Since new cars come directly from the factory, they are exactly alike. However, each used car has its own history. Before purchasing a used car, there are essential questions you must ask.
Here are six questions that you must ask before buying a used car to help you learn about the history of the vehicle and make a wise buying decision.
1. Has the Car Ever Been in an Accident?
Looking at the vehicle history report will allow you to see if the car has ever been in an accident. However, you need to be aware of the fact that these reports don’t always catch everything. Ask the sales rep at the dealership or the vehicle owner about any accidents that have occurred, how much damage was sustained, and how the car was fixed.
2. What Is the Ownership History of the Car?
Find out who has had ownership of the vehicle. If the seller has only owned it for a short period of time, this could be a red flag. It could also be a red flag if they don’t have many details about its ownership history.
It is usually preferable to buy from a seller who has owned the vehicle for several years and has taken good care of it. When looking for a used car, keywords like “service records” and “original owner” are usually good.
3. Has the Car Been Maintained?
Find out how well the car has been maintained and who has performed the maintenance. Ask if it has been serviced at the dealership, through an independent mechanic, or a guy who offers car services in his driveway. If possible, speak with the mechanic who has worked on the car. Also, find out how often car maintenance has been performed and if it is up-to-date.
While on this topic, ask if the service records are available. The best-case scenario is that they are all in a folder and you will be welcome to look them over before purchasing the vehicle.
4. Why Have You Decided to Sell the Vehicle?
This is a common question to ask before purchasing a used car. Some sellers have already thought of a convenient story to tell. Before trusting the seller’s answer, make sure to get plenty of details. Don’t be satisfied with a brief answer.
5. Can I See the Car’s Title?
This question will reveal the status of the title early in the purchasing transaction. The best-case scenario is that the owner of the vehicle will have the title ready to go.
The owner may say they have the title but can’t find it. Or their answer may reveal that they don’t have the title because they have an outstanding loan with a lending institution. While these problems are not impossible to solve, you can decide early on if the car is worth the hassle and extra time.
6. Why Have You Decided on This Price?
If you are getting serious about purchasing a specific used car, find out how the seller arrived at their asking price. If they used a pricing guide, check out the pricing guide yourself. See if it is accurate.
The seller may have just picked the figure out of the air. Or their answer may reveal that the vehicle has sustained some damage or that certain upgrades have been made.
The goal is to find out the unique history of a used vehicle before making your purchase. Other things to ask about include features of the vehicle that may not work, reasons why the owner would or would not feel confident taking it on a road trip, and if it is possible for you to have the car inspected by a mechanic.
The answers to all these questions may reveal just a little more about the condition of the car and help you make a wise purchasing choice.