here’s everything you need to know before you buy
You want to buy a used car, but you don’t know how to do it. Documents, mileage, experience… here we advise you to follow to get the best conditions.
This has always been the right plan for anyone who wants to own a car but doesn’t want to face new delays or is on a tight budget. Although sales are slowing down and prices have increased by 30% in the last two years, the second-hand car market is still attractive… Don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know about buying second-hand. car.
Determine your budget
Rising fuel prices and second-hand car prices (average €24,700 in December compared to €21,400 in January!) have made the car a luxury item. In this context, the question of budget must be solved before buying second hand. Therefore, it should be determined according to what you want: category, engine, number of seats, loading capacity, but also insurance price…
A used car should be useful and fit your needs: so choose reason over passion. If it’s a problem car, you’ll be glad you followed this first tip.
Imagine you’ve set your sights on the Renault Clio, the star of the second-hand market in France. During your discussion with the seller, first ask for the car’s file along 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 first registration. Also pay attention to the history of the gray card. If it’s too new, maybe the model is invalid. Moreover, if its price is low, it will be falsely desired.
You can also ask for a recent MOT report to get an idea of the vehicle’s condition. The document (less than six months for vehicles older than four years) will be mandatory for sale in any case in good condition.
To summarize, you should get the following at the time of purchase: crossed-out gray card (signed and date of sale), copy of transfer certificate, inspection certificate (less than six months old for more than four cars). year) and a certificate of no lien, also called a certificate of administrative status. In addition, the registration formalities are done online only, the seller is required to provide you with a transfer code that will allow you to claim your registration card online within 15 days of the transaction. Without this transfer code, you will have 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 sharply lower average distance a year before the sale can be a sign of a bad plan. Also check that the reading on the meter is not less than what is written on the label of the last oil change. To help you, the government website HistoVec collects vehicle information. The seller can share it with the buyer who is interested in consulting it before buying.
… and the condition of the car!
It goes without saying, but before buying a used car, it must be inspected. Look at the body from the outside, check the condition of the paint (color differences), the assemblies (damaged car), the condition of the windows and optics. Don’t forget to check the condition of the tires and make sure they are the same on each axle.
Behind the wheel, the general condition of the cabin will make a first impression. Check the condition of the floor (stains, tears), wear of the steering wheel and pedals. Check the operation of the comfort elements (car radio, air conditioner, electric windows, etc.).
In addition: You need to be able to test the car on all roads to check its reactions during acceleration, braking, as well as its behavior at high speeds. Listen to the engine, check the direction, go through all the gears, and ask as many questions as you can when there is a suspicious noise. If the seller refuses, don’t buy the car.
With a professional or with an individual?
In the context of declining new car sales, drivers are actually less likely to trade in their old cars, and so the number of people waiting at commercials or in dealership parking lots is reduced.
With professionals, you can logically have more confidence in applying a six-month or one-year warranty, but they will tend to raise prices to achieve a margin. You will get an older car for the same budget than you bought last year…
Among individuals, you can find 10- and 15-year-old cars, as well as more among multi-brand dealers. A certain owner will sell for a lower price and you can negotiate more easily. But there’s no guarantee you’ll avoid a scam…
How to best protect against scams?
It’s no secret to avoid scams: follow our advice as much as possible, ask questions and get an idea of the price on the Argus website, which is a reference for updated ratings for each car. The easiest scam to avoid is the reverse scam. Observation is important for this. Don’t buy this used car if the odometer shows a few kilometers with worn floors, gearbox and tires (or if the car has been driven mainly in city traffic or short distances). be more careful with trafficked vehicles or high-risk models.
In general, you should be careful with cars from abroad, especially from Germany or southern Italy. “Rejuvenation” of odometers is not prohibited there and is common (in case of engine replacement in Germany). The obligation of sellers to record in the maintenance book is simple. Cross-checking data and going through invoices is more important than ever.
A certified automotive expert can help you before you buy. Trustoo and Experveo are companies that specialize in used car valuations. Its price is between 70 and 250 euros, depending on the type of intervention (car tour + salon or test drive) and the time spent.
Time to sell
Everything should be fine with a professional, so they don’t need to advise you when to sign and pay. On the other hand, when you encounter an individual, pinpoint your place and moment. If you meet in a parking lot, do not leave without all the necessary documents to change the registration document of the car and ask the seller for proof of identity. This will prevent it from disappearing and you from being cheated. Prefer a bank check instead of cash.
When you own a car, you need to insure it. When it comes to selling from person to person, this is when the gray card is crossed out before you walk away with it. For purchase from a professional, the car must be insured at the time of delivery. The fact that the vehicle is returned using a tray to place it on private land does not obligate the buyer to insure the vehicle.
And after the purchase?
If you buy a used car that breaks down shortly after purchase, remember that you may be covered by several warranties. The website economie.gouv.fr lists them. The legal guarantee of conformity covers defects of conformity and allows you to ask the seller to repair or replace the goods. Legal guarantees or hidden defects apply provided that the defect is serious and prevents the normal use of the vehicle. The defect must be proven to be hidden and present prior to purchase.
Finally, the manufacturer’s so-called commercial warranty covers certain defects and defective parts for a limited period of time (six months, one year).