Buying a used car

  • How much can I afford?
  • How to choose the right car?
  • What to look for when buying a used car? 

There are many questions you may have when it comes to the used car buying process. In this article I will answer these questions and make the used car buying process easier for you.

Some facts about purchasing a used car with Olim rights
You may purchase a new vehicle with Olim rights. You get a reduction of the price of the car because the buyer he government discounts the taxes, (between 8% and 12% of the value of the car). 
After 4 years have elapsed from date of purchase can you sell to an Israeli citizen. If one needs to sell before the four years are up, the car can be sold to a Oleh, this is called Passport to Passport and the 4 year restriction begins again.

Only two drivers are permitted to drive the vehicle.
Once you buy the vehicle the same 4 year restrictions begins again. 
After 4 years have elapsed from date of purchase can you sell to an Israeli citizen.
You have three years to use your Oleh discounts to purchase a car.The process of going together with the seller to customs can be stressful and take up to two days. Many great deals are on our website, often saving you more than the 12% you get from the P2P discount.
Please call us to explore your options for a car, or visit our website to see cars available and check out our 'How to buy a car page. 

Taking the risk out of used the car buying process  
First, be prepared. Do as much research as you can. Read reviews, consumer reports, ask colleagues and friends, compare options, gather gas consumption data on the make and model you're interested in. Examine reliability ratings. Try to read reviews of cars from the UK as many of the models you find here you may not have heard of in the USA, for example Skoda is a popular car in Israel, made by VW, so it is very reliable (which is the holy grail in Israel). 
Decide on the type of car that you want to buy based on your real needs. 

Questions you should ask yourself:
How many years do you plan on keeping the car?
How many people will be regular passengers?
Are parts and servicing affordable for this car?
What is the cost of insuring the car?
What is the cost of the annual registration fee? 

Unfortunately it is all too common that we hear stories that car dealers try and sell cars that they are finding hard to sell to a native Israeli. We at ZVICARS advise our clients of the best makes and models that suit their needs. Do not be influenced by the seller or dealer.

A Rabbi I know bought a 2.0 gas guzzler for quite a reasonable price. When he went for servicing, they discovered that the rear shock absorber was leaking. The price for the part alone was close to ₪3000! Finally, he sold it and bought a used Corolla that proved less expensive to run and maintain.

Another reason to take along an expert like ZVICARS when choosing your next car, is we eliminate many problem cars before they become an issue, for example: the following are to be avoided, vehicles that have been flooded or restored after serious accidents, those with rolled back odometers, heavily abused vehicles (e.g., ex-rentals with high milage), those with outstanding debts, etc., and to check a car's history records. In fact, checking it’s history gives you a clearer picture of what you are buying. Don't buy based on what you've been told because it may not always be the truth (it rarely is, to be blunt). Check out the car yourself very carefully. If buying from a dealer you'd be wise to ask if the car might have a history of an accident in the past or come with a poorly maintained engine. Do not rely on a salesperson's verbal promises. Whatever is promised, get the details in writing.

My neighbor was told by the dealer the reason for the high kilometers was the car had done mostly freeway driving, but  this particular car was not strong enough to take this kind of mileage and now unfortunately the car is frequently at the mechanics. 

A word of caution, NEVER give a deposit or sign a contract before the car is inspected. At the post office be extremely careful when doing the paperwork. For example, if you buy from a private owner, make sure there are no debts against the vehicle. This is done on request and costs ₪100 and requires that the person who signs the Bill of Sale is the actual owner of the car. Also, you can check with the post office that the car has not been stolen.

Don`t be afraid to spend money to have the car properly inspected. There are authorized test centers in all major cities. A list is available at:
If there is a discrepancy between what is written on the car license and what is found by the institute, DO NOT BUY THE CAR!

European cars vs. used Japanese cars
80 present of 5 seaters on the road here are 1.6 engine family cars. The diference between this Mazda 3 type car (Japanese) and Renault Megan or Influence (European) cars is that European cars have more style, comfort, and enjoyment in driving. Japanese are built to last. If you are used to more power (Americans have cars with generally larger engines in the USA) or want to save money on highway driving then a bigger engine is preferred. Smaller engines are more economical for city driving.
The price of the car

There are two price lists, Yitzchak Levy and Yad 2. Yitzchak Levy is the industry standard, while Yad 2 has it’s own price list for advertising on their website.

