Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car | Dick Hannah

What to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Posted February 4, 2016

For those who want to save money, purchasing a used car can be a great option. There are a variety of options that can accommodate nearly any budget. However, used cars often come in varying conditions, which makes the buying process rather tricky. No one wants to drive off the lot with a lemon. For that reason, it’s important that you begin your used car search by answering a few key questions.

Should I buy from a dealer or a private party?

Buying a Used Car

While you can sometimes find a steal when purchasing from a private party, we recommend purchasing from a dealer whenever possible. This is because a dealer is typically more trustworthy than an individual. It’s true that you might pay less when purchasing from a private party, but you risk receiving fraudulent information about the condition of the car.

A dealer has their reputation to worry about, which means they’re much more inclined to be honest with you. In addition, they have financing options, which can be great for those with poor credit. You can also purchase an extended warranty, and you generally don’t have to deal with registration. Also, you can usually trade in your existing car and put that money towards the car you’re looking to purchase.

Finally, high-quality dealerships offer warranties with all their used vehicles, unlike private party sellers who generally don’t have the power to transfer a warranty to you. This warranty often includes a no-questions-asked return policy on all vehicles, giving the purchaser between three and five days to make sure they’re comfortable with their purchase.

How can I find a trusted dealership?

Trusted Car Dealership

The quickest, easiest way to know you’re working with a trusted dealership is to look at online reviews. For example, when you search Dick Hannah Dealerships, you’ll see 4.5 star ratings (or better) for all of our locations. You can also ask any dealership you’re considering doing business with for references to get an idea of previous customer experiences.

Another great method would be to do your research on several reputable companies like Google, Cars.com, Edmunds, and DealerRater. These websites specialize in giving accurate ratings and reviews for dealerships in your areas.

Checking other business sources like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can tell you a lot about a business as well. This will show you their philanthropic efforts, how they give back to the community, and other valuable information. Resources like the BBB are a good indicator of customer friendliness and if the dealership aligns itself with your values or not.

How should I prepare to visit a dealer?

Purchasing a Used Car

The quality of salesmen can be hit and miss with dealerships. Some car salesmen are paid on commission, which increases the chance that they’ll use sales tactics to get you to purchase a car, even if you don’t have all your questions asked first. Others are just poorly trained, leaving you feeling confused and wary during your visit.

The best dealerships want you to leave the lot with a car you love, but they don’t know exactly what you’re looking for if you don’t take the time to prepare ahead of time. If you’re worried about a biased or low quality salesman, try using dealerships like Dick Hannah Honda, who don’t pay their salesmen on commission. We focus on training high quality sales teams that know how to match cars to people. This will be very valuable to you, since more than 60 percent of shoppers purchase a different car than they originally intended, thanks to the knowledge they gained from their salesman.

You can also prepare for your dealership visit by doing your research. Look into the kinds of cars and features you might enjoy owning, and come with that list in tow. You’ll also want to arrive with a price point to follow as well as a general idea of how you’ll finance your purchase. You should come with a list of questions to ask as well.

After you’ve done your research, looked at your finances, and compiled a list of questions, there are a few things you should gather to bring with you when car shopping:

  • Get quotes on insurance if you don’t already have a policy and bring your current ID cards if you do.
  • If you’re planning to trade in your car, bring all keys, manuals, registration, and title to the dealer. You can’t trade a car without the title.
  • Have an acceptable form of payment on hand. Most credit and debit cards have a limit on the daily transaction amount you can make, so personal checks are best.

 

What questions should I ask when looking at a car?

The secret to buying a car that you’ll love is found in asking the right questions. Here are some sample questions you might use.

  • Do you have a clean Carfax history on hand? (This is a record of any damages, maintenance, and repairs that have been performed on the car.)
  • Has it ever been in an accident?
  • Do all the electrical components work? Automatic windows, door locks, windshield wipers, radio, etc.
  • What extra features does it have?
  • Are there any special fees attached when purchasing this vehicle?

 

What are my financing options?

Your specific financing options vary largely based on your current credit history. Creditors will look at things like your payment history, current debt to income ratio, length of credit history, and any negative marks. Dealerships offer financing if your credit isn’t great, but this will likely come with a higher interest rate.

How can I get the best financing?

There’s one important thing to remember when purchasing a car – the longer the length of the loan, the more you’ll pay. The best way to get great financing is by purchasing a car you can afford. Buying a used car is a great start to this endeavor, since it can lower the length of your loan and your monthly payments. It’s also a good idea to look at shortening the span of your loan, which will ultimately save you money on interest payments.

What should I look for when test-driving a car?

There are two main things you should watch for when test-driving a car. These include any issues or concerning damages to the car’s function and how you feel when driving it. As you drive, listen for strange sounds, feel for awkward jumps, and recognize when the vehicle isn’t running smoothly. Make sure all electrical components work and that gauges are accurate. It’s also a good idea to visit a mechanic during the test drive for a 50-point inspection on the vehicle. If the mechanic turns up some major issues, you may be able to ask for a price reduction.

Next, think about how you feel when you’re driving the car. Does it have the features you love? Could you see yourself driving it a year from now? Are the seats comfortable? You want to be completely happy with your purchase, and assessing your feelings while driving is key.

How do I know if the asking price is fair?

Always evaluate the asking price to make sure it’s a fair deal. Most dealerships post their used cars for sale on their websites, so start there. Narrow down your choices to a few different cars, and then use tools like Kelley Blue Book, NADA guide, and Edmunds.com to determine if the asking price matches the condition of the car.

Then, compare the price to similar cars in your area. Every geographical area has a pricing culture on cars, and you can learn a lot by looking around. If you find any proof that the car is overpriced, bring evidence to knock down the asking price. If the car seems under priced, be wary of purchasing it. There could be more wrong with it than the dealer listed.

When examining an asking price, be wary of cars that have recalls. It’s actually illegal for a dealership to sell a car with a safety recall. They can sell the car after the safety issue has been fixed, but it will consequently increase the price of the vehicle. Dick Hannah, and other high quality dealerships, have firm policies not to sell any vehicles with open recalls, even if the issues have been fixed. We don’t want to raise prices or be responsible for any injuries.

Start Your Research with Dick Hannah Dealerships

At Dick Hannah Dealerships, we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Whether you visit one of our many locations or visit our website, you can see detailed listings, find useful information, and talk with a trusted dealer who wants you to leave the lot with the perfect car. Feel free to contact us today and happy shopping!

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