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Five Questions to Ask The Dealer When Buying a Used Car From a Dealership

If you've gone used car shopping before, you've likely run into a deal that seemed too good to be true. A car that looked incredible, sounded like a dream, and one which was priced well to boot.

used car dealershipWhen you run into cars like this on online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, it's enough to make you raise an eyebrow. This very fact is why most folks buying a used car know to look at the car in-person before they make any financial deals - after all, every used car has a history, and that history isn't always clean. The same can be said about vehicles sold at used car dealerships.

Dealership cars also have a history that might directly influence the worth and reliability of the vehicle in the long-term. So, to prevent yourself from pending disasters, take the proper steps to ensure you get the best deal.

Here are five essential questions to ask anyone selling a secondhand car, including dealerships.

Do You Have the Vehicle's Maintenance Records?

You might have given your father flack about his detailed vehicle log, but maintaining a maintenance record on your car is essential for several reasons. For one, it verifies the resale value of your vehicle down the line. If any buyer has a question about the worth of the car based on the work that has been done on it, you have proof to back it up. As a buyer, even looking at something like a manually-recorded account without any receipts is fine. If you have any questions about the truth of their claims, you can always take the car to a mechanic for a second opinion and verify that maintenance has been done.

Additionally, looking at the maintenance log tells you how much effort the previous owner put into the car, which is a good indication of how well it will run. If an earlier owner marked down regular minor service, like oil changes and tire rotations, the car is likely in pretty good shape for its age. If they only marked down significant repairs, it could indicate the previous owner did not take great care of their car or didn’t know how to take good care of a car.

What Problems Are You Aware Of?

One of the most telling things about a car's seller is whether they are willing to go into detail about the current or prior issues. Many times reputable sellers and used car dealerships will complete repairs on vehicles before selling them. This allows them to raise the asking price as well as developing a sense of trust between the buyer and the seller. If this is the case, the seller should give you a list of repairs that happened to the car before listing it for sale. However, not all people or companies selling a used car complete repairs before selling their vehicles.

Therefore, the nest best thing you can get from a seller is a straight answer after asking this question. A trustworthy seller will go over all the issues the car has, potentially explaining in detail the intricacies of the problems. If they are vague, ask if you can take it for a test drive and a second opinion. Car salespeople who will let you do this might just be bad with words or cars. However, if they refuse these simple requests, you should turn and run.

Where Did The Car Come From?

This might seem like a strange question, but the location of the car plays an integral part in the overall condition of the vehicle. A vehicle purchased from a coastal region like Gulf Coast states or the Northeast is prone to rust because of the extended exposure to humidity and salt air. Cars from warmer states might have problems with the paint before you know it - even if the paint looks good at the moment. High exposure to the sun can deteriorate the paint on a car over time.

Understanding the origin of the vehicle will help you better anticipate what types of issues you might run into down the line.

What Mileage Does the Car Have?

The mileage of a car isn't alone an indicator of the worth of the vehicle. There are many cars on the road that have lots of damage with low mileage, and many more in pristine condition that have very high mileage. Mileage, however, is an excellent way to gauge the shape of a car and what issues you might expect from it soon.

If you’re looking at a vehicle with high mileage, it is essential to both get a second opinion on the car and also to ask to see the maintenance log. When combined, these two questions will help you make an informed decision.

Has the Car Been In Any Prior Accidents?

Whether or not the car has been in any prior accidents should not be the sole determining factor for whether you buy a vehicle or not. However, it is vital information to know as it might impact the integrity of a car. If a car has been totaled in the past, it could be more susceptible to future issues, as well as lower resale value. Additionally, it’s hard to tell if the repairs were done well and how long they will hold up. A small accident might not make much of a difference, but it’s still good to know about.

Additionally, if the previous owner kept a log of the maintenance done to the car after the accident, it can show you what type of an owner they were before as well as how well the vehicle was taken care of overall.

If you're looking for a used car in the Kansas City area, come down to Auto Bank of Kansas City. We have two locations - one at 2000 East Truman Road and one at 6901 East Front Street. We’ve been in the used car business for several years, and our employees understand you'll have questions about the cars you look at. Your questions help you decide on the best car for you - and that is our goal for all our customers. Click here to get started on an in-house financing application or visit our home page for more information.