6 questions to ask the seller before buying a used car

Updated Jan 23, 2018 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

Decide if that used car is worth your hard-earned money by asking the seller these 6 questions.

Car buying is always a tough and stressful process. This is particularly true with those who are looking for a used car with a tight budget as tight budget usually means fewer choices while used vehecles often mean higher risks. In this article, Philkotse.com would like to help the old-car buying process less stressful and minimize buyer's remorse by suggesting 6 questions to ask the seller before buying a sedcond-hand car.

1. Why are you selling your car?

a handing holding a note with a word of

Would you ever buy a used car without asking the previous owner why she/he is selling it?

The common answer to such question might be "I don't like it anymore" or "I was just lured by another car", et cetera. Look into his or her eyes while he/she is answering you. If there is any uncertainty in their voice or they cannot give a straight answer at the first few seconds, proceed with caution.

While asking the seller, remember to carefully observe the car to have your own assessment of the car's actual value. Obviously, no dealer would confess if his or her car already had its light, hood, and brake system replaced due to a serious crash. Instead, they know how to ease your anxiety by ensuring it is still running well and in good condition.

We know it is tricky to tell whether the seller is giving an honest answer. However, come to think of it, would you buy a used car without asking the previous owner why she/he is selling it? You wouldn't. That is why you still have to ask the question anyway even though it might seem you won't get a 100% honest answer.

2. What is the car's condition?

Undoubtedly, this is definitely one of the very first questions to ask while buying a used car. Don't expect the actual vehicle to be 100% like what it is advertised. It is totally understandable when the advertisement often goes overrated to some extent so that it is more appealing to buyers. Therefore, asking the seller to meet in person for a thorough checkup. If he or she refuses to do so, this is likely the case that he or she is trying to conceal something bad about the car, and just want to reach a deal quickly.

3. Has the car ever been in a crash before?

How to Check a Used Car Before You Buy - DIY Inspection with Scotty Kilmer

This is another must-ask questions before buying a pre-owned car.

It is reasonable from the buyer's point of view to doubt that a used car must have suffered from one or more accidents and thus has some components replaced. According to consumer psychology, while we all know that we get what we pay for, we always tend to expect all components of the second-hand car we are going to buy are original. We all know how annoying it is to own a car with non-original replacements which can cause a long-standing complication during usage.

You should check engines ins and outs, again and again. Then, looking for signs of replacement on the exterior to find if there is anything which seems to be out of place or look newer than the others. Next, checking the interior and safety features for damage. Listen carefully to the seller's answers to tell if there is any inconsistencies in his or her explanation.

4. What’s the mileage of your car?

car mileage meter

The more miles the car has covered, the more issues come out

In general, this is the basic question to know whether the car is like new or just fake new. The more miles the car has covered, the more issues come out. Also, watch out the tires and other parts to find the worn out parts. Click here to find useful tips to know how to check car’s tread depth with a P1 coin. Some replacement and repair expenses are not considerable, but some are sky-high. Judge carefully if you do not want to spend a lot more for repair cost after the initial payment.

There are also two more related questions to ask:

  1. Are you the legal owner of this used car or you are just intermediary buyer?
  2. If you are intermediary, where did you buy it?

These two questions will reveal the truth of ownership legitimation. The original owner will answer your question detailedly, and obviously, the information is more reliable. The intermediary only outlines the general information. Not until you are fully answered with necessary information, is it time to give the final decision.

5. Can I see service record?

Requesting the history records including service, maintenance, repair. If the seller shows any signs of hesitation when requested to do so, it is better to find another deal. All the lies will be exposed in those documents.

6. Can I take it for a long test drive?

Some hidden problems will never come out until actually you drive it for a long-enough time (ideally 45 minutes or more). It is significant to note down of how you feel when behind the wheel or if everything seems right. This step can account for about 90% your decision.

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