Buying a car is an experience in itself. If you’re someone who has little knowledge about cars, this experience might be intimidating for you. When shopping for a car – whether new or used – a bit of research can get you far. In some cases, the need to buy a car is more of a necessity rather than a luxury. If you’re looking to score good prices, you can try buying a used car from dealerships. However, you have to make sure you ask these questions before buying one to avoid future headaches:
- How much work are you willing to do?
The best way to find good deals is by scouring every place you can find. It’s isn’t always a good idea to go with the first car dealer you see. Use the Internet to find car deals in neighboring cities. For example, if you’re living in Clovis, California, you can try hitting up some Fresno car dealerships to find a better deal. The more you stretch out your search, the more choices you have.
This question is more directed towards yourself rather than the dealer, but it’s a crucial question as it answers how much time and money you’re willing to put into this. If you’re not going to have enough time to put in the work, you might not be able to find great deals. If your budget is also limited, your search may even take some time.
- What can you tell me about the car’s maintenance?
You must ensure that the dealership has a list of the repairs made on the car. They should also have a history of the car’s maintenance. This is a piece of vital information in selecting a car because you don’t want to spend money on a vehicle that will constantly require fixing.
You can also use online services such as Carfax to pull out the car’s report history. Match the document you get from the website with what the dealer has provided and check if they match.
Here are two good reasons why you need to check a car’s maintenance history:
- To check the cost of maintenance – Buying a used car means it’ll require more maintenance. Oil changes will be more frequent, engine noises will be more apparent, or the radiator will need more cleaning. Knowing the cost of maintenance ahead of time will help you decide.
- To check the cost of repairs – There will be parts that will need to be replaced, maybe not immediately but eventually. Some car models will have a slightly higher repair cost because their parts are difficult to find or the cost of labor for that car brand is more expensive.
- Can my car mechanic inspect the car?
The only acceptable answer to this question is a resounding yes. If otherwise, you’re better off looking for another used car dealership. There will be cars that will catch your attention just because they look pretty on the outside. Superficial appearances can trick people into thinking that they’re getting a car without any problems. A car mechanic will be your second set of eyes, and they can perform a closer inspection of the vehicle.
Having a mechanic with you when viewing vehicles can also help with the following:
- Enables you to save money – Some car dealers will inflate car prices just because the car looks and feels brand new. A mechanic can check if the price reflects what’s under the hood. If your mechanic sees anything out of the ordinary, they can help with the negotiation and lowering the cost of the vehicle.
- Provides an honest review – Your mechanic should be comfortable when talking to you about problems you may encounter with the car once you purchase it. They will also be able to tell you whether the car dealer is lying to you. For example, a car salesperson may tell you that the parts used are all high quality, but a closer look by a mechanic reveals that the previous owner used cheap car parts.
- Keeps your emotion in check – People are often lured into buying a car because of feelings. A mechanic by your side can help you make a sensible choice and get over your emotions.
- Can I take it out for a test drive?
Stay away from car dealers that don’t offer test drives. More than asking for a test drive, ask how long you can take it for a spin. A good rule of thumb is driving the car around for 30 minutes. This amount of time will help you gauge if the vehicle is perfect for your lifestyle and if it runs smooth.
When driving the car, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the vehicle accelerating as I expect it to be?
- How do I feel when I hit the brake?
- Is there unnecessary road noise?
- Will this car handle slippery road during winter?
- Is the ride quality too soft or firm?
- Can I read the gauges properly?
- Is the steering wheel adjustable for better comfort?
- Are the pedals and controls close enough, so I don’t have to stretch?
Some vehicles may look great but feel differently when driven. Always go for a test drive and allocate enough time for it.
Buying a used car from a dealership can be extremely challenging especially if you’re inexperienced. It’s also riskier as you don’t won’t be able to know the full history of the car even with proper documentation. However, with adequate research and by asking the right questions, you can get a clear picture of how the vehicle was used and you can make the right decision.