Questions to Ask About the History of a Used Car
When you’ve found one or more vehicles you’re interested in—whether being sold by a dealership or private party—you can begin sizing up their condition and history by asking some critically important questions. Any strange or far-fetched answers should put you on guard.
- What is the history of the vehicle? Before asking for the CARFAX, let the seller tell you where they purchased the vehicle, how it was driven, accidents, repair history, miles, etc.
- Do you have service records? Proof of recommended maintenance is always a good sign. If the seller reports he/she performed the maintenance, ask for receipts for any new muffler, brakes, tires, or other “wear” parts that have been replaced.
- Can I have the car looked at by my own mechanic? It’s important that you take the car to a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection so you can get an expert’s opinion on what’s happening with the car under the hood. If the seller hesitates, this could be a red flag that there’s something they don’t want you to know.
- How much life is left in the tires? If the tires are older, you are justified in asking for a $400 to $800 reduction in price.
- How long have you owned the car? If they recently purchased the vehicle and they are already selling it, this could mean they ran into problems with the vehicle.
- Who did you buy the vehicle from? By asking this question, you should be able to get more details about how the car was driven, who the previous owners were and what’s happened over the lifespan of the car.
- Is there a return policy? For an additional fee, dealerships may offer a return policy on used vehicles. Read these terms fully before signing, as there may be mileage and other restrictions attached.
- Can I take the car home for the night? You need time to evaluate how well the car runs and whether the car suits your lifestyle. Nobody likes buyer’s remorse!
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