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I want to know what kinds of questions should you ask a car dealer when you want to buy a pre-owned vehicle?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Gayle Clark, Owner at Motor City Sales & Services Hi Martie, In a perfect world, you could ask many questions about the history of the vehicle and get all your questions answered honestly...however this is not always the case, so I recommend taking a different approach, in the pre-owned car market I truly feel you have to do your homework and investigate before you give your money away. Which is why I highly recommend going to CARFAX.COM to request the vehicles history report, you can obtain all types of information and specific data which under normal circumstances may not be revealed...information such as if the car has been wrecked, stolen, in a flood, recalls, and it can even reveal odometer fraud, problem checks, registration checks, title searches and more. Go to www.carfax.com or www.dmv.org there are small fee's associated with the reports, however it is well worth it! Gayle Clark

Joy Sherman, Owner  at Ms. Motorcars Hi, Questions to ask would be: Where the vehicle came from originally, what warranty comes with it, if any, is it certified....those would be some questions to ask. Good Luck, Joy Sherman, www.msmotorcars.com

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Questions to ask a car dealer that will help you to determine if a vehicle is worth your time to go look at. ***Make sure you write down the answers and bring them with you!*** 1) Is the transmission Automatic or Manual? (If the transmission is not what you want, there is no need to ask further questions.) 2) Do they check over the used car thoroughly before selling it? If they find anything wrong with the car, do they fix it? 3) Has the vehicle had any repairs recently (example: brakes, tires, exhaust, battery?) or service… if so - what garage performed the work? Can they continue to service your car after you purchase it? 4) Has the vehicle been repainted and if so why? 5) Has the vehicle been involved in any accidents? 6) What is the condition of the vehicle’s body? Is there any rust? 7) How often was a Lube Oil & Filter performed? (3000 miles is the average for mixed driving, 5000 miles for cars that do a lot of highway driving.) 8) Can you see all the service records from all the work done to the car, including oil changes? (This will verify how well they took care of the vehicle) 9) Can you take one of their cars to another Mechanic to have it thoroughly inspected before you offer a price? 10) What kind of warranty do they offer? Is it in writing? 11) Can they provide you with a list of satisfied customers? 12) What price are they asking for the vehicle? By asking these questions, you’ll gain the information that you need to decide if you should even look at the car. If you like what you see - then it’s time to do a preliminary inspection. The information you get from your phone call along with a road test and inspection of the vehicle will verify or falsify the information you were given.

