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HomeDriver's ResourcesMust Ask Questions When Buying a Used Car

Important questions to ask when buying a used car in Canada:

  1. What is the vehicle’s history? Ask for a vehicle history report that provides information about the car’s ownership, accident history, and any other relevant details. This can help you identify any potential problems with the car.
  2. Has the car been in any accidents? If the car has been in an accident, ask for details about the damage and any repairs that were made. You may also want to have a mechanic inspect the car for any hidden damage.
  3. How many kilometers/miles does the car have? Knowing the car’s mileage can give you an idea of its overall condition and how much life it may have left.
  4. Has the car been regularly maintained? Ask for service records to see if the car has been regularly serviced and if any major repairs have been made.
  5. Are there any outstanding recalls on the car? Check if there are any open recalls on the car and ask if they have been addressed. If not, you may want to have them fixed before purchasing the car.
  6. What is the car’s current condition? Ask the seller to describe the car’s condition, including any cosmetic or mechanical issues. You may also want to have a mechanic inspect the car before making a purchase.
  7. What is the asking price? Ask the seller to explain how they arrived at the asking price and if there is any room for negotiation. Be sure to also research the fair market value of the car before making an offer.
  8. Is there a warranty? Ask if there is any remaining manufacturer’s warranty on the car, or if the seller is offering any kind of warranty or guarantee.
  9. Can I take the car for a test drive? Always test drive a used car before making a purchase to get a feel for how it handles and to identify any potential issues.
  10. Can I have the car inspected by a mechanic? Ask if you can take the car to a mechanic for an inspection before making a purchase. This can help identify any hidden issues with the car and give you peace of mind before making a purchase.
  11. Does the car have a lien on it? Ask the seller if there are any outstanding liens on the car. If there are, you may be liable for paying off the lien before you can take ownership of the car.
  12. Are all the documents in order? Ask the seller to provide all necessary documents, such as the registration, bill of sale, and any service records. Be sure to verify that the documents are all legitimate and up-to-date.
  13. What is the fuel efficiency of the car? Ask about the car’s fuel efficiency to get an idea of its operating costs. You can also research the car’s fuel economy rating online to compare it to other cars in its class.
  14. Are there any aftermarket modifications or accessories? If the car has any aftermarket modifications or accessories, such as a sound system or upgraded wheels, ask the seller for details about them. You may also want to check if these modifications are legal in your province or territory.
  15. What is the seller’s reason for selling the car? Ask the seller why they are selling the car. This can give you an idea of the car’s condition and history, and may also help you negotiate a better price.
  16. Can I see the car’s title? Ask to see the car’s title to verify that the seller is the legal owner of the car. If the title has any errors or inconsistencies, it may indicate that there are issues with the car’s history or ownership.
  17. What payment methods are accepted? Ask the seller what payment methods they accept, such as cash, certified cheque, or bank transfer. Be sure to get a receipt for any payments you make and keep a record of the transaction.
  18. Has the car been used for commercial or personal purposes? Ask the seller if the car has been used for commercial purposes, such as a rental car or delivery vehicle. Commercial use can lead to higher mileage and wear and tear on the car.
  19. Is the car currently registered and insured? Ask the seller if the car is currently registered and insured. If it’s not, you may need to take care of these tasks before you can legally drive the car.
  20. Is there a service contract available? Ask the seller if there is a service contract available for the car. A service contract can provide coverage for certain repairs and maintenance tasks for a set period of time.
  21. What is the car’s current market value? Research the current market value of the car to see if the asking price is reasonable. Use online pricing guides or check classified ads for similar cars in your area.
  22. Is there a return policy or warranty? Ask the seller if there is a return policy or warranty available for the car. This can give you peace of mind and protection if there are any unexpected issues with the car after you buy it.
  23. Has the car ever been written off? Ask if the car has ever been written off or deemed a total loss by an insurance company. A written-off car may have significant damage or safety issues that make it unsafe to drive.
  24. Can I get a CarProof or Carfax report? Ask the seller if they can provide a CarProof or Carfax report. This report can provide valuable information about the car’s history, including accidents, title changes, and other important details.
  25. Is there a trade-in option? Ask the seller if there is a trade-in option available for your current car. This can help reduce the overall cost of the new car and simplify the buying process.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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