Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide

Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide

So you’ve decided to buy a used car/pre-owned car. It’s a very good decision! But friends, it can turn into a bad decision as well. 

Why? When you buy a used car, you need to keep a lot of things in mind & I’ll tell you more about them. But before that listen to these facts!

Firstly, when you buy a brand-new car, its price depreciates by 20-30% after leaving the showroom.  It depreciates in the first 6 months & depreciates up to 60 % in the first 3 years. But imagine, 3 out of 4 new cars get exchanged for old cars. The used car market is huge! And it’s booming every day. 

So what are the things to keep in mind while buying a used car? 

First, fix & stick to your budget before buying!  Whatever may be your budget(Rs 4L/8L). Fix it first, that’s important! And you may be planning on taking a loan.  Remember, the interest rates of new cars are lower than that of used cars. So if you’re taking a loan, then plan it for less tenure so that the interest rate is low too. 

You have 3 options when you buy a used car.

1) Known Person (friend/family member)

As there is no broker & it saves you money! And buying a car from known people means you are somewhat knowledgeable about the car’s history too. So that’s the ideal scenario. (Best Option)

2) Car Brokers

You’ll find used car showrooms/dealers from where you can buy used cars. I’ll tell you more about it further. 

3) Certified Pre-Owned Cars 

There are many outlets from Mahindra(First Choice), Maruti(True Value), etc. If you buy from them, it’ll be expensive, but you’ll have peace of mind as they inspect the car properly. 

So these are the 3 options from where you’ll buy the used cars. But which car should you buy & how old should it be? 

How much old car should I buy in India?

As mentioned at the beginning, if the car is 3 years old or less, it’s the best time to buy the car! Because, the price is the most depreciated at that time, & it’ll be more value for money to you! 

How many kms is good for a secondhand car?

Talking about distance, it’ll be nice if you’re buying a car that has run for 50-60K Kms. It should be around 60K km, if it’s more, keep in mind that it’ll cost you more money in maintenance. 

Check verified used cars at

Let’s say you’ve decided on the car and the source from where you’re buying it. 

Complete Guide to Buying a Second-hand Car

Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide


It’s the most important point, no matter where you’re buying the used car(broker/friend/dealer/carDekho). But, inspection is very important. 

And if you have a known mechanic or a friend, take him along with you to inspect. It’s important as we don’t know everything, especially about an engine!  So if you take a mechanic along, he’ll tell you exactly what’s good/bad.

Check Engine

It’s important to check if the engine is clean/if there’s rust. Many cars from coastal cities have rusty engines & rusting starts after 2-3 years. And that’s very bad for an engine! So specifically keep an eye out for this! 

Check Tyres

They’re important & expensive, so properly check the treads. 

Check Electricals

This creates many problems & spends more money. Check all nobs, switches, buttons, etc. Check the headlights, tail lights, fog lamps, etc whether they’re running properly or not. It’ll only take you 5 minutes, but it’ll save you a lot of money. 

Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide

Check Exterior

Properly check whether the car has dents, and also check if the car is modified from the inside. 

Many times the owners like to have very different things in a car. And the original OEM equipment is replaced, which affects its drive quality. 

There are 2-3 things more that I’d like to mention. A single-owner-used car is better! 

If someone buys & sells it after a year to someone & then you’re buying it after the 2nd person, then you become the 3rd owner. Generally, be the 2nd owner. Don’t buy cars that have already been with 2 people. 

Also check if the car has been in an accident, where the engine had to be changed. Because they’ll be cheap & will also give you more problems. 

Test Ride

Take a test ride along with your friend because a 2nd opinion is always good. And when you take a test drive, do keep in mind why you’re buying the car(office commute). Because it doesn’t make sense to buy a big car for that. So look for a car according to your utilization. 

  • Check the drive quality,
  • Engine problems,
  • Suspensions, etc & you’ll know all these only after a test drive! 
Buying A Used Car In India: A Complete Guide

But even an old Chevrolet running for 30-40K km can have problems. So keep the brand in mind. Generally, Toyota/Honda cars have more life. Remember, you should be able to use the pre-owned car for another 3-4 years! 

So try to know how well the car would run for another 50-70K km & keep that in mind before buying. 

Secondly, if you’re a new driver or have just learned how to drive. A new driver with a new car has a lot of chance of causing an accident or scratches to the car. So for them, the 2nd hand car is good as a testbed. Use it for 1-2 years as it’s cheap & then think about a new car! So you’ll have to keep these 2-3 things in mind as well. 

Service History

Finally, if you’ve liked & decided on the car, ask about its service history. And all related documents, about all servicing times, changes made in the car, etc. It’s important to know the service/maintenance history. 


All documents should be in order! The RC book, etc. whether any bank claims it/not, etc. You should keep all these things in mind.

And another important document, check whether the insurance is included or not. If any insurance has lapsed, you’ll have to spend/pay more money! So when you’re buying a used car, make sure it’s insured! 


This depends on how good you are at negotiating. Some are really amazing at it. And can buy a car worth Rs 4.5-5L for just Rs 3.5-4L or even less than that. So that’s up to you. Develop your negotiation skills to get an even less price to save your own money! 

There are many things people know but don’t do. These things are not implemented & that’s why this article is to help you.

How do I choose a good used car?

– Follow the above tips while buying a used car.

Is it good to buy used cars for the first time?

– Yes, but you need to keep a lot of things in mind.

Is it good to buy second-hand car in India?

– Yes, but go with a single-owner-used car.

How to buy second hand car online

– Carwale, CarDekho

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