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Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car - Part 2
Welcome back to part two of my article series. This mini-used car buying guide is a compilation list of my most important questions to ask when buying a used car.
To recap from part one, over the phone we want to make clever inquiry to see if we can establish with some certainty that the seller is not a private car dealer. Then we ask them questions to determine whether how long they have owned the car and if they are the original owner. The final area covered in part 1 was to pay close attention to the sense we get from the seller's response to our asking about their reasons for selling. If we are satisfied with the outcome of this initial round, it is time to get a bit more specific.
One of my top questions to ask about buying a used car is whether it has a gas or diesel engine. This may not be applicable unless you are looking for a diesel, as the vast majority of cars only come with a gas motor. However, if you are looking for incredible economy and bulletproof reliability, you will want to consider buying a car equipped with a diesel or even better, a turbo diesel engine. VW Jettas and Golfs are and were and still are built with both gas and diesel motors, and those motors last a long, long time!
Ask them how many kilometers or miles are on the car? For a gas engine, anything much over 250,000 km or 150,000 miles is a bit too much, unless the car has been meticulously maintained. In the case of a diesel engine, 300,000 km or 180,000 miles is just getting going. If it has been meticulously maintained, a diesel can go for a million kilometers.
Determine whether your potential future companion has a standard or automatic transmission? Which would you like better? Generally, a standard 5 speed transmission is the best choice, as it is less complex and more fuel efficient. C'mon! Stick is more fun anyway!
Find out it they have service records. If they have no service records, it is a strong indication that the car has not been well maintained. By looking at the service records, you can see the maintenance history, and any repairs. For example, a receipt for a new engine adds value to any car. When the time comes to sell your car, this can be handy evidence to present someone to backup your request for top dollar.
No list of tips on buying a second hand car can be complete if it doesn't include being sure that you ask the seller if it has ever been in an accident. If their answer is yes, ask them if it was a write off. If yes, move on. There are lots of other cars to choose from. If their answer is no, find out how long ago the accident was, and what area of the car sustained damage? You will want to look carefully at these areas when you go to see the car.
If the damage is recent, it may be difficult to tell how well the repairs will hold up. If it was a long time ago and it still looks okay, that can be a good sign. If the doors were affected, there is a good chance that they don't close perfectly anymore, and may make whistling sounds at highway speed. Very annoying on long journeys!
Okay, we are getting some good information from our seller! That's it for part 2. Stay tuned for part 3 where I will dive into the nitty-gritty of how to narrow down your search for the perfect used car.
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