How To Evaluate A Used Car’s Condition


We list out some tips to evaluate a used car’s condition

Some people would advise you against buying a used car, but hold on, it’s not such a bad idea. With proper research one can find some great bargains on very good cars, which would maybe cost less than what a decent brand new small car would. Finding such deal can turn out to be a painstaking task. If you’re not careful then you could end up regretting the decision. If you’re willing to put in the effort then following a few simple tips can land you a great deal. We have come up with a set of simple rules and guidelines that can help you evaluate a used car’s condition.

evaluate a used car condition

Initial Research

Perhaps among the most difficult decisions while buying a used car is deciding what you actually want. The same amount of money might get you a relatively newer car that is a few years older. It can be very tempting, but keep in mind that older the car the more worn out it will be. Plus, cars which belong to higher segments will also have higher maintenance costs. How to evaluate a used car condition - Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned

Analyse your needs and determine which type of car you require before you head out to evaluate a used car. Find out which source is the most reliable for buying used cars, online, local dealers, certified used cars sellers, etc. Ask around, read about other people’s experiences, talk to your friends. Based on the source you also need to figure out how to get your car financed. Most local dealers will insist on cash or cheque payment upfront. Certified used car dealers might have tie-ups with banks and can help you with loans.

Things to Keep in Mind

One of the most important things you need to look at is the car’s history, its service records and ownership records. It is best to avoid cars which have already had multiple owners because a frequent change of hands might mean there is some issue with the vehicle which prompted the owner to sell the car. Avoid cars which have had big insurance claims in their name. In a city like Mumbai, many cars on sale in the used car market could have been affected during the floods and might have a great deal of internal damage that can be hard to spot.

how to evaluate a used car-conditionUnpopular cars have a really low resale value. A 2006 Civic can be bought for just about Rs 2 lakh in Mumbai. A 2006 Maruti Baleno sedan can be yours for as little as Rs 70,000! However, it is best to avoid a car which has been discontinued, especially if it has been around 10 years or so since they were taken off the market as procuring spares and aftersales support for such vehicles will be poor.


While taking a look at a prospective purchase make sure you do it broad daylight. This will help you in observing the exterior finish and bring out signs of damage, like repainted parts. Take the car for a spin as that is the best way to judge the condition a vehicle is in. This will uncover rattles and noises pointing at possibly rough usage. Taking a friend who is an expert might help. Perform a thorough check on the car’s past records by checking the invoice, insurance and registration papers, etc.

Beware of odometer tampering which is very common these days. Tally the reading with past servicing record from dealerships to find out if the odometer has been tampered with. Buying from certified used car dealers will help you avoid such malpractices. It always best to get expert advice so get your own trusted mechanic to take a look at the car and find out if everything’s in order mechanically.

Before Finalizing the Deal

Before putting your money down think really hard about it. Make sure you have inspected everything thoroughly and sorted every detail out. Remember, buying a used car is a decision that needs to be made more with your head than your heart. Don’t forget to bargain as in most cases you will be able to bring the asking price down by making the seller wait or delaying a final decision. If you’re buying through a broker then you can bargain with him/her regarding their fees.

How to evaluate a used car condition

Insist on a duplicate key as you don’t want the previous owner possessing a set of keys to the car. Make sure you transfer the insurance in your name in order to avoid any legal issues in case of a theft or accident. All the necessary paper work should be in order and it is a good idea to note down the date of purchase along with the odometer reading on the delivery note. And finally, it is best to get a thorough servicing done right after you make the purchase to ensure everything is in order.

Buying a used car can be a demanding task, but keeping in mind these few simple things on how to evaluate a used car should help you a great deal in finding the right buy and realising the dream of owning that one car you always wanted.

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  1. […] any major problems. We have already told you about the the points you should keep in mind while purchasing a used vehicle and we have also listed out the best used cars out there between INR 2.5-3.5 lakhs and up to INR 5 […]

  2. Sir what is mean by certified car ….car dealer is saying car is certified is beat …and also tell me beat Lt petrol 2011 or linea tjet petrol 2011 model at both are same price and both in good condition which is good option to buy

  3. Certified car basically means the dealer has performed certain checks to ensure the car is without any issues. They will also provide a warranty on the car.
    Between the Beat and Linea, we would recommend the Beat as Chevrolet has better aftersales support and it will also be cheaper to run. Buy the Linea only if you want the extra space and something fun to drive.

