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Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

Obviously, it always happens at the worst of times. You had everything so well planned, the accommodations and roads for your next vacation, and the fuss, your car suddenly becomes unusable! Either there was an accident, a major malfunction affecting a key member, or even your good old coach delivered the last cloud of carbon dioxide without warning, or in the worst case, a prankster stole it from its spot in the usual parking lot. tiles!

Anyway, you are here on foot. But it is indisputable to take the family to the resort by train or by plane. So hurry up, you definitely have to find a new car before the fateful departure date.

Buying a car in a hurry is not impossible. But it’s more serious, that’s for sure. On the one hand, you have to think fast, and decide quickly. There is not enough time to try different models, or several copies of the same model to choose the best one. There is also the risk of overpaying, because “in any case, there is no time to find a better deal”, although it is an unexpected expense, and certainly a shrinking of the budget for it.

So to avoid the biggest risks of this type of urgent, and not insignificant (still a car!) purchase, follow these tips. They will save you the biggest trouble.

1/ Take the time to determine your needs

Your old car is perfect for you. This acquisition should be able to provide the same services to you. Of course, we can search for ads for the same model to make it easier. it is a good idea.

But sometimes it’s impossible to find the same engine paired with the same level of equipment, with the same mileage, or, quite simply, the car as close to your home. It is therefore necessary to select a shortlist of equivalent models, and ensure, by referring to the technical papers (including those of Caradisiac:, that the vehicle’s dimensions are appropriate in relation to the parking space The luggage compartment volume will be sufficient. It would be a shame to have to leave the bag of the youngest on the sidewalk, or leave the dog to a son-in-law …

Feel free to consider a station wagon if you have an SUV, loading volumes are often close. Or a compact pickup truck, its lack of used oomph makes prices affordable, which is a good thing in this period of price inflation in the used car market.

During the test, you should probably bring a counter, which can always be used to make sure that some of your personal items will find their place. And that any child seats or booster seats will find their place in the show.

2 / Preferring to buy from an agency or from a well-known dealer

In an emergency situation, you have to find a car quickly. Indeed, it is complicated to waste time running from right to left, with personnel, or with small vendors, who have few vehicles in their fleet. If we have time to turn out to be more intelligent, this is not the case in the case of the character that preoccupies us.

Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

Instead, go for big dealers, or big dealers, who have a large fleet of used cars of dozens or even hundreds of vehicles. Thus, you can, at once, see and test several different cars.

Another advantage is that you will most often benefit from a long and extendable warranty, and for distributors nationwide. This means that if, unfortunately, after purchase it breaks down, you can repair it anywhere in France, without having to return the car to the seller. Also check warranty terms to see what’s covered, and if you can get it fixed anywhere, some dealers offer this solution as well, via third-party organizations.

3/ Do not neglect the test

It is not because you are in a hurry that you should neglect the test, which is the most important point when making a purchase. Admittedly, for lack of time, you may not be able to find an accurate knowledge of mechanics who can accompany you. But don’t skip this step.

To help you, Caradisiac regularly publishes a checklist of points to check during your driving test. It is very comprehensive. It may not be necessary to go into small details in the few tests you will be running, but it automatically allows you to rule out the black sheep affected by big, easy-to-find problems.

Here you will find our checklist in its latest update:

A seller who refuses to test, for whatever reason, should be avoided.

4 / Choose a reliable brand / model

Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

So that you don’t find yourself on the road for vacation with your recent acquisition in a shoulder or roadside warning, you can also choose the peace of mind of a model or brand that has the right reputation for reliability. And that, even if it isn’t your preferred option. But sometimes you have to make good luck against a bad heart!

So the Renault Laguna 3 may not be your dream car, but overall it is very reliable. This is also the case for most Japanese or Korean models. Not always exciting, but the vast majority of owners are happy.

You can, to measure the reliability of the model, refer to the network that is full of information, and in particular our reliability sheets, or those of our colleagues. A very good indication of the potential risk incurred or not.

5/ Compare prices

Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

Today, doing so is no longer a waste of time. You can easily compare ads on the network, and their price / mileage ratio, in just a few minutes. And many sites, La Centrale in the first place, give a rating of most models on the market. Not necessarily always perfect, depending on the models, it shows whether the model really deviates from its theoretical evaluation. And other announcements of an equivalent model make it possible to find out if the market prices are respectable.

In fact, it is not because one is in a hurry that one should agree to overpay for an occasion.

6 / Take a small loan

Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

If you are short on budget, the risk is too high that you will end up with a shaky opportunity, which in turn may let you go. Far be it from us to be panicked, but it is a fact. On small budgets, worse is better…

So, consider extending this budget, by a few thousand euros, by taking out a small consumer loan. Many pharmacies offer it, sometimes at very attractive prices (Cofidis, Cetelem or even your own bank).

This takes a little time. Most organizations give an answer, positive or negative, during the day, at worst the next. You will not waste your time.

And with a more comfortable budget, the possibility of a better opportunity is presented to you. We push the door open there, but some people still think that applying for a car loan takes time. This is not the case.

7/ Don’t show that you are in a hurry

It would be a big mistake. Avoid talking to the professional seller about the setbacks you’re having with your old car, and your urgency to find a new one. He might be tempted to accept no negotiations, or pass you on the worst vehicles in his inventory (but you’ll spot them with our checklist, right?), because he’ll analyze you as being a little stuck for time, willing to put in more money to make sure you leave with a means This transportation is very necessary for you.

Just ask if the car is ready to leave quickly, but without saying that you are in a hurry. If you have to say so, also say that you have other promising leads that can be quickly brought down the road with a competitor. Thus, you show that you are not at the mercy of the seller.

8 / Do not neglect papers and invoices

Urgently buying a used car before the holiday: how to avoid pitfalls?

Just like checking prices, checking that everything is OK at the level of technical oversight, maintenance book, invoices and gray card, takes only a few minutes.

The CT will tell you about the vehicle’s safety status. Invoices or history of its maintenance. For emergency purchase, prefer to be first hand if possible. It is easier to restore its history. But the second hand, or even the third, is not a blocker, if it is clear to follow the revisions.

Don’t fall into the trap of buying a car without technical oversight because it’s “not over yet”. In fact, many professional sellers do this only when selling the car. Insist that this be done before signing. Garages can usually pass their used cars on quickly to CT, because they have agreements with the centers.

If you assume to do it yourself, you expose yourself to costs, which are often out of pocket, unfortunately, if defects are found.


Admittedly, deadlines are tight, but we shouldn’t do anything about it. Our tips save a little time and avoid big risks. Go as fast as you can by choosing a dealer and a large fleet of used cars, determining their needs in advance, and making minimal checks. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes, contrary to popular belief.

Thus, you can go on vacation in peace, without stress and uncertainty (or at least as little as possible), regarding a car that circumstances have imposed on you by force.

Happy holiday everyone.

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