Questions to Ask When Buying a New Car

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - June 12, 2018

Sure, you want to know all about your new car when you get to the dealership. Questions about standard safety features, new tech, and gas mileage are probably in the forefront of your mind. But there are other important questions you need to ask when buying a new car.

My New Car Has How Many Miles on it?

Just because you’re buying a new car doesn’t mean it hasn’t spent some time on the road. You should always ask the dealer how many miles are on the vehicle you’re interested in. It may have been test driven several times, or could have been driven there from another dealership.

What if you’re potential buy has racked up more than a hundred miles in test drives but hasn’t earned a buyer? You should definitely make sure and test drive the vehicle yourself to see if it’s right for you. The general rule of thumb though: if there’s more than 300 miles on the odometer, you should negotiate a lower price.

Ask about the Warranty and What it Covers

Knowing your warranty coverage is a must when you’re buying a new car. Just because the dealer tells you your new vehicle is covered from “bumper to bumper,” it’s not a guarantee that every breakdown will be covered. Bumper-to-bumper coverage will help with factory-installed parts, but won’t necessarily cover all mechanical issues.

For this, you need a powertrain warranty. Often different from other coverage, a powertrain warranty covers things like the engine, transmission, and other moving parts. Because both these types of warranties are likely to be different in what they cover, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

Are You Sure that Comes with the Car?

Another thing to ask a dealer about is optional equipment that’s been added on at the dealership. Things like optional tinted windows, vehicle recovery systems, and wheel locks are often dealer add-ons that incur additional charges. These features are typically negotiable in price – especially if you know what the cost of adding these aftermarket items would be wholesale. If you don’t want these add-ons, you can refuse the deal or see if there’s a car on the lot that doesn’t have them.

Make Sure You Know the Final Cost

There’s a difference between the price negotiated off MSRP and the out-the-door price on a vehicle. Things like tax, title, and license fees, and dealer documentation fees will always impact the cost of your new car, so make sure you get the final cost upfront so you’re not in shock after you’ve signed on the dotted line.

Know Which Dealer is Right for You

Now that you know what questions to ask before buying a new car, you probably need to know which dealers can work with you. If you’re struggling with poor credit, it can be even harder to know where to turn because not all dealers work with lenders who can handle credit challenges.

Here at CarsDirect, we can point you in the right direction from the start. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that have lending resources available to get you the financing you need even with bad credit, no credit, or bankruptcy. Get started right now by filling out our auto loan request form.

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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