Can You Verify The Cars Mileage
Its important to know how many miles a used vehicle has driven in its life. Mileage is a good indication of how much wear and tear a car has suffered and will affect its value. Unfortunately, this can lead dishonest sellers to commit the illegal practice of clocking . You can verify how well used a car is by looking back through old MOT test results online, which record the mileage at the time of test as well as any test failures or advisory notes.Applies to: Used cars.
Is The Car Certified And Ready To Register
Some states and counties have strict emissions standards and you canât register a car that hasnât passed a smog test. Others also require a safety inspection before you can register your car. The dealership should have these certifications completed and ready to go so all you have to do is hit up the DMV afterward.
If the car isnât certified, find out why. It could be that the car just came in on trade and the certification hasnât been done yet. But if the dealer is trying to sell the car âas-is,â be a little waryâit may be a sign the vehicle cant be certified without costly repairs theyre unwilling to take on.
Has The Car Been Written Off
Sometimes, if a car has sustained damage due to a crash, flood or vandalism, the insurer can decide to write it off if its not financially viable to repair.
If the car is considered to have been so badly damaged that it should never be returned to the road, itll have been recorded as a Category A or Category B total loss. Category A cars have to be crushed in their entirety, while Category B cars may be stripped for usable parts.
If a car has been recorded as a Category S or Category N write-off, it can legally be repaired and put back on the road, providing its previous status as a write-off is declared to the buyer – any cars declared prior to 1st October 2017 will instead carry a Category D or Category C label. These cars can be quite attractively priced and can therefore be good value if the repairs have been done properly but it can be hard to tell just how well the work has been carried out, and if it isnt up to scratch, safety could be compromised.
Should I buy an insurance write-off? Cat C, Cat D, Cat S and Cat N car explained
The previous owner of a Cat S or Cat N car should have sent off for a replacement vehicle registration document , which will be updated to display a record of the car having been written off and what category its in. All documentation concerning the repair work should ideally be made available to you too.
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Have There Been Any Recent Repairs
Recent repairs don’t always indicate a problem. While lots of repairs can suggest a careless past owner, high-quality repairs can also display a vehicle that’s been well cared for.
Be sure to enquire about any recent repairs, and ask for the reasons behind them if possible, to better understand the condition the car.
What Other Items Are Included With The Sale
A car usually comes with more than just a key. Ask the seller what extras are included. You may be surprised to find that a seller has valuable items theyve either forgotten to disclose or may have forgotten about entirely. At the very least, youll want every key the seller has plus the owners manual, but you may also find that a seller has tucked a cargo cover, extra floor mats, CD changer cartridges and even seasonal wheels and tires.
If only one key fob is included or the seller has lost the manual, you can use those as bargaining points since youll likely want to replace them anyway. Consider finding the retail price of common items such as keys, manuals, roof rack crossbars and cargo covers ahead of time just in case.
Dealerships will generally have everything in the car, though its still worth asking them if theres anything missing that theyve tucked away.
Questions To Ask When Seeing The Car In Person
Once you have narrowed down your used car options and have the answers to the questions above, you are ready to view your cars of interest in person! Being able to see, sit in, and drive the car will make or break your decision to buy.
If a seller ever declines to let you test drive or view the maintenance and vehicle history of the car, you should take that as a big red flag and consider taking your business elsewhere!
Could I Have The Vehicle Inspected By My Mechanic
This is a great final step in your questioning process, but be sure to only ask if you are certain you want the vehicle pending the inspection results. It can be a great way to figure out the dealers confidence in the vehicle and having a trusted set of eyes check the vehicle over can assure you that youre getting what you pay for.
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Things To Look Out For In A Cars Interior
- Strange or unusual smells: unwanted moisture can lead to mold
- Check the seatbelt functionality
- Look for water stains on or underneath the carpet if it looks like it has been replaced or switched out, this may be a sign of flood damage
- See if any dashboard or warning lights are illuminated
- Test sound system, AC and heat
Are There Any Mechanical Problems
Lets take a look under the hoodeven if you dont really know what youre looking at. Heres a pro tip: The engine is the main thing you want to check out. Make sure the engine compartment is clean with no leaking fluids . Youll also want to be sure the car will pass a smog and safety inspection that a lot of states require.
