Setting a budget for buying a used car

While budget constraints are the primary reasons for buying a used car, make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few tips to help you do so

Car buying budget

One of the biggest reasons for buying a used car is budget constraints. However, that should not remain the only criteria when looking for a used car. The condition of a car is equally important. Remember, there is no point looking for the cheapest deal in the market if the vehicle is barely fit to be driven. There are a lot of unscrupulous used car dealers who attempt selling a poorly maintained car that’s been fixed temporarily. These seemingly faultless cars work perfectly fine for a few kilometres until chinks start popping up all over again.

The prices for good second-hand vehicles vary from place to place in India. For instance, in Assam a well-maintained used 2004 Maruti Suzuki Alto LX for around Rs. 1,10 lakh. However, in Delhi it would be difficult to find an equally road-worthy 2004 Alto. A 2009 model would be a more realistic. A 2009 Alto LX in New Delhi would cost you Rs. 1,90,000 in the used car market.

It is also advisable to go for a car under five years old while going in for a used car, unless it has been, truly, sparingly used. It is not very difficult to identify the running period of a vehicle from its age. The first impressions can be obtained by simply looking at the vehicle. If there are no major dents and scrapes and the paint looks even all around the vehicle, if the doors open and close perfectly, if the interior plastics and or fabric/leather are clean and have not faded, if the carpets and seats look acceptable and if the engine bay is clean with all wires in their original shape and form a vehicle is more or less worth scrutinising further.

calculating cost of ownership

Decide on the budget for purchasing a used vehicle and only then should you go out looking for a vehicle. There is no point in going for a big car that is cheaper than used most hatchbacks on the market as the vehicle will be considerably old and would have clocked serious distances meaning that the vehicle will require a lot of upkeep and/or won’t be satisfying to own as it won’t be perfect, the way a machine is meant to function. 

Going for an immaculately maintained used vehicle that is not dirt cheap is the key to buying a used car that will run perfectly. It means the previous owner has sold the vehicle not because it isn’t the same anymore, but because the owner has upgraded to another vehicle. 

Choosing the right car

The most important step while buying a used car, just like making any other purchase, is to decide your budget for buying the car. Once the budget is fixed, analyse the market to see which cars fall within the budget, then select the car of your choice and then go about looking for the best deal you can find on the market. 

Opting for a well-maintained used Maruti Alto in New Delhi will set you back by around Rs. 1.90 lakh to Rs. 2.10 lakh. Over the purchase price, insurance will amount to roughly Rs. 5,000. And your annual servicing costs will roughly amount to Rs. 10,000, assuming the car is serviced three times a year. That means an added expense of Rs. 15,000 over the purchase price of the car within a span of one year. So the bigger the car you buy, the higher the insurance and maintenance costs. 

The best way to determine the cost of ownership of a vehicle is to talk to people who own the vehicle that you are looking to buy. This helps you get a realistic idea of how much you will have to shell out to run and maintain the vehicle you buy. 

Do keep in mind that just because you have not spent much on a used vehicle does not meant it should be manhandled and disposed off. Maintain it like a new car so that when the time comes to sell it, you fetch a good price and recover your initial investment. Be a smart motorist.

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