Buying a Used Car: Questions to Ask the Seller

There’s obviously an element of risk when buying a used car and as the buyer, it’s your job to minimize that risk. The history of the vehicle is something to investigate (most cars have this information in the rear section of the owner’s manual), plus a good inspection is in order and you should prepare a list of questions for the seller.

Here are a few typical questions,

  • “What do you know about the car?” This is a cue for the seller to tell you about the car’s history; how long they have had the car and what they might have changed or replaced.
  • “Do you have all the servicing paperwork?” Every car owner would keep all paperwork regarding repair and service, as they understand the importance when the times comes to sell. If you have yet to source the perfect car, you can find a used car in Saint John NB with a quick Google search and when you find a vehicle that looks promising, arrange for a private viewing.
  • “Is there anything I should know?” This is an open-ended question that gives the seller an opportunity to talk about the car. They might say, ‘she drives great’ or ‘best car I’ve ever had’ and most sellers use this to start showing you the features of the car. If you ask a dealer this question, he will interpret it as ‘what’s wrong with the car’
  • “It’s a bit pricey, what can you do for me?” This is like making an offer, only you are putting the ball firmly in their court and the seller will either drop their price a little or mention this is not negotiable. You are telling the seller that you want to buy and this should put you close to a deal.
  • “Can I see the owner’s manual?” This is not to be confused with the car registration, the owner’s manual stays with the car throughout its life and it contains all the service history, with stamps from the garage that did the work.
  • “Can I take her for a drive?” The seller would normally go with you as a passenger, but if you are leaving your car, many will hand you the keys. The only way to get a feel for the machine is to drive it, testing the engine power, steering, handling and brakes, while also making sure all the little things work.

The above are just a few examples and if you are not mechanically minded, hire a local mechanic to accompany you and inspect the vehicle.

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