15 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Posted Friday, Dec 08, 2017

Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car

We all know the normal questions to ask when buying a used car… How many miles to the gallon does this model get? What are the IIHS safety ratings for this vehicle’s year? How many previous owners and does it have a clean CARFAX report?

But how many of you have gotten home from the used car dealership with shiny new-to-you wheels, only to feel overwhelmed by a sudden slew of unanswered questions? Don’t panic, because we’ve all been there! Even when you’re a total car guru there can still be questions you’ll want to call your salesperson about after buying!

Amongst the excitement at the dealership when buying a used car, you might forget to ask simple questions… Some questions will simply prepare for your first trip to the gas station, many are just fun to know the answer to, while others may make a significant difference in your choice to buy. Next time you’re shopping, consider these questions to ask when buying a used car:

1: What is the mileage?

Once you get this answer, consider the age of the vehicle with its mileage. The average American drives about 12,000 miles a year… So, if the mileage is higher than 20,000 miles per year or lower than 5,000 – ask your salesperson why.

2: Do all of the locks work?

This is obviously a feature you want to function properly… but how many of you have actually tested out the locks on a vehicle before you purchased? We might just assume they work… but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

3: Has this car been in any accidents?

This is one of the most common questions to ask when buying a used car… but if the vehicle you’re looking at has in fact been in an accident, ask about the extent of the damage. Don’t worry too much about minor scrapes or fender benders, but put some more consideration into a vehicle that has been in a serious crash.

4: Has this model year been recalled?

Safety comes first! Ask your salesperson about any recalls or recall maintenance that has been performed on the car you’re interested in. Make sure that if it has been recalled, that they have been completed.

5: Is this a former rental car?

Former rental cars can make for a fantastic used car purchase! Many rental agencies employ rigorous maintenance standards for their vehicles.

6: Has this car been repainted?

It’s good to know any previous work that has been done when buying a used car… and this includes vanity work!

7: Is this vehicle all-wheel drive?

Used all-wheel drive vehicles are a fantastic choice for Maryland drivers! Ask about the condition of the drive train on the vehicle you’re considering.

8: Does the cigarette lighter work?

In 2017, most of us utilize our car cigarette lighter to charge our cell phones… so make sure it’s in working condition!

9: When was the last time the tires were replaced?

If you are looking for a used car and you see the words “NEW TIRES!” – you’re golden! Tires are one of the most important parts of any car, so considering their condition when buying is vital.

10: Do the rear defroster and heating elements work?

It’s winter in Maryland! So if you’re currently in the used car buying process, we say don’t just ask about this…try it! On your test-drive test out these features that are so crucial for a comfortable winter drive.

11: Is the air conditioning system in good working condition?

On the flip side, test out the cooling system… you don’t want to buy the perfect car in December, only to find out in June the air conditioning doesn’t work!

12: Does this car have a spare tire?

Most new cars come with at least a donut… but not all used cars will still have them. Ask your salesperson about this – if it turns out the car you choose doesn’t come with a spare tire or donut, make sure you put one in as soon as possible after purchase.

13: How many keys does the car come with?

For some buyers, having two sets of keys is a necessity. Answering this question can help prevent a lot of headache after purchase when you realize you need to have a second key made.

14: Do all of the windows work?

Let’s say that having a moonroof on your next vehicle is high on your list of priorities. How devastating would you feel if you purchased the used car of your dreams, moonroof and all, only to come home to find out it doesn’t operate correctly? When shopping, test out the functionally of all windows (and test the windshield wipers while you’re at it!) to avoid issues after purchase.

15: Does the gas cap work properly?

This is another hidden gem that is often overlooked! Crack that baby open while you’re checking out the vehicle to make sure it screws on and off correctly! There’s nothing like filling up your first tank of gas in your car to find that it doesn’t work!

Final Thoughts

Used car buying should be fun – during and especially after your purchase! These are the questions to ask when buying a used car… because having the answers to small questions like these can make your buying process nice and smooth!


If you’re searching for used cars in Pasadena, MD – click below to explore our extensive pre-owned vehicle inventory!

Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car


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