It is never an easy task searching for a used car to buy, but with all the sale signs and used car dealers; it may seem to be a simple procedure. When looking at used cars for sale things might get quickly complicated, and this makes it very important for you to actually know what you are looking for. One good way to for you to know this is by playing detective and asking a lot of questions to find out about the details and state of the car you are about to spend your money on.
Here is a list of questions you can ask when buying a used car.
How well has the vehicle been maintained?
Find out if the former owner of the car for sale took good care of the car and if they had regular maintenance and check-ups done on the used car. It is a good idea to get a copy of the CarFax report of the car from the seller, to know details such as if it has been in any accidents. You may also want to know how regular the oil changes were done, and if anything has ever been replaced or certain updates done on the car. This information will help you know how much you expect to put into the car in the future and be sure to ask for receipts to confirm those updates or replacements.
Many used car dealers or owners put up such reports when advertising, so as to attract buyers. If this is not possible, try the best you can to get genuine, candid answers from the current owner or seller.
Why are you selling the car?
It is essential to know why the car has been put up for sale, whether it is for personal reasons such as going for an upgrade and ditching it for one that really fits their lifestyle, or because the car has developed a very serious fault. It is good to know the reasons for this sale to be aware of what possible issues you may encounter when using the car over time – if you eventually buy it.
Can I take the car for an inspection?
To make sure of the condition of the used car you are buying, it is important to do some good checks on it. Some of the used cars for sale might have some issues that may be really worrying. To make sure that everything is working properly and that the used car dealer is not trying to cover up a serious fault in the car, it will be a smart move to ask for a mechanical inspection.
Do you know the ownership background of this car?
When a dealer or seller puts up a car for sale, it is very likely that the vehicle has had more than one owner in the past. It will be very useful to get some knowledge on the number of previous owners, how they used/drove the car and for how long they did. If the used car dealer or the seller has vital information on the car’s ownership history, it may serve as a big go-ahead to buy, but if they do not, you have to express some caution when buying such a vehicle.
Cars put up for sale after only being owned by the seller for a very short time may mean that they have run into some serious problems with the car, so you have to take note before buying such a used car. You might also want to use this opportunity to see the VIN number of the car. Seeing this information can help you confirm the vehicle’s ownership details and to double check that the registration number matches with the VIN number of the car.
How much mileage is on the car?
When a car has more miles on it, it may have more likelihood of developing problems in the future. Asking questions on the car’s mileage from a used car dealer or seller gives you a chance to do a recheck and ensure that there is a match between the earlier quoted mileage and the one on the car’s odometer.
Do you have a car title handy?
Cars for sale will usually have a title, and it is best to buy from a used car dealer or other sellers who have a car title in hand. The car title is the legal document that provides proof of ownership of the vehicle. It contains some important information about the car such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and details of the license plate number.
It is important also to know if the seller has secured a loan from the bank using the car title as collateral as this may mean that he currently does not have access to the title. The seller may also not know where it is, or it might be missing, but these problems can be worked around.
Can I take the car on a test drive?
Before you start talking about the price, always make sure you ask the used car dealer or seller to try the car before buying it. Ensure that such used car meets your needs by taking it for an efficient test drive and if the dealer declines, then consider inviting him along for the drive as this may give him a relaxed feel with a chance to keep watch on the vehicle or you can walk away from such a deal.
When taking a test drive on the used car, aim to spend a good amount of time on the drive. A 30-minute test drive is not a bad idea.
Lisa Mitchell is an Auto Financing blogger with many years of experience covered with car sell/buy, financing and trading Autos. She has started her carrier from Auto City in 2010.