5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car to Avoid Buyers Remorse

January 27, 2012

Before you buy a vehicle, you should know that there are several questions to ask when buying a used car. This will help you to decide whether the car is good enough for you or not.

1. Why was this Car Traded In?

If you are thinking of purchasing a two-year-old Chevy Cobalt with 22,000 miles on the odometer and plenty of warranty left, you have to ask yourself "Why was this traded?" This is one of those key used car questions that should help you determine whether to purchase or not.

2. Was the Car Purchased and Traded at the Same Dealership?

This may seem like an oxymoron, but it is not. Cars that are purchased at a specific dealership and which are then traded in on later models show that the owner trusts the dealership.

3. Why Is the Car Still Not Being Sold?

This is actually one of the new car buying questions, but it's still valid because you have to wonder why a popular model is still sitting on the lot while others come and go more quickly. The reason it has been sitting for so long is, frankly, it is probably a color that's not very popular, say prune or jalapeno, and you may be able work a great deal.

4. Can I Have a CarFax?

If the dealership hems and haws about the CarFax, give the used car a pass. The history report shows you the entire listing of a used car, but be aware of this little-known fact, it can take as long as six months or more for an accident or other problem to show up in a CarFax.

5. What's the Condition of the Title?

Private sales carry so many pitfalls that they should actually be your last stop in the sales cycle. The only exception to this is if you know the car intimately, as well as the owner. If you do not, this might not be the place for you if you know very little about cars. Private sellers are required by law to act as dealers in lemon law states, but seldom do.  Most lemon law states require dealers to buy back lemons if the owner is unhappy with the mechanical condition and the mechanical problems cannot be put right. The length of time a lemon law applies is mileage based (usually up to 60,000). Within that distance, the seller has to provide either total repair or buy-back for three months or 3,600 miles. If mileage is 60,000 to 99,000 miles, the period is two months or 2,500 miles. If the mileage is 99,000 to 129,000, the period is one month or 1,250 miles.

You should also be careful on the title. It should clearly show the seller is the owner. If the title says "Salvage," give the private sale a pass, unless you are buying through Ebay or Amazon where you have recourse if there's a problem.

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