Best Questions to Ask Before You Buy That Used Car

When buying a used car privately, paperwork is all-important. The same is true when buying a used car from a dealer, and it can also be stressful. But if you go into it prepared and make sure you ask the right questions—of yourself and the dealer—it will be a lot easier. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions wherever you choose to buy, either. Although there’s no obligation for sellers to volunteer information about a car they’re selling, any questions you ask must be answered truthfully—otherwise, the vendor is breaking the law.

General Questions to Ask Yourself

1. How much can I afford to spend? Make sure you know your budget before you go looking. Also, this will help you decide if you need to look into financing or not.

2. How big of a car do I need? This will help you narrow it down based on things like how big your family is, if you will need to haul a lot of stuff, or if you will be driving it in narrow streets.

3. How will I use this car? Depending on your needs, you may need a specific kind or type of car.

4. Can I take it on a test drive? Always make sure you try the car before you buy it. Get some of our best tips on how to get the most out of your test drive here.

5. What fees will I pay in addition to the price? You will never pay just the listed price. There may be dealership fees, taxes, etc.

6. Dealer or private? A car dealer is generally the safest place to buy a used car, as there’s a degree of legal protection implied by its status as a business. A car dealer has an obligation to properly prepare a car before the sale, including verifying that its recorded mileage is correct.

7. Should I buy new or used? If you can afford a brand new car, it’s nice to treat yourself. However, buying a used car that’s only a year or two old will save you a lot on depreciation. Buying a car can easily become a very emotional decision, so be sure to keep a clear head and seek the advice of someone that you trust when you narrow down your car.

Questions to Ask the Seller/Dealer

1. Why are you selling the car? 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.

2. How long have you owned the car? If they recently purchased the vehicle and they are already selling it, take note as this could mean they ran into problems with the car.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Is there any reason you wouldn’t drive the car coast-to-coast tomorrow? This is a fun question and sometimes throws the seller off balance. But if the answer is a resounding “No, there’s nothing wrong with the car,” that’s a nice vote of confidence.

6. What is the ownership history? “If the seller doesn’t really have many details about the car or only owned it a short time, that’s a warning sign,” Holthoff says. “I’m looking for a seller who really cared for the car for several years or more.” When searching for good used cars, he recommends using keywords like “original owner” or “service records” or even “garaged.”

7. How did you arrive at this price? If you’ve asked all the above questions, and you’re getting serious about buying the car, find out how the seller priced it. Many people simply pick a figure out of the air. If the seller says he or she used a pricing guide, you can double-check to see if the price is accurate.

8. Do you have the title in hand? If there’s a loan on the car from the bank, the seller might not have the title. Or they may not know where it is. These are problems that can be worked around, but it’s best to buy from someone who actually has the title of the car easily accessible.

9. Can I take the car to a mechanic for an inspection? It’s important that you take the car to a professional pre-purchase car inspector so you can get an expert’s opinion on what’s happening with the car under the hood. If the seller hesitates then this could be a red flag that there’s something they don’t want you to know.

As you can imagine, these questions will come in handy. Are you getting a good deal or buying someone else’s issues?

Have a professional inspector like German Precision to do a thorough pre-purchase car inspection to ensure that your dream car is operating properly.

If you are looking for a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: requestyourcar.com, canstarblue.com.au, carbuyer.co.uk, nerdwallet.com

Should You Buy A Car During COVID-19?

There is widespread confusion about whether you’re allowed to buy a used car during COVID-19, but the motor vehicle is one of the safest forms of transport amid the pandemic.

Used car prices continue to soar as commuters shun public transport, fearing COVID-19 contagion.

According to data analytics firm Datium Insights, used motor vehicle prices rose by 4.4 per cent last week after increasing by 2.1 per cent in the previous week, and the stock remains considerably low.

In terms of category, prices of SUVs rose the most, up 5 per cent, while passenger vehicles gained 4.7 per cent.

Among the top traded vehicles, resale prices for Toyota Hiace and Volkswagen Golf were up 10.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.

Many new-car dealerships have adjacent used-car yards, but private buyers and sellers are also allowed to trade vehicles as long as social distancing rules are applied by both parties during test drives and the transaction process.

However, customers still need to be careful when buying a used car.

There seems to be a lot of car selling frauds, which is possible through a number of activities and actions taken by the company.

One of these is when the business does not disclose certain information. Many vehicles that are previously damaged/written off/hail damaged and repaired, HAVE NOT BEEN ADVERTISED as such. This is indicating a deceptive type of seller who is trying to present a vehicle unethically.

If the vehicle was totalled/written-off either due to accident/flood/hail damage and the insurance company signed off on a salvage title being issued for the non-repairable or defective car, this must be disclosed very obviously to the customer seeking a new vehicle.

This means that the person is notified either inconspicuous writing or told by the employees selling the car. Any attempt to hide this information may lead to legal action. This also means that the dealership is not permitted to say they don’t know about the salvage title.

The history of vehicles and the titles granted are easily accessible to auto dealerships, and this means they are held accountable for detailing that a salvage title was issued for a car. There is a duty of care held to the company for disclosing the salvage title to the customer. Many businesses that sell vehicles may attempt to hide these matters through various means. However, if the car works and there are no issues, they may get away with these practices. It is when the driver is harmed due to defects or previously damaged cars that litigation could occur. Also, the fact that if you paid normal retail for the car, in reality, it is worth considerably less. How much? No one really knows how to put a value on a ‘written off’ car. You also need to consider that some car insurance companies will not offer comprehensive cover on a previous write-off, along with the fact that at time of future sale, you will need to disclose this fact, and a trade-in may be impossible.

Common Problems With A Private Seller

The most common problems with buying vehicles privately include:

• ‘buying a lemon’, ie a faulty car
• being misled about a vehicle’s make, price, quality or performance
• the seller still owing money to a finance company, in which case your vehicle may be repossessed.
• buying a car that has WOVR (Written Off Vehicle Registry) entry, due to being a repairable write off (accident/flood/hail damage)

What To Do If You Have A Problem

Contact the seller and explain the problem before you do anything else. Always talk to the seller first. If they disagree or refuse to deal with the issue, get a report from a mechanic or inspection service like German Precision.

You should contact the seller yourself – or have someone else do it for you – if you have bought a vehicle and:

• were misled into doing so, either by false advertising or something the seller has said
• the vehicle is faulty or unsafe
• you find out there is money owing on the vehicle.

Often by contacting the private seller, you can work out an arrangement between the two of you. This might include:

• some kind of refund
• the seller paying for mechanical work
• an alternative arrangement.

It’s important that you don’t give up without trying. Note however there is no guarantee or obligation from a private seller to do anything. Once you have paid and the car has changed hands, it is all up to you and the seller bears no further liability.

Then How Do You Avoid These Situations?

Do Your Research

It’s important to get as much information as you can about the condition of the car before you buy it. Ask the seller to show pictures of the car from different angles. You can also video call them so you can actually see the real condition before paying anything.

Get It Inspected By A Professional

If you’re unsure, hire a professional like German Precision to help you.

When buying something big like a new car, have it professionally inspected. A pre-purchase car inspection would cost you $250 to $350, and it’s worth every penny.

If you are looking for a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: theaustralian.com.au, caradvice.com.au, hg.org, consumerprotection.govt.nz