When buying a car, you may be wondering about questions to ask a car dealer. Whether this is your first trip to a dealership or you are a seasoned veteran, there are a few things to know before you go. It is okay and a good thing to ask questions about the vehicles. They can be general or very specific, but don't be afraid to ask questions regardless of your automobile knowledge level. You can also bring someone with you for more confidence at the lot.
General Questions to Ask
According to Esurance, there are a few questions you can ask whether you are buying new or used:
- Is the car on the lot? If you have been looking at a vehicle online, ask to see that specific model and trim level.
- What is the actual price? This goes beyond the sticker price. Ask for the cost with all of the fees and things included.
- Does it have any aftermarket equipment? This is important for used vehicles. Are there any extras added that don't come with a base model?
- What is the mileage? How many times has it been test driven?
- What are acceptable payment terms? You want to make sure the vehicle is going to work for you financially.
- What does the warranty cover and how long is it? The warranty period often varies depending on the dealer and the manufacturer.
Write down all of the answers to these questions, so you can use them to help you make an informed final decision.
Questions to Ask When Looking at Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle has many benefits. Often, you get to enjoy several technological features at a lower price. These vehicles are used but in good condition. There are still several questions you can ask the dealer about your potential new car.
- What vehicles are part of the Certified Pre-Owned or CPO program?
- Does the program cover maintenance or roadside assistance?
- What are the other warranty features? The details vary depending on the manufacturer.
Top Questions to Ask About Used Cars
There is a difference between a vehicle that is certified pre-owned and used. Typically, used cars are not as well inspected by the lot selling the vehicle. According to Driving.ca, you can learn a lot about the vehicle with the following questions before you agree to any paperwork:
- Where did they get the car? Inquire about their source. Did they get it as a trade-in, or was it a demo from a different dealer? Perhaps it was bought at an auction. The source may determine whether you want to continue the deal.
- Can you look at a CarFax report on the vehicle? This unbiased document provides the vehicle's history in terms of damage, accidents, and other things that may not be advertised by the dealer.
- Have they serviced the car? How long ago was it last maintained? Cars that sit for an extended period can develop unseen problems. When was the last time their mechanics looked at the car? Ask for a copy of any service records to be included in the car once you buy it.
- Can you take it for an extended test drive? You want to make sure you are comfortable with the vehicle. Ask if you take it for an extended test drive, or keep it overnight. If they agree, stick around the lot. If the salesperson doesn't seem to agree, you can walk before a deal is even started. The reason for the test is to make sure the car fits your needs and your lifestyle.
- What are your financing options? Ask if the dealer offers in-house financing, or if are you required to secure it from a third-party such as your bank.
- Are there any discounts available if you buy with cash? Do they offer any other types of special discounts?
- Will they accept your current car as a trade-in? If you deal with a new car dealership, they'll often take your current car and use its value as part of the final deal for your new car. Ask the used car lot if they'll honor the same idea.
Specific Features to Ask About
When you buy a new car, there are certain things, such as a good set of tires and a jack, that you expect to come with the car. However, when you are looking at a used vehicle, these features may or may not be included. According to Auto Gravity, there are several things you can ask:
- How many people have owned the car before now?
- Has it passed all of the required emissions tests for your state?
- What is the current mileage?
- How do the tires and brakes look? When were they changed last and in what order?
- Ask to see a copy of the maintenance schedule and history.
- Does the vehicle have any current recalls? Did all past recalls get addressed?
- Ask to see a copy of the CarFax report to look for an accident or flood history.
- Has it been repainted, and why?
- Where is the spare tire and jack?
- Does it have pet or smoke damage?
- What is the warranty?
Things to Consider Before You Buy A Car
There are a few financial and long term questions to consider before sign the bottom line.
- Where is the purchase agreement, and what is in it?
- What does the warranty cover?
- What does the long term maintenance look like? Every car needs routine service to stay in peak condition. How much is the routine going to cost you? How does that fit in your budget?
- Is the price on the paperwork the best your dealer can do? Are there any ways to get it any lower?
- What dealer fees are in the final price? Dealers often charge documentation, delivery, and other charges. Make sure you understand each cost and ask questions if something is confusing.
- What are the financing terms for the deal?
Buying a car is an important and long term commitment. Ask all the questions necessary for your comfort before signing the bottom line.
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