Tips for buying used cars

Buying a car is always an exciting thing. A little more when it comes to the first own car. But how do you buy a car and what should you pay attention to? We have summarized that for you!

It can be a long way from the first search for a new or your first car to the drive from the seller’s yard. There are many things to consider and some stumbling blocks can be waiting for you. With our help, you no longer need a bus schedule. Because we have your timetable in your own car. With it, you can jump over many stumbling blocks and hopefully save yourself one or two euros. Let’s get started!

Your way to your own car

So let’s take a look at the road to buying a car. True to the motto “First Things First”, we start looking for the right car at the very beginning.

The search for the right car

In the beginning, you have to be clear about which car you should look for. This largely determines your existing budget anyway. But as a novice driver, you should pay particular attention to a few things. With all the temptations out there in the car market with countless powerful, large or sporty cars, you should try to be a little sensitive right from the start.

This will also pay off in insurance if you initially opt for a smaller engine and a rather smaller compact car. With such a combination, you will find it easier in many situations. Especially when things get a little closer. You should also consider how old the car can be.

As soon as you have found a direction in which you want to search, you can go ahead and find your possible dream car. We have a few tips for you to choose the right car.

Our 4 special tips for car search

  1. Stay Cool Part 1: Don’t take everything on the Internet at face value immediately. Good examples are forums that report a specific deficiency. This does not immediately mean that all models are affected. So don’t let it drive you crazy and give it your own impression of the real car at the seller.
  2. Stay cool Part 2: Stay neutral with the respective car. Avoid falling in love with the car before you even see it. Otherwise, in your euphoria, you could quickly overlook possible defects or regret the purchase later for other avoidable reasons.
  3. When buying, keep in mind: in most cases, it won’t be your last car. In other words, you will eventually sell the respective car again. So try to avoid things like particularly wild colors. A simple VW Polo in black is easier to sell than in a bright pink. You should also avoid too special decorations in the interior.
  4. Watch out for tuning parts: Better keep your hands off already tuned vehicles. You can never be 100% sure that everything has been installed correctly and is correct. Better to take a production vehicle and then take care of the tuning yourself.

The viewing appointment

After a detailed search, you have finally found your object of desire. Then it’s time to take the next step and contact the provider. For the sake of simplicity, we assume in our further scenario that you want to buy a used car. Tips for buying a new car will come later.

For a proper viewing appointment, you should take care of these four things:

  • Take enough time
  • No appointment in the dark
  • Get a used car checklist
  • Never go on a tour alone

Time pressure is definitely a bad companion if you want to take a close look at the car. So give yourself enough time to see everything in peace. In the dark, it would be very difficult to really discover all possible scratches or other defects – even with a flashlight. However, you should also have a flashlight with you in daylight so that you can see even the darkest angles in the engine compartment. A used car checklist is another important companion. With it, you can checkpoint by point and take a close look at the car.

Speaking of magnifying glass: four eyes see more than two. So we already have the most important reason not to go on a tour alone. In addition, it is often a pleasant moral advantage to have additional support when talking to the seller. The escort is particularly valuable, of course, if she is really knowledgeable about cars. The emphasis is really good.

The test drive

Your company can also support you during a test drive. In addition to the extra pair of ears that could hear suspicious noises, you have an additional driver. Far too rarely, interested parties also ride as co-drivers. You can get to know the car even better from the passenger seat or even from the back seat. How does the air conditioner work? How can the radio be operated? What is the sound like? It is better not to concentrate on all of these things while driving. To test the driving experience, the engine, the brakes, etc., you still have to drive yourself.

Before you can start the test drive, you must clarify with the owner or dealer whether the car is insured and approved accordingly. Whether you can start alone or whether the seller accompanies you varies from case to case. If you are not accompanied by a real car expert, the test drive should also take you to a test center. There the car is checked according to all the rules of art. Finally, you will receive a detailed test report that you can refer to later in the price negotiation. If there are defects that can lower the price.

The showdown: the price negotiation

You have found the car of your choice, inspected it and test drive it. The next step is a price negotiation. The decision is clear for you: “I want to buy this car!” But keep these thoughts for yourself for the time being. A rock-solid poker face is now your most important negotiator. Remain critical and point out possible shortcomings. So you have the best chance of pushing the price down a bit. The test report with possible defects can also come into play here.

A simple tip to get an additional discount quite easily: Pay in cash.

Despite all the coolness, you should always keep one thing in mind: The negotiation is on an equal footing. Try not to see yourself as a puny petitioner or the dealer as your insurmountable enemy. In such situations, we tend to classify ourselves and our powers much smaller than they really are. As confident as the seller may seem, he may also feel small and ask himself: “What if he or she really doesn’t buy the car?” So stay calm, don’t be too impressed, but show the seller yours too Respect. On this basis, you can find a good price together.

