What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

What To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car is often considered one way of saving money. The cost of the vehicle is lower, so logically you end up saving a bunch of money.

However, it goes without saying that you should be careful. Used cars can often have defects that you are not told about, and general wear-and-tear could cause problems to crop up sooner rather than later. In this case, you could end up spending more through repairs.

So, before you jump on that great deal of a used car; here’s what you should be doing first.

Learn about the car you want

It’s normal to decide on the model of the car you want to buy, even if it’s second hand. However, it is also important to find out about defects and problems that crop up with that particular type of car.

For example, if you’re looking to get a second hand Honda ride, make sure the Takata airbags have been replaced. Certain models of other car brands may have reported issues with engine stalling, unreadable infotainment USB sticks or even faulty power windows. Best to read up all you can about a particular car model and year of manufacture before you set your mind on it.

These might be small things that you won’t notice from a short test drive. So best to know what to look out for before you even begin your search.

Keep an eye out for warranties

To get the most out of your used car, you should try to look for one that still has an active factory warranty. This can help you to balance cost with peace of mind. Not to mention that the fact that a factory warranty will mean that the car itself is still relatively new. 

Certain carmakers will have certified pre-owned programmes which offer some kind of warranty for used cars. There are even a few car dealers who include third-party warranties with their vehicles.

Inspect it, then take it for a spin

Do not just take a dealer’s word at face value. You’ve done your homework, so now it’s time to put it to the test.

Firstly, you should do an exterior inspection for these parts:

  • Glass panels: There should be no cracks or cratered areas.
  • Suspension: Ensure that the car is stable. Shake it from different angles and see if it returns to normal.
  • Lights: Ensure that everything is working, including high-beams, turn signals, and brake lights.
  • Tires: It’s easy to assume the tires are okay from a glance, but also make sure that they are all the same type.

You should next look under the bonnet (or hood to those that speak American):

  • Ensure nothing is leaking.
  • Check the engine oil and transmission dipsticks.
  • Make sure the belts are not cracked or dry.
  • Check the timing belt twice.

This step can be a bit intimidating for those who are not used to cars. In this case, it may be helpful for you to take the car to your trusted mechanic and ask for a second opinion.

Finally, you should move to the interior of the car and check:

  • Look for damage to the upholstery, metal and plastic parts. Some scratches may be acceptable, but ensure that it’s something you can live with.
  • Check for warning lights on the dashboard. Make sure that the lights are working as well.
  • Check the air conditioning.
  • Finally, check the odometer to ensure that it matches what was advertised.

The above checklist might sound like a daunting task, but it is the bare minimum needed to ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck without having to invest a hefty amount into maintenance after purchase. A car, even one that has already been used, is a big investment. You should not need to invest any more than necessary into it.

Where to get used cars?

There are actually quite a number of used car dealers in Malaysia that you can refer to. While not an exhaustive list, here are some that you can check out:


Carsome is a brand that you probably have heard of, even if you know nothing about it. It is among the largest of Southeast Asia’s integrated car e-commerce platforms. Carsome cars tend to come with warranties attached, so if you are not too sure about car hunting, Carsome is a rather safe bet.


MyTukar is another well-known brand when it comes to used cars in Malaysia. The company offers nationwide logistics and inspection services, while also helping with vehicle valuation and remarketing of pre-owned vehicles. 


For those who are on the move CariCarz has optimised their website for ease of use and accessibility. While you can browse their website with your computer, those who prefer the mobile experience will find a comprehensive and easy to use search engine.


Mudah.my is among Malaysia’s leading marketplaces that offers a simple and convenient platform for people to sell or find almost anything for a decent price. This includes used cars with Mudah auto. While their selection of sellers is impressive, quality may depend on the vendor.


Founded and headquartered in Singapore, Motorist was built up as a counter to unreasonable offers from unethical buyers who try to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. The company prides itself in providing an ecosystem of smart tools and services that allow car owners to better manage their vehicles for a fair price.

Buying a used car requires you to do your homework. There is no way around it. If you are not confident about evaluating a car yourself, bring along your trusted mechanic. If you play your cards right, depreciation on the car you are eyeing can be to your advantage, but you will have to be careful so as to not end up with a car that requires a hefty repair bill.

Read More: Do You Know The Difference Between CBU And CKD Car Models?

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