In the Philippines, the used car marketplace never sleeps. With such a plethora of choices, quality and usability of these cars may vary.
Sadly, with the rise of online selling, where it’s much too easy to be anonymous, people can take advantage of you if you’re not careful.
So, the question is, how do you mitigate the risk of making dangerous mistakes when choosing the right vehicle?
If you are set on buying a secondhand vehicle, we are here to help with three tips to avoid being a victim of car scams.
Know the fair market value of the car you’re interested in. Many experienced scammers will post fake listings on classified websites for cars that are in high demand — whether secondhand or brand new. These ads may even feature believable information and good pictures that were stolen from a verified seller online.
To avoid getting fooled by a fake listing, do your research and look at many other listings of your dream car. This way, you become familiar with what fair prices and payment terms look like. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for official identification. Ask for any valid government ID, preferably their driver’s license. Before scheduling a meetup, ask for the vehicle’s plate number so that you can run it through the LTO plate number verification — simply text LTO VEHICLE [plate number] to 2600. This will allow you to verify the car’s registered plate number, make, model, year, color, the date of its last registry, and apprehension status.
Upon meetup, do a further verification of the official documents by asking to see the Official Receipt (OR) and Certificate of Registration (CR). Check if the information you got from the LTO verification matches the information on the OR. Most importantly, check if the name on the CR matches the identity of the seller. If not, ask them for a notarized document with the original owner’s IDs and signatures — official documentation that the seller is allowed to sell the car on behalf of the original owner.
A used car is not always “second” hand. You may be the third, fourth, or even fifth owner. If the seller isn’t the original owner, you may request to see the notarized deed of sale from when they bought the car themselves.
You know you’re onto a good used vehicle when you can track the owners all the way to when it was brand new!
Lastly, look for the engine number and chassis number on the vehicle (do your research on the make and model so you already know where it is). Check if they match the numbers on the Certificate of Registration. If there has been an engine replacement, ask for a valid reason why this information wasn’t indicated in the OR/CR and request the notarized deed of sale which proves that an engine swap indeed happened. It’s true that you can take care of updating the vehicle’s information yourself, but this would be a good opportunity to negotiate a lower price.
This may sound like a lot, but cars aren’t a cheap investment. Your time and efforts will pay off if you manage to purchase a reliable vehicle.
After finding out everything you need to know about the seller and the car’s documents, it’s time to check the condition of the vehicle itself.
Is the vehicle well-maintained? Ask for a service manual if possible. Ask the seller when the engine oil, brake fluid, and coolant were last changed. Pop the hood and check for a clean engine bay. If there are random splashes around, there might be a leak somewhere.
Check on the rubber parts. Are they still firm and springy? Note that rubber parts are near the end of their life when they become hard and brittle.
Does the engine start easily? It’s preferable to do this test from a cold start, meaning the vehicle has cooled down from any recent trips.
Once the vehicle is idling, check out how it feels. Is it vibrating too strongly? Is there a rattling sound? Or does the engine feel weak and insufficient?
Take a look at the dashboard to see if any warning lights are on, like the check engine light, oil warning light, or ABS warning light (depending on the vehicle). When warning lights are on while the engine is running, this might be an indication of a vehicle malfunction.
Rev the engine on neutral. Is it responsive? Take it for a test drive on a safe road and find out how the vehicle turns, stops, and starts.
But even if you do all of the above, your vehicle is not yet 100% inspected. We haven’t even mentioned the tires, the air conditioning, the suspension, and the electronics!
The average car has around 30,000 parts. Even if you can’t check every single one, you still deserve safety and assurance when it’s your turn to purchase a secondhand vehicle.
When you purchase a used vehicle through JBA Philippines, you don’t need to work as hard on the legit-checking part.
JBA Philippines offers a 452-point inspection system that accurately identifies the level of a car’s condition. We then categorize secondhand vehicles according to the following grading system. Can insert art related to inspection]
This grading system is designed for your convenience and peace of mind. With a car inspected meticulously by JBAP, you can be more confident that your secondhand purchase will return the best value of your time and money.
For more information, visit our website at jbap.com.ph.