Buying a used car can be an enjoyable experience as you browse listings online to decide which make and model you prefer to drive.
But then reality creeps in and you have to make some serious decisions. Since a car is a big-ticket item whatever your budget, you have to make some careful choices and avoid all those well-known used cars buying pitfalls. The words ‘buyer beware’ haunt you and all those lemon car horror stories keep you up late. But it doesn’t have to be a frightful experience; you just need to know what to look out for and to always ask the right questions.
Here we’ll focus on private sellers specifically. You’ll definitely want to review the vehicle history report. But there are also a number of questions to ask the buyer about the car’s history and condition. This list can help you get started.
How was the Car Maintained?
Find out where the car was serviced, whether it was a dealership or with an independent mechanic. And check if the maintenance is up to date. A well-maintained car is a good buy as we all know.
Can I See the ServiceRecords?
Some people keep meticulous records of work done on their car and hopefully, they have all the service records neatly stored in a folder. Reviewing this can tell you if the car was regularly serviced and what issues if any occurred.
Has the car been involved in any accidents?
Vehicle history reports should record any accidents a car has been involved in, but they don’t always catch everything. So there’s no harm in asking the owner directly!
Any issues with the car?
Used cars are bound to have something not working correctly, especially older models. If the AC doesn’t work and you live in a hot climate, that may be a problem and it would be nice to know before you hand over money, right?
What is the ownership history?
Some people are the sole owner of a car, which is ideal for a buyer. Others may have had it for only a short time, which may not be a good sign. Therefore ask them how long they’ve had the car.
Why are you selling the car?
This is a great question to ask! Many experts advise relying on your intuition skills when somebody answers this question, as they may have a ‘good story ready to go.
How did you arrive at this price when Buying Used?
Did they just pick a figure or did they use a pricing guide? You can always check yourself if you get to this stage and are serious about buying the car.
I’d like to take the car to be inspected by a mechanic…
Only ask this of course if you’re ready to buy the car and have the funds to do so. Most sellers will be quite happy with this request, but if they’re hesitant, this may be a warning sign.
Do you have the title?
If someone is selling the car they should already have access to the title. Make sure there’s no problem, such as them not having the title because of an outstanding loan from the bank. Good luck on the used car hunt, and be sure to ask as many questions as you like -it’s your money on the line! And once more, always remember, buyer, beware!