10 Important Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car

The Gawker Media-owned car weblog Jalopnik asked readers to contribute the 10 most important questions to ask when buying a used car as part of their daily “Answers of the Day” segment. The 10 best questions published on October 19, 2011 were:

10. Is this the original paint? — New paint could indicate car was rusting or involved in a previous accident.  9. Can I check the oil? — An “earmark for trouble with a used car,” Jalopnik says, look for water, fuel, or foam in the oil.

8. Can you put this on the lift? — This will allow you to check for leaks or rust, but furthermore, you know there is something amiss if the dealer will not let you do this.

7. Why are you selling it? — It is “a question that openly invites the seller to lie to you,” Jalopnik says, but it will still put the seller on the spot.

6. Who was the previous owner? — The more you know about the history of the vehicle, the more comfortable you will be. You can also learn a lot from how a dealer reacts if you ask for a phone number of the previous owner.

5. Do you have the title in hand? — An important issue that can cause larger problems later if overlooked.

4. Can I take it for a test drive? — One of the most telling parts of the process, you should most certainly walk away if the seller refuses.

3. Can I see the Carfax? — Or at least see some similar type of vehicle history report, and be sure you have obtained the right VIN number to avoid a mix-and-match.

2. Can I see the maintenance history? — While you should not expect to see an complete service record history, insufficient information from the seller here will probably affect your decision on whether or not to purchase the vehicle.

1. Can I take this to my mechanic? — This is essentially a must. A refusal from the seller should equate to a refusal to give any further thought toward purchasing the vehicle.

Many instances of auto dealership fraud involve sellers taking advantage of consumers who do not perform due diligence beforehand. If you believe that a car dealer violated California lemon law in your last purchase or you need help getting out of a car contract, contact our office today to set up a free consultation with one of our California lemon law lawyers.