P.S. If youre not sure of all the ins and outs under the hood, bring along a friend or family member who knows those things. Chances are, theyd be happy to help you out, and youll feel better knowing youve got an extra set of eyes there.
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What Bells And Whistles Do I Want
Now you know your budget and what class of vehicle you want. Time to ask what features you need. If a third pedal on the floor is a must-have, then it could limit where youre shopping. Same goes for tech features. If you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, then keep in mind a few cars and trucks still lack those features. Or you might need to get the top-trim model, and that might be out of your price range.
Cars are adding safety tech too. If you want active cruise control, lane guidance, and self-parking, then make sure youre looking at vehicles that offer those features. Keep in mind that certain classes of vehicles might not offer what you want. Like a power drivers seat in a subcompact hatchback. Or self-parking on a one-tonne pickup.
Q: Am I Happy With The Condition
It is inevitable that a used car will have been subject to wear and tear, so it is down to you, the buyer, to thoroughly check the vehicle and make sure you are happy with it. Things to check include the lights, doors, air con and if there is there a spare wheel, jack and other tools. Once you have bought the vehicle, you cannot receive a refund if you become unhappy with a feature that has suffered wear and tear.
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How Did You Determine The Cars Price
Once you are ready to make an offer, its important to figure out how the price was determined. Some people randomly choose a number that feels right to them, or they are looking for the amount needed to pay off the loan.
However, you dont want to pay more than a vehicle is worth. Its best to run the vehicle through an online pricing guide, such as whats offered by Kelly Blue Book, to ensure you are getting a good deal.
What Is The Mileage On The Odometer
Asking about the mileage on the car can give you a great inclination of the overall wear-and-tear and depreciation and value of the vehicle. Say youre looking at a five-year-old crossover with 124,000 miles on its odometer. If your alarm bells arent ringing, they should be. Thats because the value of any used vehicle is based on how many miles are left on the car.
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Dont Get Buyers Remorse Ask The Right Questions
Buying a car that you ultimately dont want or that wasnt in the best condition to begin with is never something you want to happen. Many people buy car, new and used, that they thought were a great deal or exactly what they wanted only to find out later on that they should have done a little more research before pulling the trigger.
How Old Is The Car
Thanks to depreciation, most new cars lose 60% of their value after five years.3 So, if you bought a new car for $30,000 five years ago, its only worth about $12,000 now. You can use the cars ageand how that make and model loses value over timeto your advantage when youre negotiating for a better price.
So, do your homework before you drive up to the dealership or meet with that seller from Craigslist. That way, youll know if their sticker price is legit or just straight-up crazy.
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What Are The Financing Terms
Maybe you negotiated an amazing price, or so it seems. But itâs less about the sticker price and more about affordability when you finance it. In the United States, more than 85% of car shoppers finance a car, so odds are you arenât paying that amazing price you negotiated outright. Ask what interest rate you qualify for and over how many months. Compare that to your budget.
Be aware of any cash rebates available, too. For many people, paying in cash really means securing a loan with a slightly higher interest rate from a bank and handing the dealer a check. But even at a higher interest rate, its possible the cash rebate saves you money in the long run.
Is There A Spare Tire In The Car
This is something that many drivers take for granted, but avoiding the question could be disastrous if you have a problem. Make sure there is a working spare tire and jack included with the car.
If the owner had a previous flat, the tire might have been used and never been replaced. In this case, you might be able to knock the price down a little, so you can purchase a new spare.
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Can I Have An Independent Pre
Mechanics and dealerships will typically charge a modest fee to go over a car in detail for an hour or two and perform a test drive. These experts have experience with dozens, if not hundreds, of nearly identical cars, and their knowledge is invaluable.
Specialists will be able to hook specialized hardware to a car to read for any fault codes, so ask the shop before you agree to take the car there. Some higher-performance cars also store even more data that can point to how the car was driven, which is valuable information to have.
Typically, buyers pay for a pre-purchase inspection. If a seller balks at having their car inspected, they may have something to hide.
