The Questions You NEED To Ask Before Buying a Used Car


We all know how stressful buying a car privately or from a dealership can be. The good news is that if you ask the seller the right questions, all of your uncertainties and questions can be answered. With these answers, you’ll be able to either confidently walk away from the sale or pursue the sale. Here are 10 questions to ask the seller or dealership before you buy a used car. 

1. Why are you selling and how long have you owned the car? (Private seller)

While this two-part question only applies to private sellers, the answers could reveal a lot of important information. For why they’re selling the car, it could be because they’re looking for an upgrade or the vehicle no longer suits their lifestyle. For the second question regarding how long they owned the car, you should only be suspect if they just recently bought it. If they recently purchased the vehicle and are already selling it, this could be due to mechanical problems or disliking the vehicle, neither of which are good signs. 

2. Where did you buy the car?

This question applies whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private seller. By asking this, you’ll have a better idea of who was driving it before and have a better idea of the care it was given. 

3. Is there a vehicle history report of the car?

Any time you’re buying a used car, you want to know the completer history of the car. The best way to find out this information is through a vehicle history report. Ideally, the seller has a recent report of the vehicle for you to take a look at. If not, you should use one of the many resources available to get a vehicle history report using the VIN number on the vehicle. 

4. What condition is the car in?

This is a question that you’ll want to answer yourself by either doing an inspection yourself or hiring a licensed mechanic, but it’s also important to ask the seller. This is the seller’s chance to be transparent about any issues or damage to the vehicle. 

5. How much mileage is on the car?

We know this is an easy question to get the answer to as you can literally just take a peek at the odometer, but it’s still important to ask. This way, you can match the mileage that the seller is saying to what the vehicle history report claims. If there are any discrepancies between what the odometer, seller or vehicle history report says about the mileage, this is a huge red flag. 

6. Did the car get regular oil changes?

Service records aren’t always available on used cars, but if they are, you should ask to see them. Seeing if the car was taken in for regular oil changes and other services will give you a better understanding of how the vehicle was cared for by its previous owner. 

7. Has the car been involved in any accidents?

Like a few of the questions above, this question should be answered by looking at the vehicle history report of the car, yet it’s still important to ask the seller. It’s possible that even though the vehicle has been involved in a minor or major accident, it’s not listed in the vehicle history report. If it was involved in an accident, be sure to find out the details and what repairs were needed. 

8. What repairs or updates have been made on the car?

It’s important to know what work has been done to the vehicle with both its previous owners and since it’s been at the dealership. If there have been recent updates, maybe it means the car’s value has increased or you won’t need to buy winter tires for another four years. The clearer the picture you have about what the car has gone through, the better you’ll be able to assess whether the vehicle is the right choice for you. 

9. Can I get it inspected by a third party?

Even if the car looks to be in great shape and has a clean vehicle history report, you should always have it inspected by a third-party mechanic. If the seller hesitates when you mention having it inspected by a third party, there’s a good chance that the seller is trying to hide something from you. 

10. Can you fix any problems/damage before I purchase?

If you’re interested in a car but there are small mechanical problems or damage, be sure to ask if the problems can be fixed before you purchase the car. Negotiate a deal with the seller to fix all the problems so you end up with a car in great condition and the seller gets an amount they’re happy with. 

Ready to buy a used car?

If you’re ready to shop for the car of your dreams, let Car Loans Canada help makes the process easy. We have plenty of resources on our site like the rates page where you have access to see the lender’s rates. Once you’ve seen the rates page, you can check out our car loan calculator andplug in numbers to give yourself a rough estimate of the costs per month of owning a vehicle. 

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