Used Car Buying: 5 Questions to You Might Not Think to Ask
Buying a new car is like selecting a non-refundable friend that you will rely on for years to come — it’s pretty important. So before committing to that partner, you want to find out as much about it so you can make the best decision.
Here are five questions you should ask that will help you choose the best partner, whether buying at a dealership or a private seller.
Where did the car come from?
Did the car from someone trading in or selling their car or did it come from an auction? If it was traded in or sold to the dealership, it’s likely the dealership has some type of idea who previously owned the car and may have a better indication of how the car was maintained. If the car has come from an auction, typically the only history on the car comes from CarFax.
But really, where did the car come from?
Cars that have spent winters battling the icy, freezing conditions like the states in the north and northeast face may have some more issues from the way the harsh conditions affect the car. Parts often affected by cold conditions are fluids, spark plugs, batteries, and salted roads can cause corrosion or chipping to the car’s undercarriage or finish.
Can I bring it to my own mechanic or have my mechanic come look at it?
Sometimes dealers or private owners are not thrilled about this idea. Even if you don’t have a mechanic that you plan on bringing it to, it’s a good way to see how transparent the seller is willing to be with you.
Have there been any recalls on the car and were the changes made?
This is probably one of the most important questions to ask before buying a used car. While some recalls do not drastically change a car, some recall repairs (like Volkswagen’s recent recall) can make a big difference to the car’s value. Also, not every recall is mandatory, so there’s a chance the previous owner did not make the changes to the car.
Can I have the CarFax?
CarFax is a beautiful thing. Each CarFax informs the potential buyer of past problematic titles, potential odometer fraud, number of owners, where the car was located, past accidents and can help identify the how the vehicle may have been used.