How to buy a used car – complete guide!


Buying a car can be a daunting task; a vehicle is, for most people, either the biggest or the second biggest purchase of their lives in terms of monetary value. So, it comes as no surprise then that caution is advisable, especially when it comes to a pre-owned/used car.

Since its advent, PakWheels has been committed to make life easier for consumers and assist them in making informed decisions. In line with this tradition, we bring you our step by step guide to buying a used car!

While buying a used car is certainly more of an art than it is a science—there are many factors at play, and there is no single correct formula—today we will be arming you with some information you should bear in mind while buying a used car, so without further ado let’s get started.

Step 1: Decide your budget and car models

The first and foremost factor to consider would be your budget, more specifically, the cars that you can buy within your budget.

With PakWheels, knowing what vehicles you can buy within a particular price range is very simple, just a few clicks, and you will be able to make a list of vehicles you can buy in your present budget.

  • Download PakWheels App
  • Click on used car search, apply price filter, set your desired budget and see all the cars that are available in that price range or you can click on different price brackets on our home page to see the cars available in that bracket
  • Additionally, you can also visit our blog section and read many of our cars by budget articles

Our goal is to shortlist different vehicles that fall within your budget.

Step 2: Do your research

Once you have made a preliminary list of vehicles that fall in your budget, it is important to do your research to finalize your choice. Do not make a decision based on want or emotion alone, ask yourself: What features do you want? Can you put up with high maintenance/refueling costs? What about resale and parts availability? Compare the same category of cars that you would choose? These questions and many others should be answered before you decide on a car. You can get an idea from our following platforms:

  • PakWheels Car Review section – You can read reviews left by users on different cars. Visit the review section here.
  • PakWheels Blog – You can read different car reviews to make a good decision
  • PakWheels Forum – You can engage and discuss with experienced auto lovers to know which cars suit you best. There are fan groups for a lot of different models and brands such as Baleno, Cultus, Honda, Toyota.
  • PakWheels YouTube Channel – We have countless reviews on all cars sold in Pakistan. These videos can make you aware of different features, pros, and cons of the cars you are interested in or falls into your budget.
  • PakWheels Facebook communities – We have very active FB groups where people from around Pakistan are discussing vehicles and their issues with each other. You can ask questions there as well.

Step 3: Make a list of specific vehicles you want to buy and set up a visit with the seller

Now shortlist the cars and call the owners. Follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Go to website’s used car section.
  • Use filters to add information such as price, mileage, color, city, registered city, etc.
  • Hundreds of car ads will pop up. Summary of cars is given on this new page, and if you want a detailed summary, just click on the ad, and you will get the detailed information of the car.
  • Save the ads which seem reasonable to you so that you can contact the seller at a later time.
  • Contact your friend or any expert who knows about cars and their prices to get more insight into what you are going to buy
  • You can also use PakWheels Used Car Price Calculator as it will give a clear picture of how much money you should pay for the vehicle.
  • Call the seller or send him a message to inquire about his/her car.

What should you do while talking to the owner/seller?

  • Ask about the additional information regarding the car, i.e., exact mileage, availability of original documents/file, any known issue, accident history (if any), token tax to date, etc.
  • Try to get an idea if the seller is willing to give you any kind of discount on car prices or not. Remember that most of the owners will not give any kind of concession in the asking price of the car on the phone. However, there is still a margin for serious buyers. When you meet the seller, he/she can slash the asking price if they see you are willing and a serious buyer.

Once you have narrowed down a vehicle, set up a meeting time and location with the seller!

  • Remember to meet at a neutral place, and if you are meeting at the seller’s house or his/her appointed place, take somebody with you.
  • Never go alone to meet the seller and never carry the cash – these are golden rules to follow.

Idly bring along someone who can inspect the car so that you can make an informed decision.

Step 4: Get the car Inspected before buying 

Once you have selected a vehicle, it is highly advisable to have it inspected either by a trusted mechanic or by the PakWheels inspection team, which is especially trained and properly equipped to carry out this task.

The inspection Service checks the mechanical and physical condition of the car on 200+ points and provides you with the actual picture of the car in real-time. It’s like getting the car X rayed.

Click here to know in detail about PakWheels Inspection service

If you are knowledgeable about the car, then inspect it without any hesitation. Check for any noise coming from the car, especially the engine noise, also do check the car blow it will give you the idea in which condition the engine of the car is. Moreover, check for body rust/accidentals, body paint, suspension, tires, etc. of the car.

Here is a detailed article on how to inspect a used car

If the said vehicle is a JDM, it is essential that you check and verify the Auction Sheet, which comes with every car that is imported from Japan. Do not buy the car if the seller does not provide the sheet; no car comes without one. As for verification, PakWheels’ Auction Sheet Verification Service may be of help.

The auction sheet is a snapshot of the condition of the car before it goes to the Japanese port, then comes to the Pakistani port and finally lands at a dealership in Pakistan.

Click to view the detailed article on PakWheels Auction service

Step 5: Take a test drive

Once you have selected a car, it is essential that you test drive it. This is the best way to ensure that there is no mismatch between what you were expecting and what you got. While a thorough inspection will make you aware of most flaws in the car, you can only make an informed decision once you drive the car for 3-5 kilometers and ask yourself if that is what you were expecting. A lot of people change their minds after test drives since the car was not what they wanted in the first place!

Step 6: Check the documents

This is perhaps the most critical step. Double-check the chassis number with the one on the documents, and if there is any discrepancy, immediately stop pursuing the car. Moreover, also, check whether the book or the file of the car is duplicate or not because it affects the price of the vehicle, and many times it leads to fraud as well. Additionally, check the GD (goods declaration), BL (bill of lading), and Export Certificate as well.

Here is a detailed article you should check before buying a car

Step 7: Payment method

If all went as planned, then you should land at this step. However, again, you need to be careful here as well: you must avoid cash at all costs. Pay the owner by getting a Pay Order made in his name. You must have evidence and money trail of the transaction. It is advised that you carry out this transaction through your bank. Make sure to sign the Sale Receipt and Delivery Letter. Keep these in a safe place.

Step 8: Transfer the vehicle under your name

Even if the car is in your garage, the process is not complete. You must transfer the vehicle under your name, as driving on an open letter is illegal.

Step 9: Change engine oil, air filter, and tire 

After purchasing the car, change its engine oil, air filter, and tires, if needed.

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