Note: These are guidelines and not rules. The price is based, among other things, on the mileage, age of the car, the amount of previous owners, accidents, etc. All these factors are converted into the price the car is worth. Also, the more in-demand the car, the closer to book price the car will reach.

Decide how much you can afford
Set yourself a firm limit of how much money you want and can afford to pay for a car. The process of buying a used car can be time-consuming and stressful and it might be difficult to resist the urge to buy more expensive vehicle, especially when higher total price is hidden under "low" monthly payments. Often dealers try to push you into buying a more expensive vehicle to increase their commission. In fact, this is very common situation when people rush into buying a car or a truck only to realize later that they cannot afford paying for it. Thousands of people are searching the Internet for an answer to "How to get out of a car deal?" You want to buy something that you can afford, something that will not put excessive financial strain on your family budget, so you need to set yourself a firm limit. We at ZVICARS don’t use hard sale tactics or earn money by the commission. We make one flat fee per car, no matter the cost. This is to give the client reassurance that our advise is genuine.

What type of used car will fit into my price range?
Let's take a look at some prices: ₪50,000-₪80,000 - This is the average minimum amount of money one would need to spend on a 'decent' car 3 to 4 years old. This would be a typical car (not a luxury car) sold from a used car dealership. They usually have, what I would recommend as a perfect choice, a leased car that has had one owner and serviced at the same dealership. Leased cars are recognized as good buys as they are well looked after - you can expect to save about ₪10%.  It is perceived that rentals come with a greater risk as they may have had many drivers. They often come with higher mileage, expect about 35,000 km per year. This shouldn’t alarm you. Commuting between cities in Israel is common, and the car can handle highway driving much easier than inner city traffic driving. Usually such a car may last for another few years relatively trouble-free if properly maintained.

For ₪20,000-$40,000 you may be able to find a 6 to 9 year old used car with relatively high mileage, which still might be in good shape. However, it may take a lot more time to find a good condition used car in this price range. Typically, independent used car dealers sell cars within this price range. For ₪10,000-₪20,000 you may be able to buy something that can serve as simple transportation to get from point A to point B. More than likely it may be a car with high mileage sold by a private owner. Expect to visit your mechanic more often with this kind of vehicle. Don’t forget that aside from the car price you may need to pay extra for the yearly registration (test) and for a minivan it costs ₪1,500.

Choosing the right car
The first step - you need to decide what exactly you want. Do you need simple transportation to drive to work and back? If so, a small Sedan would suit this purpose. Our choice would be a Ford Focus, because its reliable and value for money. Do you want a car to be very economical? If so, you would want to select a car with a small engine. Our choice would be a Daihatsu Sirion, because of it’s low running costs. Do you need a minivan that can transport the children? Our choice would be a Mitsubishi Grandis, because it does the job of being  a dependable family vehicle really well. Once you've decided on what type of car is best suited for you or your family members check out the market, see what models are available. Israel usually get only top of the range or basic both come with power-steering, ari-con and electric windows as standard. Following this you will be able to narrow your search to just a few models. Chances are someone in your road or a friend has the car you are looking for, asking them what they think of the car is a great way to see how the preform under similar conditions to how you will use it. Don't forget to check insurance rates and get the quote before buying a car. To sell the car you must fax or go to the regional Customs Authority with your Teuda Zehut and car registration and they will inform the Bureau of Motor Vehicles directly or send you a letter canceling the restriction.
Jerusalem 02 654-5616
Tel Aviv 03 9421716
Haifa: 04 862-8469

Car value and price
Don't look for the cheapest car. When it comes to ‘used cars’, ‘best deal’ doesn't mean the cheapest one. Your goal is to look for a car in good condition for a reasonable price. If  a deal seems to good to be true, it is. In ‘Chutz l’Aretz’ it was relatively easy and common that people bought a cheap used car, more commonly named ‘old banger’in the UK. Here in Israel this doesn’t exist. The demand for a “cheap car” is so high, it keeps the prices up. Often the question arises, what’s better, a well made Japanese made car such as a Toyota Corolla 2002, 150,000 km for ₪40,000 or Chevy Aveo 2008, 80,000 km, for ₪42,000. If all things remain equal. I'd without a doubt choose the Chevy 2008. I want the cooler design inside and out plus all the “mod-cons” of the latest technology, such as better stereo, better drive, and safety features that include air-bags everywhere and a chassis that will protect you in an accident. Then again the Toyota will last for another 10 years easy, I wouldn’t be so sure the Chevy would last half that.

