• Direct2Wheels

8 Questions to Ask when Buying a Vehicle

Purchasing a vehicle, whether new or used, can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t sure what type of vehicle you want at the beginning of the process. There are numerous options which can only add to the overwhelming feel of car shopping.

But, asking the right questions when you find a vehicle you are interested in can help save you from a headache.

Whether you are buying privately, or from a dealership, here are a few questions we believe will help you during the shopping process.


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1. Why are you selling the vehicle?

If you’re considering buying from private owners, versus a dealer, you should ask them why they are selling the car. There are many reasons why one would be selling their vehicle; are they upgrading, not using it enough to justify a second vehicle, is there something wrong with the vehicle? Gaining insight here, can be beneficial before you view the car in person. Now, stay wise to the fact that some people may not be honest here. To protect yourself, especially when looking at older vehicles, you may want to request a mechanical inspection.

This is also a good place to ask the seller where they bought the vehicle, how long they have owned it and how many owners the vehicle has had.

2. What is the Mileage on the Odometer?

Asking about the mileage on the car can give you a great inclination of the overall wear-and-tear and depreciation and value of the vehicle. The value of used vehicles is based on how many miles are left on the car, the less mileage the more value the vehicle holds. The average person drives 25,000 kms/year, if you take the odometer reading and divide it by how old the vehicle is you’ll find out where it falls kms/year. Be careful of vehicles with really high kms as their lifespan may be shorter.

The odometer can also provide future projections on items that may need replacing sooner rather than later. For example, shocks and struts typically require attention around 100,000kms. A maintenance schedule should be easily found online.

This is also chance to double check the mileage advertised matches the car’s odometer when conducting your test drive.


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3. What is the Interior and Exterior of the vehicle like?

Asking about the condition of the vehicle is a great when buying a used car. This is the seller’s chance to disclose any issues or current problems or flaws in the appearance. This could be something like rust on the exterior, dimpling from hail or scratches in the paint. If there are pictures available to view, make note of them so that you can access any damage should you decide to see it in person.

Also ask whether it is the original paint job. If the car has had a repaint, this may be indication of larger repairs, including car accidents. Another reason a mechanical inspection should be requested.

4. Has anything on the car been replaced or updated?

New or recent updates could increase the value of the vehicle. This will also let you know how much money you can expect to invest in the vehicle down the line. For instance if the car just had new tires put on and it comes with winter tires, then you know that’s something you won’t need to do right away.

When a rep-owned vehicle comes into a dealership, it will go through an inspection and will generally have any concern points taken care of before it goes onto the lot.

5. Can I see the Maintenance Records?

Maintenance records will give you a good indication of how well the previous owner took care of the car. Did the previous owner or owners get regular tune-ups and oil changes? If there was ever an accident, were the repairs recorded? Where was the work done?


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6. Do you have a CARFAX Canada report?

Does the owner or dealership have the CARFAX report available? This will give you details on the vehicle’s history, including any accidents reported, whether a minor fender bender or a major incident. If there has been any incidents in the vehicle find out what damage occurred and what repair work was done.

If the seller doesn’t have a CARFAX report available, get the VIN of the vehicle so you can purchase a report yourself.

7. Does the Car Have Any Current Recalls?

It never hurts to ask if there are any recalls on the vehicle. A recall could be anything from faulty airbags or a technical fix of the car’s system, and something you would want to address right away. You can also look up the vehicle’s VIN which will tell you information on that specific vehicle.

8. Is the Vehicle Under Any Warranty?

Knowing whether or not the car is covered under warranty is useful information and could limit additional coverage costs for you. A dealership should have access to warranty information, and help you through options for extended warranty where possible.


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There is a lot to consider and think about when buying a vehicle, whether from a private sale or from a dealership. Our goal at Direct2Wheels is to help you on the way to credit recovery, help you find the perfect car to fit your needs and budget, and give you the necessary information to help you on your car-buying journey.