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HomeDriver's Resources23 Must Ask Questions When Buying a Used Car
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Depending on where you are going to buy your used vehicle there are a lot of questions that you need to ask about it. With the answers to these questions, a test drive performed by you, and an inspection done by your mechanic you should be able to make an informed decision about purchasing the vehicle.

You can put your questions into important categories such as:

  • Questions that will allow you to learn more about the history of the car.
  • Some questions will give you insight as to how well the car has been looked after.
  • Then questions that will help you determine if you are going to need to put additional money into the car right away.

List of Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Check list

The more you know about the history of the vehicle the more you will be able to determine durability and performance for the future. It may give you some idea as to the life that is left in the vehicle before it will need major repairs.

Below is the list of questions to ask when buying a used car:

1. What Year Make And Model Is The Car?

Even if you know the answer to this question ask it anyway as it will help to ensure that you are talking to someone that is knowledgeable about the vehicle.

2. Was The Car Ever Used For Business Purposes?

Cars that are used for business are often driven by some drivers that do not directly own the vehicle. Poor driving habits can be hard on a vehicle.

3. Have You Ever Personally Done Repairs To The Vehicle? If So Which Ones?

There are a lot of people who do minor repairs on their vehicles which is no problem. But there are limits as to what they should tackle. There are some repairs that should not be taken on by the individual that is not properly trained. For example, replacing the fuel pump, the radiator, or performing diagnostics.

4. Has The Vehicle Ever Been Used For Hauling?

You want to know if this make and model of vehicle can be able to haul. When you ask this question, and the answer is yes then ask a bit more about it such as what was towed and how often. Then you can do further research as to whether this may not have been good for the vehicle.

5. Has The Vehicle Ever Been Painted and Why?

Sometimes a paint job is performed as part of a repair as a result of an accident. Other times it is done because there has been a lot of bodywork done perhaps because of rusting. But, there are times when a used car owner wants a different color. You want to know the purpose.

6. Has It Had Any Modifications Done To It?

If modifications have been done and the type is going to tell you a lot of what the car was used for.

7. What Parts Have Been Replaced On It?

This is going to help you determine how often the car has needed repair. It will also be an indicator of what you won’t need to replace any time soon.

8. What Has The Car Been Used For Mostly?

You want to get some idea as to whether this is a second vehicle that has been used mostly for leisure or whether it is the primary vehicle. It may give you some indication as to why the owner is getting rid of the vehicle.

9. Has The Car Been Used Mostly For City Driving Or Highway Driving?

Experts say that city driving is harder on a vehicle compared to highway driving. Even if the car has lower mileage but has been exposed to city driving you may want to keep this in mind.

10. Did You Buy The Car New?

On occasion, this question can help you determine if the person giving you the answers is being fully honest with you. For example, if the car is eight years old and the owner looks like they are twenty, then an answer of yes might raise some red flags as to how honest the owner is with you.

11. How Many Miles Have You As The Owner Put On The Car?

If the present owner of the vehicle is not the first owner, you want to get an idea of just how much this vehicle has been used. If they have put a lot of miles on the car but claim it’s being used as a second vehicle, this is going to tell you a bit more about the history of the car. Either it is being used a lot on a daily basis, or it has been used for long trips. You will need to determine the pros and cons of this.

12. What Is The Reason You Are Selling It?

Most likely if the car is creating a lot of problems for the current owner they are not going to tell you this. But, the answer to this along with all the other answers to these questions will give you a good idea as to how truthful the answer is to this question.

13. Was The Car Regularly Serviced?

This will tell you a little about how dedicated the owner of the vehicle is to keeping the car in good condition.

14. When Was The Vehicle Last In For Servicing?

At least you will know if the car has received a recent servicing. If you have the vehicle inspected yourself this should be evident.

15. Was The Vehicle Ever Rust Treated?

This is important because if the answer is yes, then you have learned two things — one that the owner was committed to looking after the vehicle. Secondly, the vehicle has had some extra rust protection that will be beneficial to you as a new owner.

16. Who Does The Work On The Car When In Need Of Repairs?

This is going to help you determine if the answer to some of your other questions has been fully truthful. For example, if the owner said they did a lot of the repairs themselves in your previous question, then you can be more intense with this question to determine just what work was done by professionals.

17. When Not In Use Is The Car Stored Outside Or In A Covered Area?

Cars that are protected in general are not as exposed as much to the environment, and this gives you an idea as to what this car has been exposed to in regards to the elements during the period that this individual owned the vehicle.

18. Are You Aware Of Any Issues With The Vehicle?

An honest owner will tell you if they suspect something may be going on in the vehicle. For example, they may have noticed an oil leak. Chances are because you have asked so many important questions that they are going to be upfront with you.

19. When Was The Last Time The Brakes Were Replaced On The Vehicle? And How Often Have You had to Do This as the Owner?

This question can give you more insight than you realize. If you weigh out all the other answers and compare them to this one, you will learn more about the validity of the answers you have received. There is a wide range of how often brake pads need to be changed which can be between every 25,000 miles up to every 70,000 miles. This is because it involves many factors.

20. How Old Are The Tires?

You are going to want to know whether you are going to have to replace the tires any time soon.

21. What Are The Major Repairs That Have Been Done On The Vehicle?

If the transmission was replaced two years ago for example, then this is important for you to know. At least you will know that you are not likely to have any issues with it.

22. What Documents Are You Prepared To Give With The Vehicle

If the car is being sold privately in Ontario, then the owner is compelled to provide a Used Vehicle Information Package. But, there may be other documents that are important to you. For example, there may be some warranties that are applicable to the car. Such as a warranty for new tires. Or for a major part that has been replaced.

23. How Long Have You Owned The Vehicle?

This is a question that is reserved to last because it is going to help you decide how much credence you are going to put on the answers that you have received. If the answer is less than a year and a lot of repairs have been needed, then this could indicate that there will be potential problems in the future with the vehicle. The answer should also line up with the answers pertaining to the history given on the car.

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