Remember, the proper price for a certain used vehicle is not necessarily the one indicated in Mechiron (Levy Yitzchak price book) - they give you just an average price. I always tell my clients, it’s ‘guide book’, not a ‘rule book’. The actual value of the vehicle depends on a cars condition. Two cars may only look the same. One may have been maintained so poorly and the engine won't last long after you buy it. The previous owner of another vehicle may have been religious about maintenance and used only original parts for repair. Without a doubt, I'd rather pay ₪10,000 more for this second car it will see the mechanics a lot less. So, how to determine how much you will have to pay for a certain model? Just to show you as an example, I searched the used car dealerships for a three years old Honda Civic. I found 10 vehicles with the price ranging from ₪60,000 to ₪95,000. To be realistic, I know that for ₪60,000 it was probably in an accident or has high mileage and was not well looked after. ₪90,000 seems to me too high. But there are quite a few cars for ₪70,000 - 80,000 price range - this looks more realistic to me. So, in our case with three years old Honda Civic, I'd probably get one in a good condition for ₪70-80,000 with one year warranty. ZVICARS get great deals from the select dealershops we use, as we have built up trust over many years, and this gives the customer unbeatable prices, service and often a warranty thrown in.

“The car costs how much!!???”
Often, I get asked to find a car for an unrealistic price such as Mitsubishi Grandis for under ₪80,0000 – it doesn’t exist. Convertible sports car for under ₪100,000, – it doesn’t exist. Compact car with low running cost that won’t break-down all the time for under ₪20,000, you guessed it… – it doesn’t exist. Every day I tell clients, don’t buy a car, unless you like your mechanic, because you will be seeing a lot of him if you buy a the car at this price. It’s because we compare the prices to back home, where the same car can often be bought for half the price or even less. So, where do we find the right price of cars? Well for one thing, it’s not Yad 2. Cars are over priced on there, because Israeli’s haggle so much the seller has to raise the price because he knows he will be bargained down. The book price a good place to start, but, as stated above the Mechiron is only a guide and many cars sell for a lot less. For example, Peugeot and Citroen’s get about 10% - 20% of their book price. Honda (and till recently Toyota) sell for almost book price. The only car I sell for more than the book price are the very rare desirable cars, e.g. Volkswagen Scirocco, because it’s a low running cost sports car and a Honda Shuttle, because for under ₪40,000 there isn’t anything that is reliable and still together.

Cost of insurance.
The cost of insurance varies a lot depending on the make, year and model of the car, driver's experience and many other factors. I definitely recommend to get insurance quotes before buying a car. ZVICARS offer a very competitive rate.

What mileage is OK for a used car?
In general, I would not recommend purchasing a car with a very high mileage, for example, 250,000 km (155,000 miles) and higher would be considered very high. Unless it’s a diesel. However, "low mileage" does not necessarily mean it's going to be a "good car". Be aware of cars that may have undergone restoration after a serious accident or cars that haven't been property maintained, or cars that may have had their odometer rolled back - nowadays they can easily 'fix' even electronic odometers. Since 2008 it has been a requirement by law to put the kilometers on the rish’aon (car registration). So, checking a car history records will certainly help to avoid those lemons with "fixed" odometer. When considering the 'mileage' count, it simply means that when choosing a car whether it has 60,000 or 80,000, it is not as important as the fact that it was well maintained and accident-free.

At we guide you through the whole process of buying a car, from advising which car to buy, getting an insurance quote, checking the car is roadworthy and without debts to negotiating the price and driving away a happy car owner. Finding the perfect quality used car online is easy at We have an extensive listing of excellent used cars available through our second hand car database, which is updated daily. Being an Anglo company our aim is to give you the service you have been used to in Chutz La’Aretz. 

The Service you need for buying or selling a car with Peace of mind.

By Ezra Benjamin