We know the struggles of finding the right car and we understand the frustration of dealing with car salesmen.
It helps to have set questions to ask when purchasing a used car. This level of preparation shows that you know what you’re doing. Armed with this, there’s less chance of someone taking advantage of you.
Some of the questions only apply if you’re buying a used car from a dealership. Even if you are buying from a private party, it can help to know what would have been asked at a dealership.
In this article, we’ll discuss the eight important questions you need to ask when buying a used car, to make sure you get the best deal possible.
Buying a used car can be a long process.
Be patient and don’t feel like you have to rush into anything. The right car will come along eventually. After all, it’s your money so you get decide how it’s spent.
With that in mind, let’s get started with the first question.
What financing options are available?
If you’re not paying for the car outright, it’s important to understand the financing options available to you.
Ask the dealer if they offer financing, and if so, what the terms and interest rates are.
Additionally, be sure to shop around for financing options from other sources, such as banks or credit unions, to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Are there are the Other Fees Associated with this Purchase?
It’s important to get a clear idea of the fees associated with your purchase, aside from the price and sales tax. This will help you to know the total amount you will be spending, as well as determine if there are any additional fees such as dealer fees or markups.
Dealerships should be specific with you on this matter, and if they fail to mention any fees, you have the right to negotiate and ask them to take these fees off.
How Long Have You Been with the Dealership?
This question may seem insignificant, but it’s a good gauge to determine if the salesman is trustworthy or not.
It’s important to know the salesman’s experience with the dealership, as this can provide a sense of how much they know about the cars they are selling.
If they’ve been there a long time, it could mean that they have more experience and knowledge about the cars they’re selling.
On the other hand, if they’re relatively new, they may be more eager to please — and will work harder to earn your business.
Even if you’ve already picked a salesman, it doesn’t hurt to ask this question to verify their answer.
Can I Test Drive the Car?
Before committing to purchasing a used car, it’s essential to take it for a test drive.
A test drive allows you to get a feel for the car, its features, and its overall condition. And you get to know how you feel when driving it.
It’s important to check the car’s brakes, steering, and suspension to ensure that they are functioning correctly.
Inspect the car thoroughly when taking it for a test drive.
Look for any signs of wear and tear or damage, both inside and outside the car.
In addition, test driving the car allows you to see if there are any strange noises or vibrations that could indicate problems.
Can I See the Car’s Service Records?
When buying a used car, it’s essential to know its maintenance history.
Service records can provide an idea of how well the car was maintained by its previous owner.
It’s advisable to ask for records of oil changes, tire rotations, and any repairs made.
Ask if there are any cosmetic or mechanical issues with the vehicle. If there are, ask for documentation of the repairs needed.
This information will help you determine whether the car has been well-maintained or if there are any potential issues that may arise in the future.
Having a clear idea of the car’s maintenance history can give you added confidence in purchasing the vehicle.
Has the Car Been in an Accident?
The car’s accident history is important to know. Knowing about any damage is one of the top questions to ask when buying a used car.
Even minor accidents can affect a car’s performance and resale value.
If the car has been in an accident, ask for details on what parts were repaired or replaced. You can also ask to see before and after pictures of the car to help you decide if it’s still worth purchasing.
A vehicle history report will provide you with information about the car’s accident history, ownership history, and any liens on the vehicle.
This information can be critical in making a decision on whether to buy the car or not.
If the dealer cannot provide you with a vehicle history report, you can obtain one yourself through a service like Carfax or AutoCheck.
Checking CarFax can provide insights if there were any accidents — along with letting you know if the vehicle has a “salvage title.” A salvage title can indicate further problems and will greatly reduce the resale value of the vehicle.
Can I Take the Car to a Mechanic for Inspection?
Before committing to purchasing a used car, it’s essential to have it inspected by a trusted mechanic.
Ask the salesman if it’s possible to take the car to a mechanic of your choosing for inspection.
A mechanic can give you an idea of any hidden problems the car may have or repairs the car may need — such as engine or transmission issues — this information can help you decide if the car is worth the investment.
Can I Get a Warranty?
Some dealerships offer warranties on used cars, which can be a big relief in case of unexpected repairs or issues.
Issuing a warranty at a reasonable price also indicates that the dealership is confident that the car is of good condition.
It’s always worth asking if the dealership offers warranties on their used cars, and if so, what the terms and conditions are.
Be sure to read the fine print to understand what is covered and for how long.
By reading the information, you can weigh the cost of the warranty against the potential cost of repairs.
Tips for Buying a Used Car from a Private Party
Here’s tips for buying a used car from an individual (instead of a dealer):
- Do your research. Before you even start looking for a used car, do your research. This means knowing what kind of car you want, and what features are important to you.
- Know what your budget is. This will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a car.
- Inspect the car before you buy it. Take the car to a mechanic and have them inspect it for any problems.
- Negotiate the price. Know what the car you’re interested in is worth. You can use online resources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to get an idea of the car’s value. Don’t be afraid to haggle with the seller. And be prepared to walk away if you can’t agree on a price you want.
- Buy from a reputable person. Do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.
As mentioned, when buying a used car, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you’re making an informed decision.
By knowing what questions to ask when buying a used car, you can save yourself time, money, and frustration down the road. Be sure to do your research ahead of time and have a plan before going to the dealership.
And most importantly, trust your gut and don’t be afraid to walk away if something doesn’t feel right.
Buying a used car can be a great way to save money and get a good deal on a car. By following these questions to ask when purchasing a used car, you can be sure that you’re getting a good deal.