Common sense tells you it’s important to thoroughly check out any vehicle you intend to buy. The last thing you want is to pay thousands of dollars for a set of problems someone else is trying to get rid of. Some things to ask your dealer before you even consider buying it.
Ask “How many miles does it have?”
If the mileage is too high, maybe higher than 20,000 per year or lower than 5,000, ask why. A high mileage car used on a long highway commute is better than if it did lots of short trips or stop and go driving. Still, take any these were all highway miles assert with a grain of salt. Low mileage is nice, but you still don’t know how it was taken care of.
Ask “How is it equipped?”
Whether they’re listed in the ad or not, ask about key features: transmission type; A/C; antilock brakes; airbags; audio system; power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors; cruise control; and so forth. Double-checking on those could produce some telling comments.
Ask “What’s the car’s condition?”
Start broad and see where the seller takes it. He or she could bring up something you wouldn’t have thought to ask about.
Important!!! Ask “Has it been in an accident?”
If yes, ask about the the damage, the cost of repairs, and the shop that repaired it. Dont worry too much about minor scrapes, but think twice about a car that was in a serious crash.
Ask “Do you have service records?”
You want a car that was cared for. It should have had maintenance performed at regular manufacturer specified intervals. Be cynical if the owner claims to have done the maintenance but can not produce any receipts. Ask for receipts for any new muffler, brakes, tires, or another wear parts that have been replaced. Repair shop receipts usually note the cars odometer reading, helping you verify the cars history.
Ask “Has the car been recalled?”
Ask if any safety-recall work was performed or, more important, still needs to be done. Dealerships keep records of that. Note the mileage when work was performed.