Top Ten Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Used cars have a lot to offer: they’re cheap, they’re available everywhere, the selection of used cars is better…but it’s also riskier than buying new, sometimes. Here are ten questions you should ask before paying any money.

– “Who’d you buy it from?” Possibly the most important question you can possibly ask. A car’s previous owner will tell you a lot about how the car itself operates, and what possible problems you may run into while driving it.

– “Is it manufacturer-certified?” The only certification that’s worth anything from a consumer standpoint is the one from the manufacturer: they’ll know what’s wrong with the car, and how to fix any issues they may find. If it’s not certified by the manufacturer, that would be a good time to leave.

– “Can I see the pre-certification inspection?” This is more for your peace of mind than to learn about the car: knowing what the mechanic had to fix before the car was certified can tell you what might go wrong with the car later.

– “Have you needed to do any other repairs after it was certified?” Sometimes these repairs are necessary, but you should find out what was done before you buy.

– “What’s the cash price?” If you’re able to pay cash, that’s something dealerships love to hear. Sure, they make money on financing, but being able to pay up front means less hassle for them, and they’ll pass savings on to you.

– “What comes with this price?” Find out up front exactly what the car includes standard as part of the deal. Does it need equipment, repairs, or any other money put into it?

– “Do you take trade-ins?” This alone can save you quite a lot of money. See what they’re willing to give you for your old car, and how much that knocks off the price of your new car.

– “What’s your return policy?” No reputable dealership would intentionally sell you a lousy car, but accidents do happen. Reduce their likelihood by knowing your options.

– “Is there a Carfax report available?” A dealership worth its salt will have this available for you right away. One that hesitates, or one that won’t provide one, is one you should walk away from, or possibly run.

– “Can I take it for an extended test drive?” Provided you agree to a few conditions, there’s no reason you can’t take a car home with you for the night to test it out. See if they’re willing to let you drive it around a little.

Good luck, and good hunting!

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