Second-hand cars are a great option and cheaper than new cars — but the process of buying one is also a little different, and not so straight forward as buying a brand new car. Here are 6 key questions to ask a dealer or a private seller.
Why Are You Selling The car?
When dealing with a private seller, this is a good chance to get to know them and understand why they are selling. You should be able to tell if the seller is upfront and honest, or if they are being evasive or struggling to answer. If you are not confident in their answers, trust your gut and be prepared to move on to other options or proceed with extra caution.
How Long Have You Owned The Car?
The longer someone owns a car, the more they know and can tell you about it. If someone’s been driving their car for years without many problems, it’s a sign of good reliability. But if someone is trying to sell a car after owning it for only a few months, dig a little deeper to make sure the seller isn’t just trying to offload a lemon on you.
If you’re buying from a dealer, ask them where they got the car from and information about ownership history.
Can I See The Service Logbooks?
These records should be available especially for newer second-hand cars that still have a new-car warranty or not long out of it. It is the best way of knowing if the scheduled servicing of the car has been properly maintained and is up to date.
Someone who keeps good records of their vehicle’s service history (especially if it also includes repairs or work done outside the servicing schedule) are likely to have taken better care of the car.
Can I Get It Inspected By A Third Party?
It is always worth considering taking it to a trusted mechanic for an independent evaluation, especially if you’re not confident in your own inspection skills.
Sellers have a natural incentive to hide or gloss over known defects. So ask them if they mind letting you get it inspected. If they are reluctant or refuse, it’s a sign there might be something they may not want you to know about.
Can I Take The Car For A Test Drive?
The only way to really know if you’re comfortable with a car is by sitting in that driver’s seat and taking it out on the road to see how the car feels and performs in the real world.
Take note of things like whether gear changes are smooth, braking response, and listen out for strange noises while driving (might indicate some problem to check out).
Sellers usually expect you to ask for a test drive, so this shouldn’t be a problem. But I would definitely think twice about buying a car from someone that refuses to let you do one.
Can You Give A Better Price?
Now the final step – always negotiate and ask the seller if can give you a better price. List all the problems you have found during your inspection and use them to negotiate a lower offer.
Do some research beforehand of the market value, so you can tell if you’re being ripped off (eg. know how much a 2018 Mazda BT-50 is going for on the market).
Ask the dealer what their cash price for the second-hand car is. Some dealers try to make money off the financing, but in almost any market, cash should get you a lower price.
So there we have it, 6 questions to ask the dealer or a private seller and help you avoid any heartache or regret when buying a Used Car.