Where should I buy a used car

Buying a used car: tips and checklist

Manipulated speedometer, concealed damage, missing papers: when buying a used car, you can quickly experience nasty surprises. To prevent this from happening, you should pay attention to a few tips - and work through the ADAC used vehicle checklist.

It is not always easy to tell a reputable car salesman from a black sheep. But: There are at least some clues trusted used car supplier speaks openly about previous damage and defects in the car, for example. It provides complete vehicle documentation (including Neat service booklet, TÜV report, AU certificate) and, in the best case, a technical report from an independent body. Customers can take a leisurely look at the used car and extensively test drive it.

Used car checklist

With the Checklist for buying a used car you can track down the most important defects yourself. Simply download the following PDF, print it out and take the checklist for buying a car with you:

Do not allow yourself to be put under pressure

Caution is advisedif you are put under pressure by the dealer ("You have to decide quickly") or if specific questions are answered with banal phrases (e.g. "This is always the case with these models."). Take a close look at the papers: are they complete and is your contractor actually the owner? And are there gaps in the "curriculum vitae"? If there are many previous owners in the vehicle registration document or in the registration certificate, you should be suspicious. Insist on the seller confirming oral representations in writing.

Above all, bring Time and patience with and approach the purchase decision rationally. If possible, bring an accompanying person with you to the viewing appointment (four eyes see more than two) and under no circumstances do without a detailed test drive. This is especially true for novice drivers. In general, if an offer is too good to be true, it is usually not!

Here you will find information on the most common tricks and methods used by the black sheep on the used car market.

What to look out for when viewing

Important when visiting: The car should be freely accessible and be examined carefully when it is bright and the weather is good. Even a layperson is able to Tour around the car to get a first impression of the technical condition. It is suspicious if the vehicle has not been washed. Then checking the body surface is not so easy. Should any rust spots, dents or scratches be covered up? Are the windows, headlights and indicators OK? Do the tires still have tread and are they undamaged? Is the TÜV sticker valid?

The Look under the car is also very important. Oil in the bottom could indicate a problem in the engine or transmission. If you ask Open the hood If you find that the oil change tag shows a higher mileage than the odometer on the dashboard, you know that something is wrong. Also check that the hoses and seals are tight. A look into the coolant container can also be informative. If it is cloudy, the cylinder head gasket could be defective.

Signs of defects in Vehicle interior: If the car smells musty or the floor carpets are damp, the body may be leaking. And: If the seat belts do not roll up properly, this indicates heavy use. In any case, it means that they have to be renewed.

Used vehicle inspection at the ADAC

In order to reduce the risk of catching a bad specimen, a used vehicle inspection at your ADAC regional club or at other test centers is useful. If the seller does not agree, he may have something to hide.

Test drive: How is the vehicle insured?

When buying a used car, an extensive test drive is essential. Before taking the test drive, clarify how insured the vehicle is. Of course, it is best to take out comprehensive insurance. If this exists and the test driver causes damage to the vehicle of the private seller, he only has to reimburse the deductible and an upgrade damage. If you buy from a dealer, it is assumed that the liability has been tacitly reduced to gross negligence and willful misconduct.

With the ADAC model agreement you can put all the rules for the test drive in writing:

What to look out for during a test drive

  • Test the car of your dreams initially as a passenger. This is the only way you can look around the interior in peace. First check the instruments in the cockpit: Are any indicator lights on? Are the speedometer and tachometer working properly? Test the air conditioning, electric exterior mirrors, heated seats, radio and all other electrical functions. Do you notice any irregularities or disturbing noises while driving? Pay attention to unusual switching noises.

  • Sit down himself at the wheel, Pay particular attention to the following details: When the ignition is switched on, the control lamps in the cockpit (ABS, ESP, airbags) must light up briefly and go out when the engine starts. Does the engine run smoothly and start right away? Is the clutch dragging?

  • The transmission should be easy to switch. Does the steering wheel vibrate in or above a certain speed range?

  • Choose one for the test driveRoad that is not in optimal condition (Potholes etc.) or tight curves. Check the car's response here.

  • Check specifically thoseBrakes: Outside the city, accelerate briefly to around 100 km / h on a little-traveled branch line and then brake more and more slowly (pay attention to the following traffic). In this way it can be seen whether the car is staying in the lane or behaving abnormally.

  • That tooParking is a good test: noises coming from the car's drivetrains are easier to hear when driving slowly back and forth.

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