7 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Car Stuff, Defensive Driving Online, Everyday Driver

 
car and keys being handed over
 
Buying a car second hand can be a great way to save money, but it can often be difficult to know if you are really getting a good deal, or you are actually getting ripped off. It helps if you know the right things to ask the person who is selling the car. Here are some must ask questions for buying a used car.

Why are you selling the car?

The answer to this question can tell you a lot of what you need to know about the car. If the owner answers honestly, the answer might be because they bought a new car, they don’t need the car anymore, or they might even tell you that they think it is a piece of junk. If their answer is the latter, you may want to reconsider the purchase, unless a piece of junk is what you are looking for. If they seem nervous or vague when answering, be wary, as they might be concealing the real reason.

How many miles are on the odometer?

Mileage is just as important as the age of the car. Look for mileage that is unusually high for the age of the car. You can look up the value of the car based on its mileage, and you can also use the mileage to negotiate a lower price for the car.

What is the vehicle’s condition?

Before you see the car in person, you might want to ask the current owner what sort of condition the car is in. Again, look out for dishonesty and nervousness from the owner, and make sure that the car doesn’t have any serious problems that will significantly shorten the life of the car. When you see the car in person, give it a thorough check and match it against the description given by the seller.

Has the car been in any accidents?

A history of accidents can bring down the value of the car significantly, so make sure that you are aware of any previous accidents and repairs – whether recent or not. Check to see that repairs have been made and will not affect the life of the car. You can also learn more about the seller’s honesty – if you find evidence of an accident after they told you that there weren’t any, you may want to avoid doing business with them.

Are you the original owner, and where did you buy the vehicle from?

If the seller is the original owner, it is preferable, as they can tell you more about the car. If there has been more than one owner, you may want to find out why that is. If they are the only previous owner, you may want to also ask them for service records, as they can tell you how well the car was taken care of.

Can I Have this Inspected by a Mechanic?

If the car has been taken care of, the seller shouldn’t have a problem with you asking this question. Taking it to a mechanic on the test drive is a good way to get the car checked over for any glaring problems.

What is Your Asking Price?

This question sets you up for negotiation. Based on the responses to the previous questions, you might have a better idea of how much you are willing to pay for the car. You might not always have to negotiate, but if the price seems a tad high, try offering something lower instead, citing your reasons for doing so.
 
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