the seller immediately about any visible defects.

Tips for buying a used car: the interior

Buying used cars from private: tips on how to inspect the belts and seats are helpful

Buying a used car from private: tips on how to inspect the belts and seats are helpful.

If you use our checklist when buying a used car, the next step is to inspect the vehicle interior. The windows should not be fogged up and they must not be no musty smell come to meet us. Damp spots and rust damage also indicate moisture in the interior. Then you should rather refrain from buying, because the repairing the defects can be very expensive.

If you’re buying a used car, here are some tips to help you avoid being taken in by a scammer. It is not uncommon for the speedometer to be reset in order to achieve a higher price at the time of sale. Therefore, you can see from our used car purchase checklist that you should also check the check the general condition of the interior as well as the seats and safety belts. If these are badly worn, even though the car does not have a high mileage, caution is advisable.

Buying a used car: what to look for when inspecting the engine compartment?

The next big area that the used car buying checklist covers is the engine compartment. Although cleanliness is important, if the engine is particularly clean, be aware of it. Indeed, an engine wash that has just been carried out may indicate, that leaks – such as leaking engine oil – should be concealed.

Also check that all fluids, such as coolant, are topped off before buying a used car. What to look for: the fuel level should be neither too high nor too low, both can lead to problems. In particular, if the engine oil or brake fluid level is too low, this may indicate that the vehicle has been has not been well maintained.

Also check the engine for rust and make sure that all fluids are clean all lines and hoses and clamps in order are. do not forget the timing belt – this should not have any cracks. White marks on the oil cap can indicate a defective cylinder head gasket.

What to consider when buying a used car? The underside of the vehicle

Buying a car: when buying a used car, tips on how to inspect the underbody are very important

Buying a car: when buying a used car, tips for inspecting the underbody are very important.

The next item on the used car buying checklist is to inspect the undercarriage. Especially for laymen the evaluation is very difficult. So don’t forget our tip mentioned at the beginning of this article and take a friend or acquaintance with you who knows cars well.

Examine the underbody for rust spots and check, that no liquids are leaking. Especially if oil is leaking, this can indicate serious defects that can only be fixed by expensive repairs. Also the brake hoses and brake lines you should not forget.

Also check the exhaust system. It should be tight and have no signs of rust. The shock absorbers must not leak fluid or make rattling noises. Furthermore, you should check if you can find any traces which indicate that repairs have been carried out. These include, for example conspicuous welds. in such a case, it is better to have the car checked by a specialist.

Buying a used car: tips for checking the documents

Afterwards, you should check the points on the vehicle documents noted on the used car purchase checklist. you should not neglect this step, as this will give you important information about the condition of the vehicle and can deliver a possible fraud.

What to consider when buying a used car, when you examine the papers? First of all you should do the inspection checkbook. Are only incomplete registrations present or missing completely, it can be assumed that the vehicle has been insufficiently maintained in the past.

also take a look at the registration certificate part II (formerly the vehicle title). In this number of previous owners noted. If there are a large number of former owners, it is to be feared that, that it is a monday car, which has caused many problems and therefore the owners have quickly parted with the mobile undercarriage. Also if the current owner wants to give the car back after a short period of time, you should follow up.

According to the used car buying checklist, you should also not forget to take a look at the inspection report of the last main inspection to throw. If there are any defects listed, it is advisable to ask the seller when and how they were remedied. Furthermore, check whether the the chassis number matches the data in the registration certificate. If this is not the case, you are dealing with a stolen car.

Buying a used car: what to bear in mind when it’s time for the test drive?

Especially by laymen, the checklist for buying a car is needed to make a decision

The checklist for buying a car is mainly used by laymen in order to make a decision.

If the car has made a good impression so far and you have not had to note too many negative points on the used car purchase checklist, the test drive is the last thing to do. This should not be too short – about 45 to 60 minutes are advisable. Test the driving characteristics not only in city traffic, but plan a route in advance that also includes faster sections – for example, on the country road or freeway – has. Many problems often only become apparent at higher speeds.

Listen carefully to see if it unusual noises from the engine, exhaust or gearbox listen to. The former should run smoothly. Test how well the steering works and whether it reacts spontaneously. When driving slowly, it is advisable to turn the steering fully in once. You may no cracking noises to be heard.

Also at higher speeds the steering must not vibrate. In a safe place, you should also let go of the steering wheel once according to the used car buying checklist. If the car does not go straight, there is something wrong with the track. The brakes should pack immediately and should not make any grinding noises. In addition, the car should not vibrate during braking stay on track.

After the test drive you should still take a look into the engine compartment and under the vehicle. Check whether the car is leaking oil and if you notice any other defects.

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Christina Cherry
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