Checklist for buying a used car

The eleven most important tips for prospective buyers of used cars

A good half of germans who want to buy a car in the near future are considering a used car. Almost two-thirds are considering buying a car online. This increases the choice. Bargains become more tangible. We show you what to look out for to avoid nasty surprises. And how to buy your new one at the best price.

the internet has decisive advantages for the search for used cars: it offers an enormous selection of regional and national vehicles. This creates competition – so the selling price drops.

But: how do i find the right used car in the multitude of offers?? What to pay special attention to when buying? Below you will find our checklist for used cars with ten helpful hints – including important tips for fraudulent sellers.

Once the choice has been made, the question arises: how do i get the best price?? Does a loan from a car dealer make sense?? Or don’t I rather improve my negotiating position with a bank or savings bank loan??

1. Which type of car is the right one?

If you don’t yet have an idea of which car suits you best, an online car advisor can help. This you will find on the Internet, for example, at the used car exchanges. From questions about the number of seats and trunk size to price ideas, the advice tool narrows down the choice more and more – and thus provides an accurate first impression.

2. Diesel – another issue?

from showpiece to discontinued model: due to environmental protection regulations, diesel vehicles are not considered particularly sustainable. In some cities, there are even driving bans for certain older types of diesel engines. For this reason, they can only be recommended to a limited extent for private use.

But if you still want a diesel, keep a close eye on the latest developments and decide according to your personal situation!

3. Advertisements – this is what counts

Make sure that the information provided is complete when you advertise the vehicle on the internet! in addition to mileage and number of owners, the condition of a used car should be described in detail. For example, photos that show the vehicle from all sides and also from the inside.

Make sure that the service and check book show that all inspections and maintenance work have been carried out. Tip: the main inspection (HU) and exhaust emission test (AU) should be as recent as possible. This shows that the seller is not afraid of pending repairs.

4. Estimate the price

You can get a feel for the value of an interesting used car by comparing similar offers: used car markets on the Internet serve as a basis for this. Also check advertisements in the newspaper. In addition, a visit to the dealer around the corner is helpful.

There are also various online vehicle appraisals. This includes the schwacke-liste (largest and independent database), the automobil treuhand (DAT) and pkw.De. Tip: the ADAC guide is free of charge for members.

5. Exposing scammers

Especially if the condition of the car, the extras and even the price sound super good, caution is advised. This is especially true if the seller delays a day or two and only responds by whatsapp or e-mail.

Make sure you are personally convinced that the car is in good condition – during an inspection with a checklist and test drive! The principle applies: money against vehicle and papers. Therefore, under no circumstances should you make a down payment, for example for a transfer from abroad.

6. Caution: "I’ll take it!" seals the car purchase

Do not use hasty wording that clearly indicates acceptance of the advertised offer. Neither by phone nor by e-mail or whatsapp. Because: if the seller and the buyer have agreed, the car purchase is legally valid.

7. Assess the condition

You have found an interesting used car and have made an appointment for an inspection. Now it applies,
a) check the car from the outside and inside.
B) check the papers and the maintenance history.
C) to make a test drive.

If you are not familiar with cars, take an experienced friend with you. In addition, you can prepare yourself well with the help of a checklist.

8. Condition faked?

Unfortunately, not all sellers are honest. Some people are very good at cosmetic refurbishment of used cars. Numerous defects are then difficult to detect at first glance.

Buying a used car like this can result in expensive repairs. If you have a bad feeling, refrain from the purchase!

9. Be on the safe side with a professional check

You may still feel insecure? For about 40 euros, you can have a car checked by an independent inspection organization such as ADAC or dekra before you buy it.

Important: it is important to take a close look at an inspection arranged by the salesman! The seal alone does not reveal what has actually been tested.

10. Optimal negotiating position: cash laughs

First negotiate down, then convince with cash: to be able to lower the price, list the defects that you or the professional inspector noticed during the check and the test drive. Also point out any upcoming repairs.

Then, with cash, you have another powerful argument for a fair price. Not only when buying a used car from a private seller. If you pay with cash, dealers also often give high discounts! If your savings are not sufficient, you can increase your cash on hand with a car loan from your credit institution.

11. Car loan: savings bank or house bank vs. Dealer

Car dealers offer loans as a customer service: this saves the customer having to go to the bank or the car dealer. Savings Bank. In addition, the interest rates are usually low – a convincing sales argument.

But be careful: with a loan from the car dealer you will not enjoy the high discounts that are possible with cash payment. In the end, the purchase may turn out to be considerably more expensive.

Tip: talk to your trusted bank or savings bank advisor before you start looking for a car! Plan your car loan together. Because it expands your financial scope – and thus strengthens your negotiating position.

It also gives you the opportunity to buy a newer model. The higher price is often justified by the lower consequential costs: fewer repairs and lower fuel consumption. Also decisive: new models are more environmentally friendly.

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Christina Cherry
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