Questions You Should Ask Before Buying a Car
In the market for a new car or a new-to-you car? How exciting! If you’ve been saving your pennies and you’re ready to do some shopping, then you want to be prepared before you head to a car lot or talk to a private seller. After all, buying a car is a significant purchase.
You can always get a car history report (i.e., from CARFAX) and take it for a test drive. You can even ask for a pre-purchase inspection. But sometimes, all it takes is the ability to ask the right questions.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Car
Before you even head out the door to go car shopping, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Do I really need a new car?
- How much money can I afford to spend on a car?
- Do I need to finance a car, or can I pay cash?
- What kind of car do I want?
- Should I buy used or new?
- Am I going to trade-in my current car? (If you have one)
Questions to Ask the Dealer Before Buying a New Car
- What additional fees will I be charged? While you’ve been busy negotiating on the car, it’s always good to know what the final total will be. Ask for a purchase agreement that lists all of the fees and services.
- Have there been any dealer add-ons to this car? Dealer add-ons can boost the cost – so be sure you know what you’re getting.
- What’s the current mileage? Yes, it can still have miles on it and be listed as new. If it’s over a few hundred miles, start negotiating.
- What is the warranty, and what does it cover?
- What financing is available? You may find that they offer reasonable financing terms or that you want to obtain your own.
- Is that the best you can do? Don’t be afraid to ask if that is the absolute best price. You probably have several dealerships close by selling the same brand of car – so shop around.
Questions to Ask the Seller Before Buying a Used Car
- Why are you selling your car? This is always a good question because the seller might disclose any issues that he/she has been having – or it may be as simple as they are looking for something new.
- How long have you owned this vehicle?
- Where did you get this car? It’s always good to know if they bought it new or second-hand and from where.
- What’s the current mileage?
- Did you regularly maintain this car? How often did you get oil changes? If a car is well-maintained, you will most likely find that it will be in better condition.
- Has this vehicle been involved in any accidents? You definitely want to know this, and if the answer is “Yes,” – ask about the repair work that was done.
- Has your car experienced any mechanical problems, or have you replaced anything (such as brake pads)?
- Can I take a test drive? Be sure to drive it around town and on the highway and make note of anything you may see or hear.
- Do you mind if I have it inspected? If the seller hesitates, this may be a red flag that the car is not in the condition you are expecting.
Buying a car, whether new or used, is a major purchase. Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and that you are ready to ask the hard questions. Being prepared can help make your car buying experience much more pleasant and help keep you from buying a “lemon.”