A vintage gem

used car purchase

A vintage gem

If you’re toying with the idea of purchasing a used car, we have some useful tips to make sure your new pride and joy doesn’t leave you stranded.
The AGVS, Switzerland’s professional association for the automotive industry, estimates that around 860,000 vehicles will undergo a change of ownership this year. It’s a growing trend, partly because prices are likely to fall further in the second-hand market. Our five tips will show you what you need to pay attention to when buying a used car.

1. Compare prices

The second-hand market has no shortage of used cars. It’s therefore worth taking plenty of time for your search and to review any favorites you might have. It helps to make a list of models that you can compare in terms of engine size, vintage, performance, features and mileage. This makes it possible to calculate a realistic price. The first impression also counts, of course: Has the car been photographed from different angles? Are there close-up shots of the interior? Is the description of the features convincing enough or are there even defects listed here? 

2. Viewing in person

Be sure to check for yourself that your future vehicle is in a technically flawless condition. You might find a few small blemishes, which could allow you to push the price down a bit. Are documents such as the registration certificate, the report from its last MFK check, and an uninterrupted service history available? Are there any invoices from maintenance or repair work carried out? When you view the car, it’s important that the vehicle is freely accessible and can be examined closely in daylight and in good weather. Even if you are no expert, a close inspection will enable you to assess the technical condition of the object of your desire. 

3. Thorough test drive

When purchasing a used car, it’s essential to take a thorough test drive. You should therefore ensure that you have your driver’s license to hand. First, take a look at the display instruments on the dashboard. Does the engine start easily and run cleanly while idling? Try out the air conditioning, the radio, electric wing mirrors, heated seats and any other electrical functions. Do you notice any irregularities or any worrying noises during the journey? Do the brakes work cleanly? Does the coolant temperature remain suitably low? 

4. Agree to the sale in writing

Although a handshake or a receipt is sufficient where there is a purchase contract, we nevertheless recommend drawing up a written agreement. In principle, minor losses do not have to be disclosed for the sale of a car, but there is an obligation to specify any damage resulting from an accident. Anyone purchasing a used vehicle should therefore set out in the agreement whether it has remained accident-free or not. A helpful template is available at www.comparis.ch. If you make a deal, then you can choose how to pay. As a general rule, you will have to pay before collecting the vehicle.

5. The final steps

If you don’t meet the seller, then make sure they send you the original of the vehicle registration document that has been stamped to invalidate it. Once you have this, you can register the vehicle in your own name with the road traffic authority. The prerequisite for this is an insurance certificate – so it’s worth getting some advice beforehand so that you can find the optimum insurance solution for you.

The best protection for your car with many advantages

With Zurich car insurance, your vehicle is protected from bumper to bumper. Insure your car with Zurich and get motorist's legal protection insurance from Orion* free of charge for one year. In addition, we will reward you with 500 Swiss francs less deductible after three years without an accident. And you benefit from our premium protection in the event of a loss.

*The provider of the legal expenses insurance is Orion Legal Protection Insurance Company Ltd, based in Basel.

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