Questions to ask seller when buying a second hand car

When we buy a used car, we know we have to check out the history report, inspect the car and test drive it. That’s pretty much drilled into anybody with a common sense. One thing that most people don’t consciously prepare for when buying a second hand car is the conversation with the seller which is probably just as important in the process of evaluating a car. I’ve accompanied some friends before to meet with car buyers and I was surprised at how many of them don’t ask much of any questions at all. Here are a few questions you need to make sure to ask and some comments on what kind of answer you’re looking for.

1) How long have you owned the vehicle?

Just a garden variety question. You should also be able to get this information from the history report. Just want to make sure there is not too much of a discrepency.

2) Where do you take the car for a regular oil change and maintenance?

If the seller struggles to name a place quickly or very vague in their answer like, “oh, this mechanic in the neighbourhood”, chances are the car is not maintained on a regular basis and you should be more careful in your inspection. It’ll be great if the seller can provide maintenance records but few people keeps it.

3) Has the vehicle been in an accident?

Unless the car has been in an obvious major accident that you can obviously see, most sellers will just say no for this question. It’s not that the seller is dishonest, it could be some small accident that happened years ago that the seller has likely forgotten. It’s still important to ask this question though because it gives you an idea on how well the seller knows his car. If the seller says the car has never been in an accident but you found obvious paint jobs has been done on the car, this may raise more questions about the seller’s integrity or whether he even own the car.

4) Do you have the vehicle’s title? Is your name on it? If not, who holds the title and why?

You should be dealing with the real owner of the car. If the seller is not the actual owner, you want to know who he is selling it for.

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