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.
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