There are reasons why some people who always advocate buying a new vehicle over a used one. They come equipped with the latest bells and whistles for starters, from the latest safety features to greener technology. Still, not all of us have the funds to buy something brand spanking new, and that’s okay. It’s still possible to buy something decent second-hand, from local auctions, dealerships, and private sellers. However, there are risks involved – you don’t want to buy an old banger for starters – so you must always ask the following questions from the seller.
- Can I take the vehicle on a test drive?
Unless you are buying from used car or used truck auctions, the seller should let you take it for a test drive. If they don’t, you know there are probably going to be issues within the vehicle. What are they hiding? You will never know if they don’t let you take the vehicle away for a while, so walk away if they refuse you this basic right. Don’t be fobbed off with a limited time frame either. There are a number of things you need to look out for on a test drive, so you need at least an hour to make sure the vehicle is up to scratch.
- Can I see the service history?
This should be a requirement before any purchase. Knowing the car has been serviced, especially recently, will give you some peace of mind before you part with your cash. Still, you do need to be careful. If the service history is as long as your arm, perhaps because of a large number of repair and maintenance costs, you need to question if the car you are buying is a potential money pit.
- Can I see the car history check?
The seller should be able to give you a copy of the car history check, though you can still order one online yourself before purchase. The check will reveal a number of important areas, such as whether the car has been involved in any thefts or accidents, or whether there are any outstanding finance payments left on the vehicle. You don’t want to be held responsible for any criminal charges, and you don’t want to settle loans that you didn’t take out in the first place, so, no matter how honest the seller appears, ask for that history check or get a copy online before buying.
- Will you negotiate the price?
Quite often, sellers will inflate the price slightly to allow some room for negotiation. So, don’t be afraid to push your luck a little, and haggle with the seller before you settle on a price. There may be tiny faults inherent within the vehicle that you can use to your favour, or you may have seen a cheaper car elsewhere, and you can threaten to take your custom elsewhere. With the right questions, you can grab yourself a bargain without having to break your bank.
- Why are you selling?
This is the most telltale question of them all. There may be a perfectly innocent answer, but if the seller shuffles his feet and mumbles an answer, you know the car may be a duffer. Be as interrogative as you like, and if you don’t get a reasonable response, do yourself a favour and walk away.
Buying a used car can be a profitable decision, but it pays to take care. If we have missed an important question, be sure to let us know in the comments below.