Questions to ask When Buying a Used Car
Buying a used car can be a great means of getting a good car at a great price. As soon as a new car leaves the forecourt of a dealership, it substantially depreciates in value. So buying a second hand car can mean you can land yourself with a bargain.
However, the world of used cars is not always a straight forward one, and as such there are a few questions you need to ask to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying.
What is your budget?
Before you start asking questions about the car, it is important to ask a couple of questions of yourself. The first one being: what type of money are you willing and able to spend? You need to decide what money you have to spend to help you decide what car you can afford. This can help you filter your choices significantly, cutting down on browsing time.
What type of car do you need?
The next fundamental question is a simple one, what type of car are you looking for? There are a few further questions which can help determine this better:
- What will the car be primarily used for? Business? Recreational Use? Family?
- How many passengers will you typically be driving around with?
Can you see the service history?
In an ideal world, the car you’re buying will come with a full service record, including dealer stamps. If you can’t see a service history, it’s difficult to know how the car has held up and how well it has been treated. If there is no service history available, that might be a reason to doubt the car or at least take a closer look.
Make sure you look for certain things when buying a used car.
Can you see the MOT certificates?
Any car over 3 years old must have a valid MOT. If you want to double check the validity of the MOT document, you can cross-reference the certificate with information recorded online at https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-status-vehicle.
How many miles on the odometer?
The miles a car has done is directly linked to the value of the car, as it shows how much wear and tear it has experienced. Reading the odometer can give you a good idea of the true value of the vehicle and let you know whether it’s worth the asking price. Unfortunately there is always the risk that the odometer might have been tampered with or altered; if you have any doubt about the odometer’s reading, you can double check it by cross-referencing mileage in the service history and MOT.
Are there are any parts of the car that are don’t work or are tricky to work?
Although a sticky door handle or temperamental lights might not be too detrimental to the overall functionality of the car, it can be a real annoyance and something of a hassle with everyday use. It’s therefore good to ask if there is anything about the car you need to know before buying it. If you feel that it’s a minor annoyance that won’t bother you too much then you might be able to get the car at a lower value and snag a bargain.
Is there any rust or any gaps in the paintwork?
If there are imperfections with the paintwork the car’s value should be lowered. It’s good to inspect the car to check for yourself that the paintwork is intact. On the other hand, if you aren’t too picky and have seen a spot where the paintwork has been redone to cover up a scratch or imperfection, it might be nothing more than an aesthetic flaw and can be used as ammunition for haggling to get a better deal.
Can you attain an independent inspection?
An important question to ask the dealer is whether or not you can have an independent inspection carried out before buying. An honest dealer (e.g. Roy Chapman - used car dealers) will have no qualms about having another professional confirm their claims. However, if the dealer appears at all hesitant at the suggestion, which should immediately be a red flag and you might want to doubt the authenticity of the information being provided about the car.
Make sure the person selling it is reliable.
Buying a used car can be a great idea for getting a good deal on a vehicle, especially if you’re working on a budget. But you should always ask a few questions before committing to buy. Although there are undoubtedly other questions which will help you in the decision-making process, the ones listed here are a good place to start.