Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Car. Is it always worth it to buy a new car? For you who want to keep the budget tight, buying used car can be a smart move. Buying a used car can save you a hefty amount of money. But before you go to the nearest car lot and pick the car you like, there are several questions you need to find the answers first.
Ask about the vehicle identification number.
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code made by car manufacturers to identify every motorized vehicle. This code includes serial numbers and every manufacturer will have different formats. Through the VIN you will be able to trace back the history of the car you want to buy. You will also be able to know if the car has a “salvage title”. Usually a “salvage title” is a result of a total loss report by an insurance company. It means the car had been in an accident before, but had been repaired.
Ask about why the seller sells this car.
Knowing the reason why the seller sells the car will help you further in the negotiation process. If you see something fishy about the car, don’t hesitate to find another car. Make sure you spend every dollar you have on a worthy car.
Ask about the maintenance history of the car.
Ask for the car’s service record, see if the oil is changed regularly. A well maintained car will bring you less trouble. Of course a used car will have a few scratches here and there, but as long as it functions normally, you’re good to go.
Ask if the car still has warranty.
You don’t always have to buy an old car when buying used car. Sometimes, you can find a modern car at a reasonable price. And just like when you want to pick a product in a supermarket, you want to pick up the one with the furthest expiration date. You will want to choose the with the furthest warranty left. If the warranty can not be transfered, you can ask your seller to cut the price.
Ask if you can test drive the car.
A good seller will let you test drive the car. If the seller is reluctant, there might be something wrong with the car. When you test drive the car, really pay attention to how it performs. Look for any strange noise cause it can indicate any malfunction in the car.
Ask if you can take the car to a mechanic.
Ask your local mechanic to help you sniff out any problems in the car. Or if you don’t know any car mechanic near you, you can find car inspection services online. Usually their service is not expensive, and it can really save you from being tricked by the seller.
When you already have the answers from the questions above, you can move on to the negotiation step. Make sure you have done some research about the car price in your area. You can always ask for a lower price in buying used car, especially if the car has some functional flaws. You should use that flaw as leverage to press the price down.