steps in buying a second hand car

Steps in buying a second hand car Philippines, what we did?

Steps in buying a second hand car – Philippines, what we did?

Buying a car is one of the major expenses that one may have, deciding to have between a new or second hand is always on consideration. Though having the new car is less headache and has a lot of benefits, in terms of car conditions, but it has a big amount attached to it.

Having our own car in the Philippines is one of our plans while working abroad. This is more our priority than to build a house with a few practical reasons. So while we are preparing our exit from UAE we set a budget for our car plan.

Despite the left and right encouraging offer for a brand new car, hubby and I decided to have a second-hand car. This will avoid us for a long term loan and financial burden later on.

Few weeks after we reach home from abroad we finalize this part. Let me share with you the steps we did.


-Steps in buying a second hand car  – Steps in buying a second hand car – Steps in buying a second hand car –


We chose to buy directly from the seller to avoid the agency fees. But this option requires us to exert time and effort in communicating with the seller. Joining a second-hand car group seller from Facebook is helpful. Bunches of a new listing are available daily from the lowest price to the updated model.

Make a list of your chosen few cars to contact

 Communicate with the seller

Once you are done with the list, this is the time to approach the seller. This part is a bit challenging as most of the seller is sarcastic to deal with. Ready yourself for an unaccommodating person who will let you feel, you are begging their favor for a good response. Don’t be surprised if you will see crazy instructions like “basa muna wag bobo / read first don’t be stupid” seeing this makes me wonder if this attitude is part of the new normal of some Filipinos.

But don’t lose hope, you can still encounter a professional person that worth to deal with, just keep calm


What to ask during your conversation

  • Car Year model – Verify the year model, in my experience, there are some who are not paying attention to it. The advertised year model is different from the real one. I guess they are doing it to attract inquirers. To avoid wasting time check this part so you can decide if you are fine with that before proceeding with further communications.
  • Request for few photos – If available, check if they can send more photos of all angles to set your expectation, and you can decide if you want to see the actual car base on the photo’s condition
  • Reason for selling – they may not tell you the real reason, but it is still worth asking.
  • Car issues – based on their answer you can assess as early as possible if the offered price is worth checking personally.
  • OR/CR is with them? Better to ask if this is ready.  One of my experience, when I met one seller and decided to finalize with him, he suddenly told me to wait as they need to search for the complete documents. Seriously? Because of the delay, our transaction didn’t push through.
Meet Up

Once you are done with the initial stage in communication, you can set a meetup. It is better to do it day time for safety and to ensure to see the car conditions clearer.

It is safe to meet in public places, banks, or mall parking lot. In case the seller requested to visit at their home, again make sure it is day time. And, don’t bring big cash with you for the first time meeting.

Don’t hurridly decide to give down payment unless you are sure you are satisfied with the car condition. Don’t fall if the owner is pressuring you to do the down payment on the spot of checking it. The amount you will shell out is not a simple amount, you need to be careful. If the seller doesn’t accept your terms, just remember there are a lot of cars available out there. It is better to start the search again than lose the reservation fee in case you change your mind.

And a reminder, the number one rule is never to purchase the car or make a downpayment without seeing it personally.

What to check during the meetup

  • Check the car body exterior, if there are some scratches or dents. Assess if that is fine with the price of the seller, consider the amount you will spend fixing this if ever.
  • If the vehicle you are planning to buy is an older model, check if there is rust. You need to make sure none of those will cause a major problem
  • We need to avoid buying a car with a major/large accident history. You can do that by checking the color variation on the vehicle. If there are color differences this might be a sign of a large accident
  • Check if there is unusual welding, open the trunks and the door and check if there is welding done after the car purchased. We need to avoid buying a car with major structural repair as it can compromise the safety

Additionally, since we are aware that the Philippines is prone to storm and flood, check if the car has a flood history by;

  • Checking the stain around the seats, carpets, and fabric that looks flood signs.
  • Check for signs of moisture, molds, or water collection. Pull back the carpet protectors and other parts of the bottom of the car interior

Engine Check;

  • make sure there isn’t any obvious sign of oil leakage.
  • Listen to engine noise closely, check if the sounds are normal. And pay attention to how fast the engine turns on. If there is a delay there might be an issue
  • Make sure there is no visible sign of damage, rust when you open the hood
  • Oil level, make sure that is not too low.
  • Timing belt condition
  • Check the belts within the engine to ensure there are no cracks or signs of corrosion

Test Drive

This is one of the major parts when inspecting a car. With this, you can feel the car’s condition on hand.

What to consider:

  • Acceleration
  • Braking system
  • All lights
  • Aircondition
  • Radio
  • Indicators
  • Car condition when driving on a bumpy road
  • If the odometer mileage is correct
  • All glass condition
  • Tires condition

It is suggested to bring your trusted mechanics when checking for a car, so they can check the car condition deeply. Especially if your knowledge on this part is limited. The mechanic’s input might help you to decide if you want to buy that car.

Realistically we cannot expect a perfect condition second-hand car. But we have to be sure there are no major issues in the car as it might cost us a huge amount. Base on your inspection with the help of the mechanics you can assess if the car value is worth buying or not.

In my case, the last car we checked pass to our budget and expectation. We decided to buy it.

Documentation Process

I was not aware that here in the Philippines the car’s ownership transfer is not the same on what we know based abroad. Here, on my experience, the deed of sale is open and looks that we are only the second owner, despite not.

The seller and I went to the public notary to do the stamping, requirements are;

  • Original copy of Certificate of Vehicle Registration (CR)
  • Original receipt of registration (OR)
  • LTO Plate number (Original)
  • Notarized Deed of sale
  • valid ID of the seller/owner and buyer

The cost of notary depends on the declared car selling price, this will be paid by the seller.

After the process from the notary office, the car will be legally purchased.


The overall process of buying a second-hand car in the Philippines looks easy but a bit complicated. Comparing to what we know abroad, the process here looks unsystematic. I am just thankful that my father has extensive knowledge of the process, he guides us and thankfully all went well.

While for the car performance, as expected no matter our thorough checking during the inspection, there are some hidden issues that occur a few days after driving it. Though we assume for that, but it is still disappointing at some parts.

Despite these incidents, we didn’t regret choosing a second-hand car over a brand new one.


We lost our sway-bar during our car service at the Service Center



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