here’s everything you need to know before buying

You want to get a used car but don’t know how to go about it. Paperwork, mileage, expertise… here we give you the advice to follow to make an acquisition in the best conditions.

This is always the right plan for anyone who wants to own a car but doesn’t want to experience new delays or anyone with a limited budget. Although sales have slowed down, the used car market is still attractive, although prices have increased by 30% in the last two years… Never mind, here we remind you of everything you need to know before buying of second-hand. car

Determine your budget

Rising fuel prices and second-hand car prices (on average €24,700 in December compared to €21,400 in January!) have made the car a luxury product. In this context, the question of budget needs to be addressed before buying second hand. Therefore, it should be defined according to your preferences: category, engine, number of seats, load capacity, but also the insurance price…

The second-hand car must be useful and match your needs: therefore favor a choice of reason over passion. If it’s a problem car, you’ll be glad you followed this first tip.

All papers

Imagine you set your sights on a Renault Clio, the star of the second-hand market in France. During your conversation with the seller, first ask for the vehicle file, with the maintenance log and invoices. Using the dates, you will be able to check that all necessary maintenance and any reminders have been carried out since the initial registration. Also pay attention to the date of the gray card. If it is very recent, perhaps the model is not reliable. Moreover, if its price is low, it is highly desirable, wrong.

You can also ask for a recent technical inspection report to get an idea of ​​the vehicle’s condition. A document (less than six months old for vehicles over four years old) is in any case mandatory for a sale in good standing.

In total, you must obtain when buying: the crossed-out gray card (signed and dated on the day of sale), a copy of the transfer certificate, a technical inspection report (less than six months old for vehicles over four years old) and a certificate of non-commitment, also called a certificate of administrative status. In addition, the registration formalities are only done online, the seller is required to provide you, within 15 days of the transaction, the transfer code that will allow you to request your registration card online. Without this transfer code, you are obliged to carry out this procedure (payment) through an organization approved by the State.

Points to check: mileage…

Also, make sure the mileage matches the service dates. A lower average mileage in the year before the sale can be a sign of a bad plan. Also check that what is shown on the meter is at least what is written on the label of the last oil change. To help you, the government site HistoVec collects information about the vehicle. The seller may share it with the buyer, who has every interest in consulting it before buying.

… and vehicle condition!

It goes without saying, but before buying a used car, it should be checked. On the outside, look at the bodywork, look at the condition of the paint (color differences), the assemblies (damaged vehicle), the condition of the windows and the optics. Don’t forget to check the condition of the tires and make sure they are the same on each axle.

At the wheel, the general state of the passenger compartment will give the first impression. Check the condition of the upholstery (stains, tears), the wear of the steering wheel and the pedals. Test the operation of comfort elements (car radio, air conditioning, electric windows, etc.).

In addition: The vehicle will also need to be tested on all types of roads to test its reactions during acceleration, braking, as well as its behavior at high speeds. Listen to the engine, test the direction, shift through all the gears and ask as many questions as possible in case of suspicious noises. If the seller refuses, don’t buy the car.

To a pro or an individual?

In a context of falling new car sales, motorists are actually replacing their old cars less and therefore less of them are waiting in advertisements or in dealership parking lots.

With professionals, you can have more confidence, using a six-month or one-year guarantee, but they tend to increase prices to achieve margins. You can also, for the same budget, get an older car than if you bought it last year…

In individuals, however, you will find older cars, 10 years old, 15 years old, also more abundant in multi-brand merchants. A particular owner will sell at a lower price and you will be able to negotiate more easily. But there’s no guarantee you can avoid a scam…

How best to avoid scams?

Exactly, to avoid scams, there is no secret: follow our advice as much as possible, ask questions, and get an idea of ​​the price on the Argus site, the reference for updated ratings for each car. The scam you can most easily avoid is the counter scam. For this, observation is important. If the odometer shows a few kilometers while the upholstery, the gear knob and the tires are worn, do not buy this second-hand car (or the car lives mainly in city traffic, or on long distances) . You should also avoid crowds. vehicles in traffic, or be more vigilant in high-risk models.

In general, you have to be careful with cars coming from other countries, especially from Germany or those from southern Italy. “Rejuvenation” of odometers is not prohibited there, and is common (in the case of engine replacement in Germany). Sellers have a simple obligation to mention it in the maintenance book. Cross-checking information and avoiding invoices is more important than ever.

Review by an expert

Before buying, a certified automotive expert can help you. Trustoo and Experveo are companies that specialize in used car appraisals. Its price is between 70 and 250 euros depending on the type of intervention (car tour + interior or test drive) and the time spent.

The time of sale

With a professional, everything should be in order, so there is no need to advise you when to sign and pay. Facing an individual on the other hand, clearly define your place and your moment. If you meet in a car park, do not leave without all the documents needed to change your vehicle registration document, and ask the seller for an identification document. This will prevent you from losing it and cheating. Bank check is preferred over cash.

Car insurance

A car must be insured when you pick it up. When it comes to sales between individuals, this is the moment when the gray card is crossed out, before you walk away with it. For a purchase from a professional, the car must be insured at the time of delivery. The fact of recovering a vehicle using a tray to deposit it on private land does not oblige the buyer to insure his vehicle.

And after the purchase?

If you buy a used vehicle that breaks down shortly after purchase, be aware that you may be covered by multiple warranties. The website lists them. The legal warranty of conformity covers defects of conformity and allows you to ask the seller to repair or replace the good. The legal warranty or the hidden defects apply on the condition that the defect is serious and it prevents the normal use of the vehicle. It must prove that the defect is hidden and that it existed before the purchase.

Finally, the so-called commercial manufacturer’s warranty covers certain defects and defective parts for a limited period (six months, one year).

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