If you are buying a used vehicle it can be a daunting process, especially if you are buying privately.
As long as you do your research though it can generally be rewarding, as you’ll be getting the car you want at a price you wish to pay compared to purchasing a new vehicle!
Here are some questions to ask to ensure you avoid buying a lemon and get the used car of your dreams:
1. How long have you owned the car?
Be wary of someone who hasn’t owned the car for long as doesn’t seem to have a legitimate reason for selling so quickly, especially if the car has had a couple of owners before them too. If the owner has owned the car since new for 3+ years then their reason for sale is likely legitimate and a good starting point. A lot of new car buyers sell their car once it is out of the warrant period (3 years generally) and not necessarily because there are any problems, just because they like to update their car on this schedule.
2. Why are you selling the car?
There are many reasons to sell a car; expanding family, upgrading, have a company car – always ask the reason for sale and if the owner takes their time with a response or seems concerned about you asking the question then this may be cause for concern.
3. Does the car have full service history?
If a car has full service history from a qualified mechanic then this is a good sign that the car has been well maintained and will not require any mechanical work any time soon. Remember that it doesn’t necessarily have to be serviced at the dealership as the majority of mechanics are qualified to conduct logbook services. You can always research the mechanic for peace of mind. Although there are no guarantees, regular servicing is the best way to reduce the risk of mechanical car problems.
4. Are there any issues not shown in the photos?
This is an important one to ask before you arrange to see the car. The last thing you want to do is waste your time so if there are any issues, scratches or dings in the car it is best to ask so the seller can be honest with you before you. Car shopping can take up enough time as it is so you want to avoid wasting it!
5. Has the car been in any accidents or had any repairs?
It is important to ask this and get an honest response. For peace of mind and a small fee you can purchase a report online which will tell you if the car has been in any accidents. If you find it has and the owner hasn’t been honest or priced accordingly then that would ring alarm bells.
6. Is there outstanding finance on the vehicle?
The finance of the vehicle will need to be paid off before you purchase it. This is the owner’s responsibility to finalise. Never purchase a vehicle with outstanding finance. It is possible to pay the finance off with your purchase money, and you can discuss this with the financier and the owner.
There are many used vehicles available that are as good as new condition wise so it is a great option if you’re looking for that new car feeling at a fraction of the price!
Although we would like to presume that everyone is honest, the truth is many are not; do your homework, ask as many questions as you need and have a qualified mechanic perform a check on the vehicle before you purchase. This small out of pocket cost could save you a lot of money in the long run!