Jamey Wozniak, Owner and CEO at Joe's Hitch, Trailer & Truck Accessories Buying New And Certified Pre-owned Cars By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® -- A car dealership can be an intimidating place for many of us. With abundant information on prices and options available through the internet we as buyers are more empowered. According to sales consultants, more people are doing research online and returning to dealerships knowing exactly what they want. CHECKLIST (print this list and take it with you) What You’ll Need and When You’ll Need It. Before you even begin your search, print out this helpful checklist and you won't forget a thing. Test –Drives: Cars and The Dealer Ask for a test-drive that's customized for you: m Test drive the model that you’re thinking about buying m Begin with a visual inspection of the exterior m Inspect the interior for proper fit of components such as arm rests to your body m Be sure the safety belt feels comfortable. m Make sure all interior controls are within easy reach. m Gauges are clearly visible and easy to read m Be certain that your feet comfortably reach the pedals m The driver's seat should provide a good view of the road with proper back and thigh support –visibility is most important. m Check for good pickup, smoothness of ride and the ability to handle bumps and curves m Check the rearview mirror for tailgaters, then brake hard to get a feel for how the vehicle comes to a stop. m Take the car out on the freeway, check acceleration from the entrance ramp to the high-speed lane m Check the noise level at highway speeds. m Drive some of the usual roads that you drive. m Try parking the vehicle in a tight parking spot to get a feel for turning radius. m Test drive the vehicle for as long as you need to – don’t feel pressured to drive a certain designated route the sales consultant has designed. Make sure the dealership deserves your business: m Do the dealer and his or her team of people listen to you? m Are they prompt, courteous and thorough in responding to your needs? m Does the physical appearance of the showroom, team and products convey a feeling of professionalism and quality? m Do you get the sense that the salesperson has been properly trained and really knows what he or she is talking about? If not, ask for another salesperson. m Are you made to feel that the dealership and its team really care about your concerns? Ready To Negotiate, Outfit and Protect Your Vehicle? If you've decided to purchase, do your homework, know what you deserve and what to expect: m Know the value of your trade-in: check the internet for values and check the classified ads to know what similar vehicles are selling for in your area. m Know what you want and what it's worth, build your vehicle and compare the price of different brands on internet web sites. m Know what your dealer can do for you: they may have to check with their manager to answer your questions. Before negotiations come to an end, make sure to ask if "that's the best they can do." Be prepared to walk out if necessary. m Know what accessories you want and which ones you need. Decide if you want them installed at time of purchase and how it affects the warranty. If you consider a service contract, know the background of the company insuring and administering the service contract: This is for used cars – new cars include some protection and some roadside assistance plans. m Find out what factory warranty covers and don’t purchase any additional coverage unless this is a used car and there is no factory warranty left. m You do not have to have the vehicle serviced at that dealer, you can choose another dealers or and independent service location of your choice. m Do you understand all the terms and conditions, including whether or not you will be required to have any maintenance performed or to pay a deductible each time the vehicle is repaired? m Who is the company doing the maintenance in the contract – it may not be the dealer – read the small print. m Certified pre-owned vehicles may have transferable warranties for a small fee. m Even is you lease a vehicle, it is still your responsibility to “Be Car Care Aware” and maintain that vehicle. If you don’t, when you trade in the lease you will receive and expensive bill for maintenance that was neglected. Follow the service schedule. When you select your auto insurer: m Financial strength — this can be the dealer or your favorite lending institution. m Original equipment replacement parts — Select a company that insists on original equipment parts, not aftermarket low quality knockoffs, to repair your car. m Convenient sales and service — Many of the best insurance companies are easy to contact through 24-hour claims service. And some offer the ability to manage your policy and make payments online. m Look for companies that enable you to cancel your current policy at any time and get a prorated refund. m Check with whoever handles your homeowners insurance they usually offer a discount for signing on your car. Delivery Day You should receive a thorough explanation of how to operate such equipment as: m The heater, heated seats, air conditioning and ventilation m Sound system and clock m A child safety seat and how to install it m Anti lock brakes, traction control and new technologies m Navigational systems tire pressure sensors, etc. m The hood and trunk release, the tire jack and how to properly use it. At the very least, you should receive the following at the time of delivery: m Two sets of keys m Copy of the title m Vehicle registration (may be temporary) m Copy of the purchase or lease agreement with mile overage fees m Vehicle warranty m Tire warranty m Service contract, if applicable m The owner's manual and glove box information Before you leave the dealership, meet the service manager or his representative, and request a tour of the service department: m Is it clean and organized? m Inquire about the procedures for bringing in your vehicle if there is an issue. m Is the diagnostic equipment state-of-the-art? m Be sure to ask for a review of your vehicle's scheduled maintenance requirements — when to change oil and filters, spark plugs, transmission fluid, etc. as described in your owner's manual m This is a good time to schedule your first maintenance appointment m Inquire about the availability of loaners, rental vehicles and shuttle service for those times when you may be without a vehicle due to maintenance or repairs m A thorough tour of the dealership is important. In the end you still have to remember the basic maintenance is your responsibility even if you lease a vehicle. Sometimes we forget to take care of our new vehicle and then we trade them in at the end of a lease to receive a very large bill. Be sure to review the maintenance schedule and remind yourself in your scheduler or PDA. Also read my blog on FLOOD DAMAGED CARS - No matter what anyone says - DON'T BUY ONE!

Kim Walker, Marketing Director at Peak Automotive There is a great article on the Ask Patty website with valuaable questions to ask regarding buying a preowned vehicle. I suggest taking a look at that article. In addition, an absolute MUST is having a "Pre Purchase Inspection" done on your car. Many shops offer this free of charge. Quite simply take the preowned vehicle to your technician and have them complete a thorough inspection of the car. This is good for a few reasons: your technician may find things wrong with the car that are not easily noticed by most people by just looking under the hood and secondly it gives you buying power. If your technician finds let's say $1000 worth of work that might need to be done (whether it is needed maintenance or some repairs) you then have bargaining power. Pre purchase inspections are crucial! Your technician should be able to give you a checklist of items they have checked and/or found which needs attention. Bring this with you to the car dealership and tell them that your technician checked the car over and found these things on the car needing attention. Good luck and have fun!

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