There is always a bit of uncertainty when purchasing a new car, truck, or SUV whether it is a new or pre-owned vehicle. You are handing over a large amount of your hard-earned money and/or committing to a long-term loan agreement so it is important to feel confident in the vehicle you are buying and the dealership that you are buying it from. To help you feel the most confident in your used vehicle purchase there is a short list a questions that you should ask and have answered regarding the vehicle that you wish to purchase. Find out the 6 essential questions you need to know the answers to before you buy your next vehicle below.
6 Essential Car-Buying Questions
How/Where Was the Car Maintained/ Can I See the Service Records?
Knowing where the car got its service work performed is a key indicator as to how well the previous owner took care of the car. If they did the maintenance themselves, took it to a reputable repair center, or if they had the service done at the dealership can give you a fair estimation of how well the work was done. Asking to see the service records can only confirm your assumptions. If the seller says it was maintained at a dealership or a reputable service center then records should be readily available to you and if they aren’t then walk away from the deal.
Has This Vehicle Been in Any Accidents?
Knowing if the vehicle has been in an accident is an excellent bargaining tool for the buyer. Depending on what damage was caused by the accident and where the repairs where done can make a HUGE difference on the asking and selling price of any vehicle. Again, if the seller admits it was in an accident or you find out via CarFax or another reporting agency and records of the repairs are not furnished to you then walk away.
What Features Don’t Work as They Should?
Maybe you are upgrading your current car because the A/C doesn’t work or the driver window only rolls down halfway then why would you buy a vehicle with similar or even worse issues? Asking what works and doesn’t work properly can also sway the negotiations in your favor. The big features to focus on are A/C, AWD, Cruise Control, and any power-operated equipment.
When Was the Last Time This Car Went Through Safety/ Emissions Testing?
Currently, not all states require emissions testing but most do and all will require soon enough so knowing that if you buy the vehicle you can drive it legally in your state is an excellent question to have answered. This is similar to knowing what features work and don’t work properly but oftentimes safety systems get overlooked so be sure to ask about any safety systems that the vehicle is equipped with.
Is There Any Open Recalls for This Vehicle/ Is it Still Under Warranty?
Having the vehicle you are interested in still under warranty can give you a little peace of mind on your purchase but don’t let that stop you from asking all of the other questions on this list. Also knowing what the warranty covers is crucial before you agree to buy anything. Recalls are somewhat common these days so having a recall on the vehicle isn’t an instant red flag but it does alert you to potential problems that may arise. Having an open or active recall can also help you negotiate a lower price. Recalls are covered by the manufacturer and have no additional costs associated with them.
Can I Take This Car to Be Inspected by My Mechanic?
Getting a potential vehicle inspected by a mechanic that you trust can give you an idea of all the flaws that it may have before they become catastrophic issues. Also, if the seller refuses to allow you to have a third-party mechanic inspect the vehicle it is a BIG red flag and you should walk away right away.