5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Guy in Car

Buying a used car can be intimidating because you don't want to end up paying for something that is unreliable. Some people are too timid to ask direct and possibly uncomfortable questions about the history and condition of the vehicle. However, regardless of whether you are buying from a used car dealer or a private seller, you need to ask questions before committing to buy a vehicle.

Here are five questions to get you started when you are going to buy a used car.

Has the car ever been in an accident?

Accidents can cause all kinds of substantial and ongoing damage to the car. While you do not need to completely avoid buying a vehicle that has been in an accident, it is something you should know about prior to buying a vehicle. You can use services like Carfax to look up accident reports based on the vehicle's VINN number, but you should still ask. This will also indicate the level of trust you can place in the person selling the vehicle. If the car has been in an accident, you need to get details on the type of accident, the damage caused, and what was fixed or replaced following the accident.

How many owners has the car had?

A dealership or auction site may not have this information available for you. However, the fewer owners a vehicle has had, the more likely it is to be in better condition. If you are buying from a private seller, also ask why they are selling the vehicle. This is also a good time to ask if there are any problems with the car that you may need to deal with in the near future. You can also ask the seller how long they have owned the car.

What region did the car come from?

The weather and climate a vehicle is exposed to on a regular basis will directly impact the condition of the body and undercarriage. For example, cars that are from areas with snow and ice through the winter months are more likely to rust because they are frequently exposed to salt and de-icing chemicals. Similarly to questions about ownership, knowing the region the car comes from may not determine your choice, but rather, will give you more information you need to make an informed decision.

Does it come with a warranty?

Often, dealerships will offer limited warranties on used cars to promote trust and loyalty in their dealership. While the warranties are limited, they do offer some level of protection if the car has significant problems right away. A vehicle brought through an online car auction will not come with a warranty. Auctions sell vehicles "as is" which is also reflected in the lower price you generally pay. Auctions also offer a great selection and allow you to review multiple vehicles quickly and easily.

Are the miles mostly highway or city?

Whether a car has been driven mostly on the highway or mostly in normal city traffic makes a significant difference in what wears down and will likely need to be replaced. A vehicle can have really high miles, but still, be in relatively good condition if they are primarily highway miles. At this point, you can also ask what work has been done on the car. Knowing work recently done will give you an idea of what work may need to be done in the near future.

 If you buy a used car, you will need to set up car insurance before you leave with your new car. You can compare car insurance with iSelect to get the best deal for the best coverage. There are always unknowns with used cars. However, you can protect yourself from some fo the unknowns with adequate car insurance.

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