The 5 Questions You Need To Ask When Buying A Used Car


Unless you have the riches of a footballer, you may not have the means to buy the fanciest new car from the showroom. It sucks, but especially as parents, we need to be wise with our cash and buy according to our means. You could go for something new on hire purchase, but quite often it’s possible to buy a decent used car at an attractive price. You do need to ask the right questions of the seller though, as you don’t want to be driving a mechanical death trap.

The next time you think about buying a used car, these are the questions we think you should be asking.

Can my mechanic give it the once over?

If you don’t know the first thing about cars, then you need somebody at hand who can check the motor over and give you a professional opinion. There may be nothing wrong with it, but at least you will have the peace of mind. If you buy the car on a whim, the next question you need to ask is ‘should I book a service’? Despite the car owner’s assurances, you need to make sure the car is roadworthy, and if not, you need to return the car back to the place it came from, pronto. Again, see a trusted mechanic for advice.

Can I go for a test drive?

Your car needs to fit you like a (driving) glove. If you don’t feel comfortable driving it, you should probably look elsewhere. Are the seats comfortable? How does the steering wheel feel to the touch? How nippy is it? These aren’t essential questions you need to ask yourself, but it may inform your decision. More importantly, of course, a test drive will also give you some indicators of how roadworthy the car is. If there are any peculiar noises while you’re driving, or if something isn’t working on the dashboard, you need to get these fixed before you part with your hard-earned money.

3. Can I see the service history?

The owner should have a record of past maintenance, so you need to have a gander at it. If the list of repair jobs is longer than your arm, then you know the car isn’t worth the purchase. You will only end up sinking more money into the vehicle, and the only way you will be able to get rid of it is to sell it for scrap.

Why are you selling the car?

This isn’t a question you should ask an actual car salesman (you will look rather foolish), but when buying from a private seller, this is a perfectly valid question. There may be a good reason for the sale, but if the owner starts to look shifty and sweat starts seeping from his brow, you know something isn’t right. Either the car has problems, or the owner has a bad case of the squits and needs you off his drive as soon as possible.

Will you accept a lower offer?

So you have given the car the once over, and everything seems fine. Now it’s time to open your wallet and splash your cash. However, before you part with your money, ask the seller if he will consider a lower offer. When buying a car, a little bit of haggling is expected, and you may be able to knock some dosh off the asking price. Heck, they may even throw in a few extras too, like a new set of car mats if you aren’t impressed with the ones already in it. Be bold, stand your ground, and get the best deal you possibly can.

They are only some of the questions you need to be asking, but you can probably think of more. It’s better to be safe than sorry when buying a used car, so if there is anything niggling away at the back of your mind, ask the burning questions before you sign anything. Good luck!


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