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Danielruby   20 October 2021

What to check when buying a used car?

What to check when buying a used car?

I am looking to buy a used car. What do you think I should check (mechanically) before buying it (especially if it's a diesel)?


 3 Replies

Anusha Singh   21 October 2021

As per your query it is understood that you need information regarding the things you need to check before buying a second hand car.

Here’s a list of things to check and inspect with regards to the car’s condition before buying a used vehicle in India.

1) Interior

Have a look at the upholstery in the car. Check the front and back seats for any tear or stains. If the vehicle has electronic items such as a music system, monitor, etc., then try using it to ascertain its functionality.

2) Exterior

Take a good look at the vehicle from all angles. Things might look fine at first glance, but a close inspection can reveal a different picture. Watch out for rusting and paint damage.

3) Framing

While it is crucial to inspect the car closely, taking a step back and inspecting the car’s framing can also tell a lot about the vehicle. Check if the car is placed evenly and confirm that there’s nothing loose near the undercarriage.

4) Tyres

The condition of the tyres can be good or bad depending on the usage. You can check for the uniformity of the tyres concerning wear and tear. If the tyres are not worn evenly, it can lead to alignment issues, which means the car might tend to drift in a direction while driving.

5) Engine

It is suggested to inspect the engine thoroughly. Check for leaks, corrosion, and cracked tubes. Also, look at the oil and transmission fluid using a dipstick.

6) Mileage

If the car is not too old but has major mileage issues, then it can be a result of deeper problems. Discuss the mileage with the seller in detail as it is difficult to inspect in one go.

7) Test Drive

Test driving the car will give you a lot of insights related to its performance. Make it a point to drive the car on a highway, in narrow streets, take U-turns, etc. give special attention to the brakes. Driving the car for a considerable amount of time will tell you about its acceleration and suspension along with its ability to manoeuvre.

8) Maintenance Records:

Some car owners meticulously maintain the servicing records. They have the receipts filed and dates noted. On the other hand, some owners do not give too much thought towards maintaining records. They keep a mental note of the number of visits to the service centre in a year and the type of service performed.

Have a detailed conversation with the seller regarding the car’s maintenance history. If you get the well-maintained records, you can follow the same based on your usage. If you get a verbal history, you can analyse the extent to which the car needs servicing.

9) Check Registration Certificate:

Verify the authenticity of the vehicle’s registration certificate. It will have the owner’s name and the car’s details – engine number, chassis number, etc. The certificate should be original. If it is a duplicate one, it will be marked as DRC. In that case, speak to the seller about the DRC status and check, in which state was the car registered. If you want to move to another state, the car needs to be registered with that state’s Regional Transport Office (RTO). Your name should appear on the vehicle’s registration certificate after the purchase. Original purchase invoice, insurance, road tax receipt, and pollution certificate are other documents that are needed to be checked while buying a used car.

10) Car Insurance:

While buying a second-hand car, the old car insurance needs to be transferred to the new owner’s name. If the seller doesn’t do it proactively, it is the buyer’s responsibility to get it transferred. There might be legal issues if the car insurance is not transferred in the new owner’s name and the vehicle is involved in an accident or other such unfortunate events.

Hope it helps!



Anusha Singh

Rachel Moor   19 May 2023

When I bought a car, I trusted my friend to check it, because I could make a mistake. But I know exactly how to choose a car for rent. I usually book with the same company, more details here.

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     23 September 2023

this is a legal advise forum and all that you can be advised is that you need to be sure that the car is not stolen.

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