Buying a used car in Hong Kong

Looking to buy a car and not burn a big hole in your wallet? Simply follow our 10-step guide to buying a used car in HK and drive your dream car home in no time!

  1. Find your car on
  1. Contact the seller

Listings on hkcartrader are very detailed but sellers do miss out on important information from time to time. Do not feel uncomfortable to ask for more information as it is part of the buying process.

Some good questions to ask:

  • Any major accidents? Accidents do happen and buying a well-repaired car can be a safe and viable option. We recommend that you take the car for a professional inspection to ensure that the vehicle is properly repaired and safe for use.
  • Years of ownership? The owner would be able to tell you more about the car if he/she has owned it for a longer period. It is difficult to track ownership history if the car has changed hands too many times.
  • Service history? Having well documented service history shows that the car is well cared for by the owner. While it is better if all servicing are done at the authorised dealer, do not be put off by well-documented service records for work done at private garages.
  • Last service? Recent work done? This can give you a rough idea on the condition of the car. If no service has been done for over a year, chances are you will be spending some additional money to catch up on the maintenance after taking ownership.
  • Any immediate work required?

It is not unusual that immediate servicing or repairs are required when buying a used car. You can get an estimate on the cost involved and factor that into your budget/negotiation.

  1. Arrange a meeting 

It is always best to view the car in daylight if possible.  Viewing location can vary and depends on the seller.

  1. First viewing 

Bring along a friend if you happen to know someone who is knowledgeable about cars! Do not worry if you don’t, you can use our checklist below to get a rough idea on the condition of the car before committing to a professional inspection.

Simple checkpoints:

  • Exterior: Check for colour consistency between panels. Differing shades usually mean accidents and bad paint can mean poor quality repair work. Look at the gaps between panels, this should be consistent and panels should line up flat next to each other.
  • Engine bay: It is not unusual for engine bays to be dirty but it should be dry. Wet patches and oil stains can mean problems. Frayed and old looking belts could mean lack of servicing and care. Loud rattles could also be signs of worn out rubber parts that could require additional costs for repair.
  • Tires: Tired and worn tires will need replacing and can get expensive depending on the size. Old tires could also hint that the owner does not carry out regular maintenance of the car.
  • Service records: Always ask for service records if available. A full service history usually means that the car is well cared for.
  • Test drive: There is no hard and fast rule for test driving in HK. Some owners do not allow test drives while others trustingly hand you their keys. If the seller is unwilling to offer a test drive, it is not unreasonable to ask for a test ride. You can listen out for unusual noises, feel if the car accelerates smoothly to at least get a rough idea on the car condition while on the move.
  1. Agreeing to a deal

As with most things in HK, negotiation is common so do not be afraid to ask for a better price.  A quick search on hkcartrader will review the general market price of your particular car.

Once you’ve agreed on the price, the owner may request for a deposit for your commitment. Common deposit amounts can range from $5,000 to 20% of the selling price.  You can use our sample Sales Contract (available for download by the owner after the car is listed on our site) to document the terms of the sale to protect yourself and the seller.

  1. Professional inspection

Professional inspections may be done at the authorised dealer or a private garage of your choice. While it is not absolutely necessary to have a professional mechanic look over your car, we highly recommend this as it significantly lowers the chances of any nasty surprises and give you better peace of mind. This step usually occurs as part of the conditions of the deal (step 5 above). The seller may request for a deposit from you as a commitment for his/her time. This deposit is generally only refundable if the professional inspection reveals significant mechanical failure of key components such as engine/transmission and/or major accident damage to the chassis.

We generally recommend that you walk away from the sale should the seller refuse a professional inspection request as this usually means that there is something to hide.

  1. Prepare insurance

Hong Kong requires a minimum of third-party insurance coverage for private car vehicles. Depending on the price of your car, it may also be a good idea to get full coverage on your vehicle for better protection. The insurance premium can vary depending on your age, driving experience, type of coverage, amount covered and the make/model of the vehicle.  Note: Before committing to a car, make sure you are eligible for insurance.

There are many firms offering car insurance coverage in HK, some popular car insurance companies include Direct Asia and Kwiksure.

  1. Obtain financing (optional)

Auto financing is very common in HK and interest rates and fees are generally reasonable and transparent. Most financiers offer loans of up to 90% for used cars of age 10 years and younger. Loan tenors are flexible ranging from 1 to 5 years.

  1. Ownership transfer 

Make an appointment to meet the seller at the Transport Department (list of locations) once you have your insurance and financing sorted. The seller may also request that you prepare a bank cashier order for the remaining balance as this is the most common and convenient way for payment.

You will need to bring your HKID, address proof, insurance cover note and prefill TD25 form for the transfer. The buyer is responsible for the Transfer fees of $1,000.

More information on the ownership transfer can be obtained from the Transport Department’s site here.

  1. Drive your new car home! 

With the Vehicle Registration Document (VRD) now in your name, you may now get the keys to your car after making the final payment to the seller.