For all the hard-boiled: If the price negotiation is stuck and the seller does not give in and does not give in: break off the negotiation and make preparations to leave. The seller often gives in afterwards.

If the retailer can actually no longer do anything at the price, you still have the option of agreeing on certain additional services. These can be things like a later inspection, a set of tires, underbody protection or very simple: a fuel voucher. Something is always possible.

The purchase agreement

When buying a car, the purchase contract basically has only one role: It regulates all rights of buyers and sellers and records them in writing. You can’t go wrong with the contract itself. There are various templates online that contain all the necessary information. When this is done you should consider the following things:

  • You must receive all keys and documents from the seller
  • Take a close look at the documents. Check whether everything fits here, such as the chassis number.
  • If the seller does not own the car, he needs a power of attorney

That has to be part of the sales contract

If the seller does not use any of the known templates, you should make sure that at least the following things are recorded in the contract:

  • Address, name, date of birth and ID number of buyer and seller
  • Vehicle data: Manufacturer, type, registration number, vehicle identification number, first registration and any accessories that are sold with
  • purchase price
  • possible identified defects or accident damage
  • Warranty or guarantee commitments by the seller (if available)
  • Declaration by the seller regarding the change of registration
  • other agreements
  • your confirmation that you have received the documents, the car and the keys
  • Signatures of buyers and sellers

The issue of warranty should also be considered when buying a car. A commercial seller is obliged to give you a warranty of at least one year. However, this does not apply to a private seller. He does not have to accept any liability in the event of defects occurring later.

Bought! What do you have to consider insurance and approval?

After the purchase is before approval. What to do after buying a car? First, you need car insurance. It is required by law and must at least be included in the form of motor vehicle liability insurance. If you cause an accident, it covers the damage to other road users. Conversely, your insurance will cover your damage. There is also partial and comprehensive insurance. The former covers part of your own damage in certain cases. This involves damage caused by hail, thunderstorms, fire or theft. Fully comprehensive insurance covers all damage you cause. Provided you are not grossly negligent or have been under the influence of drugs.

However, what you should pay attention to as a beginner driver around the topic of insurance is a story of its own.

The three types of auto insurance

  • Motor vehicle liability: insures the other’s damage; legal minimum
  • Partial coverage: covers parts of your own damage (examples: damage caused by storms, fire, theft)
  • Fully comprehensive: covers all your damage

As soon as you have taken out insurance, you will receive the electronic insurance confirmation in the form of the UVB number. It is a combination of a total of seven numbers and letters.


The admissions office has direct access to your eVB number via a central database. This confirms that you have (at least) taken out a corresponding motor vehicle liability insurance.

Together with the other documents, nothing stands in the way of the registration of your new car. Depending on the type of admission, between EUR 26.30 and EUR 41.60 will be due for registration. After that, you have everything you need to drive off with your license plate and environmental badge.

What you need for admission:

  • Registration certificate Part I / vehicle registration)
  • Registration certificate part II (vehicle registration document)
  • EvB number: electronic insurance confirmation
  • a valid ID
  • Money for registration fees

A tip for the future: If you move, you can also take your license plate with you. All you have to do is have the address on the registration document changed at the registration office and pay between EUR 20.00 and EUR 30.00. So you can continue to travel with your Berlin license plate after moving to Munich.

Our 3 most important tips for buying used cars

Finally, we would like to summarize our top tips for you again.

  • A test drive must be. If possible also as a passenger. Make sure that the car is insured and registered.
  • Be sure to take a used car checklist with you and go through it in peace.
  • Have the car checked through carefully in the test center and use the test report in the price negotiation.

Our 3 most important tips for buying a new car

As promised earlier, we have a few special tips for you about buying a new car:

  • Take a test drive here as well to get a good impression of the model.
  • Compare the prices. Each dealer usually has different prices or services on offer.
  • Pay attention to the possible new car guarantees from different manufacturers.

Your car in 10 steps

Finally, let’s briefly summarize your path to your own car.

  1. You start looking for your dream car, but you stay cool.
  2. You make an appointment for a daylight inspection and take a companion with you.
  3. With the help of a used car checklist, you can take a close look at the car.
  4. As a driver and co-driver, you take a test drive and drive to the test center.
  5. If you really want the car, don’t let it show.
  6. With the test report, you go into price negotiations with the seller on an equal footing.
  7. You sign the purchase contract.
  8. You take out insurance.
  9. You register your car.
  10. Good ride!

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