7 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Car

Whether you’re buying a new or used car, questions are important.

Not every seller will think to tell you every detail – and some may even purposely leave out a few details they don’t want you to know.

But if you’re prepared, you can learn everything you need to know about a car by asking the important question.

Here are 7 questions to ask before buying a car:

  • Is there a warranty?

Any new car will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. These can vary in length and coverage, so be sure to ask what the warranty covers and how long it extends.

And if you’d like to consider buying used, you can still ask about the warranty. In this case, most used cars will only come with a warranty when they are certified pre-owned, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

At a very minimum, your auto purchase should include a bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers any factory defects. Powertrain warranties are handled differently. It’s always a separate warranty because it usually spans a shorter time. The powertrain warranty covers things like the electrical system, air conditioning, and even the car stereo.

  • What are the most common repairs?

Just like with dog breeds, every type of vehicle has a set of its own problems. Nothing is perfect. One car may be prone to transmission issues while another may be famous for issues with the starter.

This can change within each model year, but some makes and models follow patterns. You can do your own research (and it’s recommended), but it’s also a good idea to ask.

  • What’s included in my total price?

When you’re at the car dealership, it can feel like a complete whirlwind. Before you know it, you’ve agreed to something that you didn’t even want. And maybe you didn’t even know you agreed to it.

So, before you sign any paperwork, ask the salesperson (or financial person) to slow down and review all costs.

Ask about the total price. Does it seem exceptionally high based on your negotiated rate?

If so, there may be hidden charges. It’s time to get to the bottom of them.

First, you should know that there are always a few fees associated with car buying. You may have heard of “tax, title and tags.” These refer to the registration and title costs, and the sales tax you must pay.

Be wary of anything else that’s added. Regardless of what anyone tells you, nothing else is mandatory.

  • What is the gas mileage?

Remember that there are more costs associated with a vehicle than your monthly car payment. Gas mileage can really eat up any overall budget, and it gets worse the more you drive.

So, if this is important to you, be sure to ask about fuel efficiency before you even test drive that vehicle.

  • What does this car cost to insure?

This isn’t a question for the salesperson, but it’s an important one to ask. If you’re considering a few different models, call your insurance agent and get quotes for each of them. This is a great exercise whether you’re buying a new or used car. You’ll be surprised to learn how much of a variance there can be between two cars that seem otherwise comparable. Then, once you’re ready to buy, you’re one step closer to walking away with the vehicle.

  • Can you hold the vehicle?

Most dealers should be able to hold a vehicle for 24 hours while you think about your decision. You may start feeling some pressure because they want to make the sale, but if you stand firm, you should be able to come back the next day and get the same deal.

  • Will you deliver the vehicle?

Sometimes, the best deal may not be right around the corner. So, if you have to travel to the dealership, ask if the dealer will deliver the vehicle. Just be sure to ask the question after you’ve negotiated price, so you the deal doesn’t get muddied with “favors.”

Buying a new car can be a draining process, but it could also be fun. When you know the questions to ask, you can learn exactly how to get the most out of your experience.  

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