Buying a used car comes with a lot of unknowns, and along with those unknowns, comes stress. Fortunately, simply by asking the right questions, you can avoid both the stress and the unknowns. Here are some great questions that will help you stay informed as you consider buying a car.
1. Where did you buy the vehicle from? Was it a trade in?
These questions can help give you an idea of where the car came from geographically and why its previous owner no longer has it. In addition, if you are buying from a dealer and that car originally came from that dealer, there is a good chance they have the service records.
2. How many miles are on the odometer?
There’s no reason for the seller not to give this to you. If he or she refuses, it’s a major red flag. In addition, when buying from a dealership they should provide you with documents noting that the odometer has not been turned back.
3. Is this the original paint?
If a car has been re-painted it can be indicative of repairs. While repairs aren’t necessarily bad in a used car, they may suggest the presence of chronic issues that you won’t want to address if you own the car.
4. Has the oil been changed frequently?
Again, if the car originally came from the dealer, you can find out about some, if not all, of its service history. If not, ask if the owner has some service records you can see. When you’re looking at a prospective buy, always check the oil yourself. It should be clean and free from any tan foam. Tan foam is usually coolant which is a bad sign. Likewise, fuel in the oil can be an indication of bad rings, valves, or seals.
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