  4. I have got a vento 2012 65000 km run . Single owned nice maintenance 5 lakhs . Should I buy it?…

  5. Hi All, I am planning to buy used Ford Fiesta Car for occasional use. There are models like 2006 with abs at rs.225000, 2008 with abs at rs.245000 and 2007 without abs at Rs.145000. Hows maintenance cost of Ford Fiesta and does ABS is required for occasional use. Please help me. Advance thanks

  6. An ever increasing demand for new cars makes an obvious surge in the market for old cars as well. You are right, although many advise against it, buying a used car is not the end of the world. In fact, sometimes it is the more logical option. One would also find their respective financial advisors opting for used car purchases more than often. I see you have put down the steps to be followed for a successful purchase of a used car in aptly correct sequence and it rather very helpful as well as informative. I would gladly suggest a friend wanting to buy a used car to go through your blog to get valued information helping him/her for the purchase. I agree with you that deciding on a car is the most difficult job at hand and in fact this is the step one would take the most time for. I remember my first car. It took me ages to finally decide on one. So that under control one can go for the next steps and I see you have mentioned ways to aptly choose the perfect used car avoiding all possible rip offs. Used car valuation both by the buyer and seller is also extremely important and I feel that is a factor that must be mentioned. You have meticulously described the ways of inspection of a second hand car and this is often the very step that can make you have second thoughts about buying. So yes, one should take time to assess it. Albeit, there are a few lowdowns of buying a used car of which chances of getting duped during the purchase, ace the list. For this one should be aware of various lingos that the dealer might use to put down extra expenses in the bill without one noticing it. Also, I feel maintenance cost of used cars is an important factor and if it is more, it is better not to go for the deal.

  7. Could you please suggest a good price for a Dec 2013 Octavia 1.8 TSI AT elegance which has done 29000 kms? Car is located in Delhi.

  8. Hi Team,

    I am planning to buy a second hand First Owner Nissan Sunny 2011 Model Petrol for 1,65,000 is it worth to buy this car it is in good condition as up to my knowledge it has some work to be done
    1. Clutch which is costing me 12,000.
    2. Insurance Paper work 5,000.
    3. Disk Pad and Disk Plate Work 5,000.

    and I think but I am not sure some small other work will cost me around 5,000 I am told that’s it but this 5,000 I am keeping in spare for car work.
    Please tell me is it worth to but this car is it a good car in the market with a resale value after 4,5 Years.

  9. As it is a fairly used car, we would request you to get it thoroughly inspected at an authorized service centre. Based on the estimate for repairs, think again if you should buy it. Honestly, 1.65 lakh seems to be a decent price, but it’s the amount of repairs that worries me.


  10. The car is in the showroom and it is for sale there and they have inspected the car and they have told me that this is what has to be invested in the car but after sometime as its not that necessary to do all this so soon, its up to me that if I would have to get it ready like a new car this is what has to be done to make it feel as a new car, but what worries me is that previously I had a car Esteem and it demanded a lot of work every time I had to take it somewhere so I don’t want to end up at the mechanic shop every time.

    That’s the only problem that I am worried because of the previous experiences so in 2,00,000 do you think its a good car to go for it if the expense is added in it 1,65,000 + 35,000 = 2,00,000 is this amount fair enough for me to buy this car if you would have been in my position what would have you done. please see it as if you are the one to buy this car.

    It goes like this
    1. Car cost = 1,65,000
    1. Clutch cost = 12,000.
    2. Insurance = 5,000.
    3. Disk Pad and Disk Plate = 5,000
    Total 1,89,000 + 11,000 if required 2,00,000
    will this be a good deal to garb and the resale as well

  11. Well, I won’t say it’s a particularly great deal, but it isn’t a bad one either. You can go for it if you think a Sunny Petrol fulfills all your requirements. Remember, fuel efficiency would be 10-12 kmpl in moderate traffic conditions. Also, resale, while not poor, won’t be exceptionally good either. Again, you can think of buying it if you plan to keep the car for at least 3-4 years. Also, we do recommend to change both the clutch and the brake components at the earliest.



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