It doesn’t matter whether you’re purchasing your first car or the tenth – there are certain things you need to know in advance. Experienced car buyers already know that some dealers won’t disclose details unless asked for specifically.
And this puts the car buyer in a bind that may have been avoided otherwise. Used car lots sometimes offer warranties, but in most cases, they don’t last any longer than 30 days or so. That’s not enough time to find all the problems associated with it.
So to make things easier on your part, we’ve put together a list of questions you should ask before you buy from used car lots.
1. How Many Owners Has the Vehicle Had?
This is important for a number of reasons. For one, you don’t want a car that’s been through countless owners. It’s best to buy a car that only had one or two owners. Secondly, too many car owners make it harder to determine whether it had regular maintenance.
In fact, there’s less known about the state of the car when there’s been a lot of owners, as this knowledge is lost with each new owner.
2. Has the Car Been in Any Accidents?
A car that’s been in an accident is at risk of having all sorts of problems. But this doesn’t make it off limits. The key is to know what type of accident it’s been in and whether they replaced all the necessary parts.
If not, then you’re better off going with a vehicle with no accidents or a more thorough accident report. Some services offer this information, such as CARFAX reports, which are sometimes provided by used car sellers.
3. Are there Service Records for the Vehicle?
This is a great bonus if the dealer has this record. You can use this to determine how well the previous owners took care of the car.
And more importantly, the service provided should be within the manufacturer’s warranty. Because if work done voided the warranty, then you’ll have issues getting maintenance and repairs directly from the dealership.
The service record will also showcase how many problems the vehicle had. Use this to identify how expensive maintaining the car may be.
4. What’s the Mileage On the Odometer?
Now, there are two things you’re looking for here. One, whether the mileage is insanely high for the year. And two, whether the mileage is too low for the year.
Both are warning signs that something’s wrong. For instance, too many miles could mean the vehicle was used excessively as a rental or for other consistent travel. And if the miles are too low, then the odometer may be incorrect, leaving you to wonder the true mileage.
5. Can I Have a Mechanic Inspect It?
It the dealer is confident in their vehicles, the answer should be yes. In this case, there’s nothing to hide. You can bring along an experienced mechanic to check the vehicle for unforeseen issues.
At least this way, you have more peace of mind you’re getting a vehicle that isn’t a lemon.
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