The Internet has made shopping for a pre-owned auto infinitely easier by giving buyers access to a wealth of automotive information. Just about anything you want to know about any car on the road can be found online — the operative words being “just about.” Yes, there are still a handful of questions you must get answers to in person. Here are five of them.
1. Who Was The Previous Owner?
You don’t need to know his or her life story, but if the vehicle was a trade-in, there’s a good chance car dealers know something about them. In particular, you will want to ask how they drove the vehicle on a daily basis. Was it used for long commutes or for shorter rides? Did it travel to the city or traverse suburban streets? These questions can help you determine the mechanical state of the automobile. As a general rule, a car that was used for long commutes that involved city driving would be worse shape than one that was use for shorter suburban rides.
2. Can I Take A Long Test Drive?
The chances of you learning everything you need to know about a pre-owned auto in a short spin around the block are nearly nonexistent. To find out how the vehicle performs in the real world, you will want to drive it at varying speeds on a number of different road types and surfaces. While there is no average distance to fulfill those requirements, a thorough test drive should last about half an hour. If a dealer is uncomfortable with a trip that long, it’s probably best to find a more accommodating seller.
3. May I See The Vehicle History Report?
Now that everyone and their grandmother has access to the Internet, there is absolutely no excuse for car dealers refusing to provide this vital document. The only logical explanation is that the automobile was involved in an accident that will show up on the report. Because most buyers are aware of its importance, most sellers will gladly present the report to help them close the deal. But if they do not, make sure you ask to see it before you agree to anything.
4. Do You Have A Return Policy?
The reason the buyer must always beware is that most pre-owned sales are final — and by final, we mean that car dealers are not required to accept returns. With that said, there are some customer friendly dealerships that give buyers a kind of grace period during which they can return a pre-owned auto. In most cases, however, the dealership will not offer a cash refund, but rather another secondhand auto of equal or lesser value. It is important to understand these policies before you buy.
5. Is There A Cash Discount?
Because it lets them avoid a lot of paperwork, some sellers offer a discount to cash-paying customers. The price break might only be about five percent of the total price, but it’s certainly worth asking about. You could find yourself saving a few hundred dollars with this single question.
Use these five questions to get the information you need to make a great deal on a reliable secondhand ride.