How To Know If A Second-Hand Car Is Right For You

June 14, 2022

Here is a simple buying guide to help you decide whether a second-hand vehicle is right for you.

After close to five years of planning, saving up, and assessing and reassessing our priorities, we finally settled for a second-hand vehicle for our family car. We initially wanted a brand-new car that’s of a higher model than what we bought but then again, because of the pandemic, we were afraid that the cost might be too much of a burden for us. In the end, we were fully satisfied with the second-hand family car that we bought.

Second-hand family vehicle buying guide
Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

How To Know If A Second-Hand Car Is Right For You

    Why buy a new car during the pandemic?

    I guess a lot of people would ask why we thought of buying a car in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, our first concern is mobility. Miguel goes to school weekly and we take him and Rafa to the pediatrician every month.

    With the threat of the COVID-19 virus still very much out there, we still wouldn’t want to risk taking public transportation as much as we can. At best, we take GrabCar but that is still not the best option. We thought that the best solution is to get our own car so that we are free to move whenever and wherever we want to.

    We are also concerned about our finances

    While we were able to save up money for our family car, we thought of not spending all of that amount and putting the rest in our emergency fund. For that purpose, purchasing a second-hand vehicle is the most sensible thing to do.

    We greatly feel the impact of COVID-19. I, for one, was forced to resign from my previous job because of some movements within our organization which is an indirect cause of the pandemic. That’s the general trend during the last two years.

    In fact, in my previous bank, a lot of motor vehicle loan clients had to default and return their loaned cars because they’ve lost their jobs. Some of those who lost employment were even couples, thus, taking an even bigger financial blow.

    I’m working as a freelance writer, blogger, and social media marketer but I do admit that they pay is not as high as that of a full-time office job.

    We took all of that into consideration and came up with the decision to get a used car instead of a brand-new one.

    To get a loan or not

    Second-hand vehicles cost less than brand new ones. Just the same, its cost may still be high depending on its age. As such, another important aspect to consider when buying a second-hand family vehicle is whether to get a loan or not.

    Blue second-hand car
    Photo by Oli Woodman on Unsplash

    Do remember that getting a loan can help you immediately get your car if you don’t have cash on hand. However, do keep in mind that when you do apply for a loan, you would have a monthly financial obligation until your loan has been fully paid.

    To help you determine if a loan is the right financial path for you, you can estimate your payments based on your salary (or salaries if you are a couple), the cost of the vehicle, and the payment term that you are willing to take. From there, you can compute your monthly amortization and then make the necessary adjustments so that the cost is within your means.

    On the other hand, if you do decide to pay in cash, you would naturally need to have a large sum with you. The beauty of paying in cash is that you are free from monthly obligations once you have bought your car.

    We personally saw the advantages of paying in cash so we went for this option. Again, we saved up for years and only bought a vehicle when we determined that we are financially ready.

    Other important factors to consider

    Some of the other important factors to consider when buying a second-hand car are the following:

    • How well-maintained it is
    • The size of the vehicle
    • Transmission type: manual or automatic
    • Fuel type: gas or diesel
    • Color and aesthetics: vehicles with more attractive colors generally cost higher

    Of course, this list is not exhaustive but these are the most common items that you should check when deciding on the vehicle that you should get.


    Getting a brand-new vehicle is a good option if cost is a concern to you. Just the same, there are also factors to look at beyond the vehicle’s price such as financing type and the condition of the vehicle. You have to consider all of those aspects in order to come up with a good decision because it's for the long-term.

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    1. I bought it second-hand for the first time after years in which I always bought in dealerships. We must be very careful and make a careful and careful choice!

    2. Thank you for such an enlightening post. I am also not employed full time yet I need to change my car. I am wary of buying a second hand car but your post gives me some confidence.

    3. These are great tips. You have to be so careful when you buy a used car. We buy used, but we always buy from a dealership.

    4. I bought a second hand car in the midst of Pandemic and you're guide is on point and true.

    5. Awesome post and it's very informative. Buying a car is just a tedious task especially if its a second have. This post will definitely a great help and gives idea to what there is needed to know.

    6. Something with low gas mileage is certainly in order these days. We're spending a small fortune on fuel. Getting a used car that takes less gas doesn't sound like a bad idea.

    7. Yyyeeesssss! This is a list anyone that plans to buy a car, in this era, needs to read line for line.

    8. Great tips! I feel like I wouldn't know much about this.

    9. It will be a while to get my car because I will be traveling but these are helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    10. This is so important and worth the read before travel - Mila

    11. Those are some great points to keep in mind and thanks for the share.

    12. These tips came just in time as we need a second car. I hope we are able to get one without a loan but you never know!