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20 Interesting Questions to Ask When Buying A Used Car

Filed in Career by on March 11, 2021

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When it comes to negotiations about questions to ask when buying a used car, the person with the most knowledge wins. So if you’re thinking about buying a Toyota Corolla, you need to learn everything you can about Toyota Corolla. And what’s the fastest way to learn about a car? You ask questions! Ask your buddy at work who owns a Corolla. Ask the car salesman who’s trying to sell you one. And don’t forget about good ole Google!

used car

What kind of questions to ask when buying a used car? We’re glad you asked! Here’s a list you can pose to the seller (and yourself) before you decide whether or not to buy their used car.

20 Questions to Ask When Buying A Used Car

  1. Why Are You Selling The Car? (Private Seller)

The seller could answer this question in a few ways. They might be ready for an upgrade or perhaps the car’s size doesn’t suit their lifestyle anymore. It’s good to know the reasons behind this change because you might run into the same issues down the line.

  1. How Old Is The Car?

Thanks to depreciation, most new cars lose 60% of their value after five years.1 You can use the car’s age—and how that particular make and model loses value over time—to your advantage when you’re negotiating for a better price.

  1. How Was The Car Maintained?

Find out if it was serviced at a dealership, by an independent mechanic, or one not affiliated with a garage. Also, ask if the maintenance is up-to-date. Some sellers will even suggest you speak to the mechanic who worked on the car.

  1. Are Service Records Available?

Hopefully, the answer to this question is, “Yes. All the records are in a folder and you’re welcome to look it over.” This tells you the seller probably has serviced the car regularly.

  1. Who Did You Buy The Vehicle From?

By asking this question, you should be able to get more details about how the car was driven, who the previous owners were, and what’s happened over the lifespan of the car.

  1. Where Did You Purchase the Vehicle From?

This question will tell you whether the car was purchased from a dealership or another private seller and if the car was purchased in a different province or country.

questions to ask when buying a used car

  1. Are They Selling the Car as Is, Or Is It Under Warranty?

When a dealership or private seller is selling a vehicle “as is,” that just means there’s no warranty on the car. Once you drive it off the lot, you’re responsible for dealing with any flaws or defects that need fixing.

  1. Has It Been in Any Accidents?

In some cases, accidents are reported on a vehicle history report — but don’t assume these reports catch everything. If the car was in an accident, find out how it was damaged and how it was fixed.

  1. Can the Car Be Legally Sold?

A car cannot be legally sold if it’s subject to outstanding finance, so this should be one of your first questions. If you’re buying from a dealer, it must also adhere to the Consumer Rights Act, which states that any product sold must be ‘of satisfactory quality, ‘fit for purpose’, and ‘as described’.

  1. Are There Any Mechanical Problems?

Let’s take a look under the hood, shall we? The engine is the main thing you want to look at. Check the engine compartment to make sure it’s clean with no leaking fluids (yikes). You’ll also want to make sure the car will pass a smog and safety inspection that many states require.

  1. What’s the Condition of The Car?

Obviously, you’ll want to inspect the car yourself, but take note of what the seller says. This is the seller’s chance to disclose any issues they’ve had in the past, any current problems or flaws in the appearance.

  1. How Much Mileage Is On The Car?

This is a chance to double-check that the mileage quoted matches the car’s odometer. Can I see the VIN number, the vehicle ownership, and your identification? You want to see this information to confirm that the seller is in fact the legal owner and to double-check that the registration information matches with the car’s VIN number.

  1. Can I Take The Car To My Mechanic For An Independent Inspection?

If you do one thing before buying a used car, it should be this: Take the car to a trusted mechanic to make sure everything checks out. Having a mechanic look for any problems before they’re yours to deal with will give you peace of mind about the car.

  1. Do You Have The Title In Hand?

A longtime owner might not know where the title is hiding. Or a seller might not have the title if there’s an outstanding loan from the bank. There are ways to work around both these problems, but knowing the status of the title early on will help you decide if the car is worth the extra time and hassle.

buying a used car

  1. Has Anything On The Car Ever Been Replaced Or Updated?

New or recent updates could increase the value of the vehicle. From your perspective, these will also let you know how much money you can expect to invest in the vehicle down the line – if the car just had new tires put on, then you know that’s something you won’t need to do right away. Ask to see any receipts they might have to verify the updates.

  1. What Features Don’t Work The Way They’re Supposed To?

Older used cars nearly always have something wrong with them. It might not be a deal-breaker for example, if it’s a malfunctioning CD player. But other defects can come as annoying surprises, such as weak air conditioning, blown speakers, or missing pixels in displays.

Important Read:

  1. How Many Previous Owners Has the Car had?

The number of previous owners a car has had can affect its value. The more owners it has had, the more likely it will be an older car, have more miles on the clock, and have been driven in different styles affecting the condition of the car. Therefore, this should be reflected in the resale price.

  1. Will I Be Able to Drive The Car From Home?

If the answer is yes, it implies that the car is roadworthy, has all the legal documents, and is in satisfactory condition. If this isn’t the case and the seller lets you drive the vehicle, then they are in breach of contract.

  1. Does the Car Have all the Right Keys?

A car without all of its original keys can lose value. It is worth checking against the vehicle’s documents how many keys it originally came with. If the keys the seller has do not match the paperwork, then you are in a position to haggle more money off the price.

  1. How Would This Car Impact My Car Insurance Premiums?

When you change cars, don’t overlook how it might impact your car insurance bill! If you’re turning in your hooptie for a much newer model, your insurance premiums will probably go up.

question to ask

Know What You’re Getting Into

Before getting that shiny, cool car you’re thinking of buying, you’ll want to understand exactly what kind of deal you’re getting yourself into. After all, the last thing you need is a car that has a huge leak under the hood that will cost you a bunch of money to fix. so knowing the right questions to ask when buying a used car, can give you a better idea of what condition the car is in and what future maintenance and care will look like if you drive off with the car.

CSN Team.

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