Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller – Making an Educated Decision

Purchasing your second-hand car from a private seller comes with numerous benefits, including more favorable prices and more easily verifiable track records, yet you must not forget that there are numerous questions to ask when buying a used car this way if you are to make an educated decision.

To be able to obtain the right information, you need to ask the right questions, so in what follows, we would like to present a few of the most important aspects of purchasing from a private seller. Make sure you find out all the important answers about the car and you will be able to complete the transaction with the most favorable conditions and enjoy your asset the way you have planned.

Proof of Ownership

The first thing you need to know before asking any questions about the vehicle itself is whether you are negotiating with the right person. One of the most important questions to ask when buying a used car from a private seller is whether the person you are talking can prove that the car is their property indeed. You should only buy from the owner whose name appears on the registration document of the vehicle.

Requesting the owner to give you the VIN number of the car is also a good way to check ownership. The VIN (vehicle identification number) of the car is the unique code assigned to the vehicle based on which you can identify its history.

The Reason of Selling

The questions to ask when buying a used car must make some reference to the reason for selling. It is possible that the seller wants to get rid of the car because it has some kind of mechanical problem that would be way too expensive to fix. However, when you decide how plausible and convincing the answer is, you will need to rely entirely on your instinct – unless the flaw is evident, there is no way to verify the truth behind the answer.

Questions Related to Usage

Among the questions to ask when buying a used car, you should also find out how long the present owner has been using the vehicle. This is important because the longer he or she has been using it, the more that person knows about the car. Different models have different typical problems and it is important to know whether those typical problems have ever cropped up to be able to judge the quality of the car in question.

Another important question is how much and in what conditions the car has been used. Some owners use their cars only for short distance errands to the neighboring stores, while others use them to commute hundreds of miles a day. Some owners use their cars only in the weekends for short trips and outings, while others use them for off-roading. If the car has been used only in the town, chances are the engine is more worn than in the case of vehicles used for longer distances, but long distance driving wears the tires more.

Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car Related to History, Actual Condition and Mileage

questionThough you can find out a lot about the car based on its VIN, it is still recommended to include enquiries about the car’s history among the questions to ask when buying a used car. You need to find out whether the vehicle has been involved in any accidents – major events count just as much as minor fender benders – and whether there is any major part of it that has been replaced.

You should also ask about any other major repairs or services that the car needed as well as about the garage that performed the repair. This later question is important because not all mechanics have the same level of professional knowledge, which creates differences in the quality of the repairs performed as well.

You also need to find out about the actual state of repair of the car and your questions to ask when buying a used car must include inquiry about the mileage on the odometer as well. Note down the mileage the owner tells you and compare the actual figures displayed when you go to see the vehicle – if the two don’t match, just walk away from the deal because it means the seller is not to be trusted.

Extra Features

Car prices vary depending on the extras on the cars, too. Among the questions to ask when buying a used car, you should enquire about exactly what extras the car is equipped with to be able to decide whether you need those extras. Don’t get fooled into buying something you don’t need – make a list of the extras you are looking for and don’t pay for anything you will not use.

Test Drives and Independent Inspections

Buying a car is a major investment, so you must not commit to the purchase unless you are perfectly sure the car you have found is really what you have been looking for. Whatever the current owner tells you about the car, you need to test the car and also to have it inspected by your own mechanic.

When you are finished with the above-mentioned questions to ask when buying a used car, you should start discussing the conditions of the test drive. You must aim for at least a ride 30 minutes long – this is the timeframe that allows you to test the car among various road conditions, at high speeds and low speeds alike.

Having your own mechanic inspect the vehicle is also important because you need an independent, impartial, expert opinion to help you decide, especially if you are not a car expert. If the seller hesitates to allow you to take the car to an independent mechanic, it should raise your suspicion that maybe his or her answers about the vehicle are not entirely honest.

If you put together a check list with all the questions to ask when buying a used car prior to contacting any private owners, you will surely be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the vehicle you are interested in; just make sure you do your homework right and you will be able to get the car that suits all your requirements.