Buying a used car has several advantages that a new car doesn't, such as being less expensive, and you can often get a variety of extra features that you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford with a new car. Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to buying a vehicle from a used car dealership. The primary disadvantage is that you may not know exactly what the condition of the vehicle is until after you buy it. When shopping for a used car, it is important to remember that although most car dealers may be knowledgeable and friendly; their primary goal is to make a sale. Before you rush into making a purchase, there are a few questions you should ask the dealer.
Where Did The Vehicle Come From?
Whether the vehicle was a trade in or they picked it up at an auction, a used car dealership should always be able to provide you with information about who they bought the vehicle from. If the vehicle came from an auction, make sure to ask the dealer to see an inspection report from a qualified mechanic. If the vehicle was a trade-in or purchased from a private seller, make sure to ask if they were the original owner and if not, how many previous owners had the vehicle.
How Many Miles Does it Have?
Taking a look at the odometer may give provide the mileage, but it doesn't tell you if they are original miles, if the motor has been replaced or if there were damages to the odometer that interfered with it registering the correct mileage. It's also important to ask how the vehicle was used. For example, did the previous owner use it for long commutes or was it frequently driven in the city; keep in mind that stop-and-go driving is often harder on the motor and other parts, such as the brakes.
Do You Have Any of the Service Records?
Like any other machine, automobiles require regular maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. If the previous owner took good care of the vehicle, he or she may have kept some or all of the service and repair records. This could include everything from oil changes and brake repairs to new tires and service at the dealership. As long as they have these records, car dealers shouldn't have a problem sharing some of this information with you.
Do You Provide a Vehicle History Report?
Many used car dealerships now offer vehicle history reports with most sales. This report typically contains information about accident history, title information, odometer readings, service, and repair information. If the dealer refuses to offer you a history, it may be best to look elsewhere for a vehicle. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that while a history report is an ideal way to find out information about the vehicle's history, the report will not have information about how the vehicle was driven. For example, if the previous driver frequently floored the accelerator and/or was notorious for slamming on the brakes, so the report will not tell you if there may be potential problems resulting from the previous owners driving habits.
Always test drive any vehicle you are thinking about buying. If possible, ask the dealer if you can take the vehicle overnight for a test drive, this will give you more time to drive the vehicle on both the highway and in the city. The more time you have to test drive, the more time you have to ensure the vehicle is running like it should and that it is the best vehicle option for you.