Buying a car is no longer the same as before as now you do not have to move from dealer to dealer. With many online platforms available, you can now buy a car with a click. However, it is not all that simple. You have to be careful in who you deal with. The last thing you want is to buy a car that makes your life a living hell, especially if it is your first one. Though the rush in cities like Colombo makes it a nightmare to have a car, you might still like to have one for the special occasions. In addition, why bother spending hours and days going from dealer to dealer, when you can do this in the comfort of your home. You as the buyer have the chance to customize your search and optimize as you wish. Nevertheless, too many choices can also drive you nuts, especially if you are clueless about what you want. There are certain things to look out for when you are buying a car online; here are few of them listed out for you.

Know what you want

With wide variety of choices, it is easy to lose your way, so have clear idea of what you want. To begin with, know the condition of the car you want. Sri Lanka is a market where it is allowed to import used vehicles. This was something that was established in the 70s. The policy was modified to allow only cars older than two years could be imported so the conditions of even a used car should be good to go. Nevertheless, you still need to know which brand and/or model you might like to have. Make sure you spend enough time analyzing the whole description of the car, including the interior, exterior, fuel economy, seating, and technical aspects. Inform yourself through user reviews and/or expert ratings.

Price check

Do a cross check on the prices offered by different sellers and get an idea as to why there are differences. As it is, the brand new car price in Sri Lanka is very high as it includes duty charges and other import taxes. New car prices in Sri Lanka can range from Rs. 1.5 -2.5 million  in the low, Rs. 3.5-6.0 for something in between low range and luxury, and the luxury versions starting at Rs. 9 million and up. The used cars are more affordable however; sometimes this might not be from a great percentage. It is also better to compare two cars across the same portfolio. Use the same methods in the comparisons and calculating the average of the prices will help you in deciding your budget.

Contact the seller

Once you have made couple of choices make sure you contact each individual seller. It would be also great to prepare a checklist for the question you might want to ask them. Below are some important points not to be missed.

Millage: First, you need to understand that there is a difference between the mileage and total running of a car. Mileage of a car indicated the number of miles traveled with a liter of petrol and in contrast, total running is the total distance the car has traveled in the course of its life. Make sure you make proper inquiry about the mileage, as this number is higher in the old cars than in the new ones.

Number of Owners: Understanding the exact number of previous owners will give you an understanding about the condition of the car. Sometime the sellers might not be volunteering to answer this question but do not forget to insist on it. If the seller does not provide, you can also use the vehicle registration number to check the ownership history via Department of Motor Traffic.

Inquire about the parts: It is important to inquire if the parts are genuine or not. This will again let you know the condition of the car and the usage. Make sure you question about the interior and the exterior of the car. Do not miss anything out.

Pay a Visit

Once you have gone over the phone about the car pay a visit to the seller. Before the personal visit, make sure you have satisfied all the initial steps in buying the car online and that you are satisfied with the choice you have made. Before you make your way for the inspection have a clear understanding about the apparent and latent defects. Apparent defects are once that are visible for you during the inspection and latent defects can only be discovered when you drive the car for some time. It is also, a good idea to inform yourself about other factors such as insurance. Insurance is available beginning from around Rs. 50,000 per year. You can also get discounts as a premier customer in a bank, given that many of the banks in Sri Lanka has discount programs together with reputed insurance companies in Sri Lanka. Below find a checklist of things you need to remember when you are going to inspect the vehicle

Engine and Chassis number: Double check the engine and chassis number with the vehicle documentation. It will provide you an overview of the import date of the vehicle, if the parts are original, and if the vehicle has been damaged. In doing so, the seller has little opportunity to trick you in to buying something not worth the money. Assure yourself that you do not buy a car before you are satisfied with the records.

Fender and bumper: Do an inspection of the fender and bumper in the daylight and see if there are any visible damages to them. Any repair is an indication of an accident the vehicle might have been involved.

Windshield and Windows: Check these components for cracks, chips, refitting, or webbing. This will also indicate any accidents the vehicle has been involved.

Body Line: During the bodyline check kneel down and bring your eyes in level with the vehicle. Examine the main line that is to the downside of the body. This should be a straight line and should not have any cracks or damages. Recheck for any defects in the paint.

Panel, door gaps, and filler spots: Check for all the door gaps, and these gaps should be even top to bottom. Make sure to check filler spots. To do this you can run a hand down the body panels and around the corners of fender and the bumper. They should have a smooth feeling and should not have bumps or cracks.

Final Verdict

When you are making the final verdict, do not forget to be sure of your level of satisfaction with the every physical aspect of the vehicle after the inspection. Given that there are differences in listed price and the actual price make sure, you re-negotiate the price. Look into the differences in the calculations and see if you are satisfied with it. Do keep in mind the prices you researched on and used them in your negotiations. Do not forget to collect all the documents needed to complete the purchase of the car.

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