Top 15 Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car

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1. Why are you selling?

When buying a used car, the first question is: why are you selling? While you can't guarantee a direct answer, most of the time, the answer is simple.

In many cases, the person chooses to change the car or no longer needs it. If you feel you are not getting a straight answer, this is a great way to find out if you trust the seller or not.

 

2. What is the history of the car?

Whether it's the number of car owners or the detailed history of its maintenance, the more information, the better. Before buying a car, it is essential to know where it has been and what kind of life it has had. A vehicle with dozens of owners is much more likely to show signs of wear and tear than a vehicle that has had the same careful owner for 20 years or so.

 

3. How long have you owned the vehicle?

If the vehicle has been with the same owner for a long time, that is usually positive. Or has the seller owned the car for a few months? That short time frame could indicate a bigger problem that you're not seeing.

 

4. How old is the car?

It is relatively easy to determine the age of a car by its make or model. Knowing the age of a vehicle can help you decide if the car is worth the price.

For example, an older model car may be less cost-effective to run and more expensive to find parts for. If you want to get the best value for your money, you need to know the car's value.

 

5. Is the car still under warranty?

Used cars with a shorter lifespan may still be under the manufacturer's warranty. It's worth checking if this is the case, as potential defects and problems are much easier to resolve with a warranty.

If you buy your used car through a dealer, it may be possible to get a warranty directly from their company as part of your purchase agreement.

 

6. Have there been any recent repairs?

Recent repairs are not always a sign of a problem. While many repairs can suggest a neglectful previous owner, quality repairs can also indicate a vehicle that has been well maintained.

Ask about recent repairs and why, if possible, to understand the car's condition better.

 

7. Is the exterior or interior damaged?

If you haven't seen the vehicle in person yet, it's worth asking if there is any visible or noticeable damage to the interior or exterior.

While cosmetic damage is not crippling, it can be a great way to tell if a car has been maintained. Faded paint, scratches, and torn upholstery indicate a lower overall maintenance level.

 

8. Is there a problem with the car?

Why not be direct in your questions? Asking the owner directly if there is a problem with the car can avoid unpleasant surprises and costly repair bills. Even though you won't always get a 100% honest answer, it's worth asking to reduce the risk of ending up with a car with many problems you weren't aware of.

 

9. Has the car been in an accident?

With good repairs, an accident is not necessarily the end of the road for the average used car. But knowing if a car has been in an accident is a valuable piece of information.

If the repairs were substandard, it might mean the vehicle is weaker or more likely to break down in the future. If the repairs appear to be of good quality, there is no reason why a used car that has been in an accident shouldn't be right for you.

 

10. Can I see the car documents?

Confirmation of ownership and complete service history should be your priorities as a buyer. Ask directly for the paperwork and ownership details of any used car you consider. This will ensure that everything is legal and regular. No one wants to accidentally drive off with a stolen vehicle and deal with the ownership issue in the future.

 

11. Can I have the car inspected by a mechanic before buying it?

Used car dealerships often have their vehicles inspected before they sell them. But in the case of private sales, you can inquire about getting a full inspection before money changes hands. It's always worth asking, and if you have a local mechanic you can trust, the inspection process can be painless for all parties involved.

 

12. Do you own a car?

The person selling you the vehicle must own it, with very few exceptions. Is the seller a friend or family member? In this case, you should always ask about the ownership of the vehicle and check with the owner before proceeding with the sale. In the case of used car dealerships, you should confirm that the car belongs to the dealer before you buy it.

 

13. What is the mileage?

A car's mileage can tell you all sorts of things. First of all, it can give you insight into how much the vehicle has been used over its history. Knowing the mileage of a car you are considering buying is always a good start.

 

14. Can I test drive the car?

Trying out a vehicle for yourself is the best way to determine if it's the right choice for you. If a seller won't let you test drive the car – assuming you have the driver's license – that can be a red flag for that used car sale. If you can't drive the car yourself, have someone you trust to do it for you to make sure the car runs smoothly and without a hitch.

 

15. Has the car been used by smokers or to transport animals?

What is that smell? Whether you're allergic to dogs or can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke, it's a good idea to ask about the past use of a vehicle. In some cases, the seller may be able to have the car professionally cleaned to ensure that it is allergy and smoke-free for you. If not, it's worth considering whether this is a task you want to take on yourself.