Home
Blog Top Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Top Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

May 6, 2020

If you don’t know much about automobiles, then not knowing the right questions to ask when buying a used car can make the shopping experience that much more intimidating. The old adage, “you don’t know what you don’t know” really rings true. 

Before you get started with specific questions, make sure you understand how to use KBB to figure out the car value. When it comes to car shopping, a little research can go a long way. However, nothing can replace a few good questions. In the long run, once you’ve driven off in your newly acquired vehicle, the questions you asked are your best defense against buyer’s remorse.

What Questions Should You  Ask When Buying A Used Car From A Dealership?

So, let’s say you’re looking at a two-door sports car. It’s red. It’s shiny. It’s fun. And, it’s used. But that’s okay, because it fits nicely within your budget. Before you start signing paperwork, however, you should ask if that nice, shiny, red paint is the car’s original color.

Why you ask? Well, if the car was originally blue, there’s probably a reason why it’s now red. Maybe the former owner just wanted a red sports car; there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, if the car was involved in a crash, and the result was some serious front-end damage, that’s a different matter.

If the repairs from that crash required plenty of bodywork to go with the new paint, you should know about it. And just because the aesthetics were given a face lift doesn’t mean there aren’t problems lurking through the frame, suspension and powertrain.

Who knew that asking about the car’s paint could open up such a larger conversation about past repairs? Regardless of how you got to that conversation, one thing is certain — the road to car-buying satisfaction is paved with curiosity.

Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car

There are two types of questions you should ask at a car dealership. One type looks for specific information, while the other type seeks possible red flags. Here are some examples of each:

Specific Information Questions

Specific information questions are designed to help you learn as much as possible about a used vehicle. Some examples of these questions include:

Asking about the condition of the tires, brake pads, and other components will help you determine whether or not the vehicle will need repairs or maintenance services in the near future. 

If the vehicle will most likely need to be serviced soon, you should consider the costs of these services when determining how much you are willing to pay for the vehicle.

These questions can also help you get the best deal possible on a used car. There’s no need to beat around the bush when it comes to negotiating with a used car dealer. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward by asking for their best price.

Red Flag Seeking Questions

Knowing what to ask when buying a used car can help you uncover potential issues with a vehicle that you should know about before deciding whether or not to purchase it. Some examples of red flag seeking questions include:

Asking the seller to explain how they arrived at their price is one of the most important questions on this list. This question forces the seller to justify their price. If the seller cannot explain why the price is fair, this could make it easier for you to negotiate a better deal

If the seller says that they looked at a price guide or comparable vehicle sales in the area to come up with the price, don’t take their word for it. Research price guides and comparable vehicle sales in your area to verify that the price is fair.

Sellers should be more than willing to answer these questions. If a seller is not willing to answer, this could indicate that they are trying to hide something related to the condition or sale of the vehicle.

What to Ask When Buying A Used Car From A Private Seller

You should ask the specific information and red flag seeking questions listed above regardless of whether you are buying a used car from a dealership or a private seller. If you are buying a used car from a private seller, there are a few other questions you should ask in addition to those listed above. These questions include:

There is more risk involved in private car sales, which is why knowing what questions to ask when buying a used car from a private seller is so important.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Before getting that shiny, red sports car you’re thinking of buying, you’ll want to understand exactly what kind of deal you’re getting yourself into. After all, the last thing you need is a car that has a huge leak under the hood that will cost you a bunch of money to fix. Asking the right questions can give you a better idea of what condition the car is in and what future maintenance and care will look like if you drive off with the car.