So, you need a car. The process of searching, finding, test-driving, and buying a car is not an easy task to check off your to-do list. It’s an involved undertaking that requires plenty of patience and even more research. Whether you’re looking to buy a new car or a used car, there are a number of things you must consider before turning a dealership listing into a car in your driveway. One of the most important facets of the process is asking important questions to ensure you’re getting everything you need out of your future vehicle. But what are the FAQ you be asking before buying a car?
Used Car Buying Questions
1. Are service records available?
Getting your hands on the vehicle’s maintenance history will give you a more well-rounded idea of how well (or poorly) the car was kept. If your seller has nothing to hide, then handing over the service records should be no problem. If there’s any hesitation or a flat-out “no,” that’s an immediate red flag—take your business elsewhere.
2. Has the vehicle been in any accidents?
If the car had been in any accidents, you should be able to see it on the service history. However, those reports don’t always catch everything. If the car was in an accident, be sure to ask what happened, what was damaged, and how it was fixed.
3. How was the car maintained?
Was the primary driver a smoker? Did a furry friend often occupy the passenger seat? What is the state of the car—both interior and exterior? If it’s a hybrid car, how was the engine maintained?
4. What is the ownership history?
If the used car you’re buying has had previous owners, ask your seller how they acquired the car and about how long they have had it. If the seller is the fourth owner and has only had the car for a few months, that should be a red flag.
5. Why are you selling the car?
Most sellers will have a rehearsed answer ready—but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the story is the whole truth. Ask a number of follow up questions to verify that the seller’s story adds up. If your gut feeling tells you something fishy is going on, trust your instincts and move along.
6. Do you have the title in hand?
Knowing whether the seller has the title in hand will give you a better idea of how long a process the title transfer will be. Whether it’s simply misplaced or tied up in a bank loan, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of what to expect.
7. Are there any features that do not work properly?
The last thing you want to be is surprised when you buy a used car. Asking your seller to be frank about any malfunctioning pieces will leave no room for surprise when you’re driving your new family commuter.
8. Are there any leaks?
Leaks mean repairs. It’s better to know the total cost of a potential repairs before settling on an overall cost of the car.
9. Can I take the car for a test drive?
If your seller has any hesitation outside of scheduling when you ask to test drive the car, that is an immediate red flag you should never ignore. If they’re frightened that a test-drive will change your mind, it’s for the best that you turn away and look elsewhere.
10. How much is the car after fees and licensing?
If you’re buying from a dealer, you should be wary of extra fees that can tack hundreds onto your final cost. Instead of being swayed by attractive low monthly costs, you’ll get a big-picture idea of how to budget your new purchase into your finances.
11. What is the warranty coverage?
Since you’re always in hot pursuit of getting the best bang for your buck, be sure to ask about what your car warranty can offer. From repair to regular maintenance, getting your hands on a generous warranty could be the make or break factor in your decision-making process.
12. What are common repairs?
Next to buying a car, repairs and maintenance can cost a fortune— so you’ll want to be sure that the car you’re buying is either reliable enough to rarely need repairs, or simply inexpensive to repair. Those who carefully track their expenses may be excited by a nice, cheap Volvo for sale, but horrified to know the average repair cost of a Volvo ranges far higher than a Toyota or Honda.
13. Is that the best you can do?
Though it sounds rude to ask, this question could be the one that gets your seller or dealer to lower their prices. If during your research process you find that new Volkswagen cars in Columbus, GA are thousands cheaper than new Volkswagen cars in Atlanta, use that to barter down the price of your dream Volkswagen Arteon.
Car-buying is an exciting experience, but comes with a hefty price-tag. Before dishing out thousands on a new way to get to and from work, be sure to ask these questions to ensure the best buy possible!
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 500 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org