Buying A Used Car In France: The Essential Points To Know

Less expensive than a new car, used cars are a runaway success in the automotive market. In 2020, more than 5.5 million used models were sold in France. This figure demonstrates so well the enthusiasm of the French for the purchase of second-hand vehicles. Does this project also tempt you? Then go for it while knowing the key elements to acquire the car of your dreams at a lower price. Follow the guide!

Study your needs


Do you already have a make and model of car in mind? Then all you have to do is research to find it. On the other hand, if you still have no idea, you can look at various old and new models on the Internet to guide you in your choice. Some of the most popular used cars are the Renault Clio, the Renault Megane, the Renault Twingo, the Renault Scenic, the BMW 3 Series, the Citroen C3, the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Polo, the Peugeot 206, the Peugeot 208 and the Peugeot 308.

Diesel, gasoline or electric fuel consumption, family car or 2nd vehicle of the household, 5, 7, 9 or 12 seats… make sure you know your needs to avoid any disappointment. Do not hesitate to consult comparisons on the web to find out users’ positive and negative opinions. You will then be able to make your choice.

Establish your budget

Define the budget you are willing to spend on your used car in advance. This will be the basis for your search so that you won’t go over budget. Also, consider the type of financing that may be right for you: conventional loan or cash? If you plan to resell the vehicle at a later date, you may be interested in leasing with a purchase option. In the same vein, it is recommended that you consult the quotation and estimate of the car you are considering buying online. This will help you sell it faster.

Check the condition of the vehicle


Don’t rush into the purchase. Take the time to check every part of the car thoroughly. Make sure that every part works, that there are no defects that could interfere with the driving, and that everything is in order. Inspect both the interior and exterior. Also, ask the seller if the vehicle has ever been in a serious accident and what the reason was.

Test drive the car

Whether you buy your used car from a private individual or from a dealership, you have every right to test drive it. It’s a way to test the driving experience and see if the car is what you thought it would be. During the test drive, make sure:

    • There are no abnormal engine noises when the car is running
    • That the clutch, brakes, gas pedal, and gearbox are working properly
    • Exhaust emissions are normal
    • That no warning lights are illuminated on the dashboard
    • That no water or oil leaks are visible

It’s also a good idea to ask the seller a few pertinent questions, including:

    • The car’s mileage
    • Its previous use
    • The last maintenance and repairs performed
    • The reason for selling the vehicle
    • The negotiability of the price

In case the car has defects, the price can normally be lowered.

Ask the seller for the mandatory documents


Buying a car requires certain administrative procedures to be completed. It is your right to ask the seller:

    • The car registration document must be in the seller’s name (except for purchases from a professional), crossed out and signed, and marked “sold/transferred on day/month/year/time”.
    • A copy of the certificate of transfer: completed, dated, and signed by you and the seller. It contains detailed information on each party, the name of the sale, the day, month, and year the vehicle was put on the road, and its mileage.
    • The certificate of administrative status: is to be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior website and dated less than one month.
    • The technical inspection report (for cars over 4 years old): is less than 6 months old and free of any counter inspection.

You can also ask for the transfer code and the vehicle maintenance booklet if necessary.

Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about buying a second-hand car in France.

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