What To Ask When Buying A Car
Some questions only apply to used car purchases, while others are only for buying new. Your queries will differ if youâre buying privately or if youâre buying from a dealership. Regardless of which car youâre shopping for or where you intend to buy, below are the best questions to ask when buying a carâany car.
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Does The Car Have Service History Can I See The Relevant Paperwork For This
This will hopefully prove whether or not the last two answers you received were honest. You will be paying out thousands of euro for this vehicle, so ensuring it has a history of being looked after in the best possible way proves reliability. You are essentially looking for a consistent history of care.
Does The Car Have A Current Mot And Service History
If the cars more than three years old, youll need to check if it has a current MOT. This will give you a good idea of how roadworthy it is, and whether there are any latent issues that might need your attention. If you have the cars registration number, you can check the MOT history of vehicles on the Governments website. Check that there is a record of the cars service history. This will be kept up to date and stamped when any service takes place.
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Does It Meet Your Needs
Ask yourself how you will be using the car. Is it for city driving? In that case, you probably want something small and easy to park. Will you be taking it on dirt roads or sand? If so, you will need a 4WD. Will you have children or regular back seat passengers? Opt for something more spacious and be sure to sit in the rear seats yourself to check that theyre comfortable. Do you need lots of room in the boot for lugging prams, bikes, travel luggage or golf clubs? Bring these items along to make sure they fit. Choose a car that not only suits you now but for the next five years or so when you might start thinking about trading it in.
What Are The Car’s Safety Features
It is becoming more and more critical for car shoppers to become knowledgeable about advanced safety systems and make sure any car they are considering has the technology they want, said John Vincent, senior reporter for U.S. News Best Cars. Different automakers call systems, such as automatic emergency braking, by different names, which can be confusing and leads to buying mistakes.
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How Long Does The Warranty Last And What Does It Cover
In theory, having a warranty means your car will be repaired free of charge if it goes wrong. But not all warranties are equal. The best come from the car manufacturers themselves on new and approved used cars and last up to seven years. If you are buying a used car from a dealer not associated with the cars brand , ask what the warranty does and doesnt include. It may also be worth considering taking out an extended warranty.Applies to: New and used cars.
What Should You Not Say When Buying A Car
Eliminating the following statements when you buy a car can help you negotiate a better deal. I love this car! Ive got to have a monthly payment of $350. My lease is up next week. I want $10,000 for my trade-in, and I wont take a penny less. Ive been looking all over for this color. Information is power.
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Is There Any Warranty
Unless you are buying the used car from a dealership, its unlikely that you will get any type of warranty. You will agree to buy the car as-is with no protection.
However, newer cars might still be covered by the factory warranty. If this is the case, you want to know how to transfer this warranty, if possible, and how much coverage is left.
What Are The Warranty Details
Finding out what the new car warranty covers and its duration are important steps in the car-buying journey. Most brands offer a three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty, which offers the classic bumper-to-bumper coverage, and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which covers the engine, transmission and drive axle. Both begin when the first owner buys the car. Warranty coverage can vary by manufacturer and even by model, which is why its important to ask the salesperson to explain the warranty coverage to you.
A lifetime warranty offered by the dealership can be a gimmick to get customers in the door, and its generally a waste of money. These types of lifetime warranties are designed so very few people will be able to make claims on them, as they only cover the parts that are least likely to break, and set strict maintenance and record requirements.
Once you establish what kind of warranties your new car comes with, ask about authorized repair facilities close to your house. Many warranties require that repairs are done only at dealerships or mechanic shops that they partner with. Repairs done by non-approved facilities may not be covered. If the closest repair facility is the dealership you just drove two hours to reach, that may play into your choice of vehicle.
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Does The Car Have A Full Service History
A service history helps you ascertain what kind of a life a car has had and ensure that all maintenance has been carried out to schedule. Ideally, a car will have all its service records, MOT history and all the necessary stamps in its logbook. Ask a dealer specifically if the car has a full service history rather than a part service history. If its only the latter , you could have trouble selling the car again in the future.Applies to: Used cars.