21 Vital Questions You Should Ask When Buying A Car

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When going to buy a new car, you need to consider lots of things and ask certain questions to ensure you’re getting a good deal for your money.

In today’s article, I’ll show you some of the most important questions you should ask when buying a car. This will serve as a somewhat prerequisite for you once you’re ready to buy your very first car.

Asking these questions can help reduce costs and get you a fair deal. However, you should know that sales reps can be very smart and try to dodge certain questions or answer them in a confusing manner. Thus, we also provided a clue to what you should accept as the answer to each question.

Read Also: Can You Buy a Car With Zero Miles?

21 Questions You Should Ask When Buying A Car

These questions are arranged in a way that it becomes easy for you to quickly find the right questions to ask a private seller and what you should ask a dealership.

What To Ask Yourself

Questions to Ask When Buying A New Car

These questions are what you should ask yourself before approaching a dealership for a car deal. When you arrive at the dealership or private seller’s garage, you can then ask the subsequent questions.

1. What Type of Car Do I Need?

The first question starts with you. What is, or are, the reasons why you need to buy a car. Answer to this question will help you streamline your hunt/search for specific types of cars.

Hitting the dealership lot without having a specific type of car in view will leave you in a state of dilemma, and that can give the sales rep an upper hand to get you to buy any car at a seemingly higher price.

2. Which Car Model, Brand, and Year Do I Need?

When you have defined your reasons for wanting a new car, next is to carry out a prior search to ascertain the car models that are the best fit for your reasons. You can further narrow your search to a specific year.

What To Ask a Private Seller

If you’re buying from a private seller, these questions are very important so that you don’t end up purchasing a stolen car.

3. Why Is Car On Sale?

The seller should be able to come up with a verifiable reply regarding his motive for wanting to sell his/her car. This question isn’t valid if you’re buying from a dealership.

4. How Long Have You Owned This Car?

There again, this question is also important; you need to know when the seller purchased the car. This would help to justify the mileage reading on the odometer.

If the seller bought the car within the past three (3) years and has already placed it sell, you should check the state of the car and repair record.

5. Are You The First Owner Of This Car?

Yes, you deserve to know the first person ever to drive the car you’re about to purchase. This may require to check the title history for the car.

General Questions For Both Private Sellers and Dealerships

Questions You Should Ask When Buying A New Car

These are questions you should ask regardless of whether you’re buying from a private seller or a car dealership.

6. What Are The Safety Features Available On This Car?

Safety features vary from car to car. The features include advanced driver assistance techs, hi-tech/computerized car dashboard, blind spot mirror, front collision warning, parking assistance, and more.

You can always find the car safety features available in a car from the manufacturer’s blog; however, you should ask the seller this question and note the reply he/she gives.

7. Are There External Damages On This Car?

It is possible that a car may have a physical injury that’s not easily noticeable. A sincere seller will surely point it out to you. Regardless, it is expected that you inspect the car thoroughly before making payment and signing the legal documents.

8. Can I Test Drive, and How Long?

A test drive is necessary. You must need to test the car you’re about to buy. It becomes more necessary if the car is a used one. However, different dealerships and private sellers have limitations to how long you can test drive and where you can test drive.

Not all dealerships will allow you to test drive on highways. But, you should get at least 10 – 15 minutes to drive your prospective car.

9. Where’s The Maintenance Record For This Vehicle

You should be provided with a verifiable maintenance record for the car you want to buy. This applies to used cars. If you’re buying a brand new car, you need not ask this question.

The report is going to tell if your dream car was well maintained and worth the price tag given by the seller/dealer.

10. Has Anything Been Replaced On This Car?

Again, this applies to “used cars,” especially the high mileage options. There’s the possibility that one or more components of the car you’re about to buy have been replaced.

So, you deserve to know about those replaced components; this can help in the future if the car starts developing a fault.

Most cars tend to have transmission related issues after hitting 90,000 miles; thus, a used car with over 100,000 miles reading is likely to have gone through a transmission change. This question applies to both dealerships and private sellers.

11. Has The Car Been In Any Accidents?

Here’s a critical question you shouldn’t joke with – the person selling the car must need to answer this question.

Most cars suffer lots of damages from collisions and accidents; hence, if the car has ever suffered damages from accidents, you need to be sure if all affected parts were duly worked on, and you deserve a discount.

12. How Long Is The Warranty? Is It Still Valid?

Every car comes with warranty coverage that is valid for a number of years or miles. You should know if the default manufacturer warranty is still valid on the car or it has expired. This will help you to plan and decide on how to get coverage for the car.

In some states, you cannot drive a car without warranty coverage. Thus, some people go for typical auto warranty coverage, and there are others that apply for extended warranties.

13. What’s The Mileage On This Vehicle?

You can always read the mileage from the odometer, but this question remains valid irrespective of who’s selling the car to you.

14. Are There Any Mechanical Problems I Need To Know?

Whether or not the seller tells you of a potential mechanical problem with a car, we’d advise that you go along with a mechanic when buying a new car. The mechanic will help to check the hood for potential problematic components.

Also, during test drives, you should pay attention to all sounds you hear, especially when you change gears, apply brakes, take turns, and reverse the vehicle. Report any unusual sound to the seller and request clarification.

15. How Much Discount Can I Get On This Car?

Now that’s more like it! You deserve a good deal for the car you’re about to buy. It is very okay to request discounts, and it’s not absurd to haggle with the dealer or seller. If you’re buying from a dealership, ask about discount offers/deals.

16. Can I Take This Car For Private Inspection?

Not all dealers and sellers will agree to this, but you may still need to ask the question. Also, some sellers may decline with an option to allow you to bring your personal mechanic to come and inspect the car at their garage or lot.

Questions To Ask Dealerships

important questions to ask before buying a car

These questions are specific to dealerships; it centers on getting car loans, delivery timeline insurance, etc.

17. Are There Loan Deals I Can Apply For?

Most dealerships (if not all) offer car loan deals for people who wish to buy new cars on credit. We won’t generally recommend car loan deals because they make you pay higher than what’s supposed.

18. When Am I Getting Delivery Of My Car?

The dealership should let you know they’ll be delivering your car; it may be immediately or in a few hours. This question is just to satisfy your curiosity.

19. Can I Get Some More Time To Decide?

After you have inspected the car and verify all the papers, you can request more time from the dealership to make a final decision on how to pay for the car. Most dealers will allow you this opportunity and reserve the selected car.

20. Do You Accept Swap?

You’ve probably got an old car, and you wish to know if the dealership can agree to a swap. Well, some dealerships may accept your old car and agree with you on a deal to purchase a new one.

21. What After-Purchase Services Do You Offer?

Some dealerships provide after-purchase services. Well, you won’t get this from every dealer; so, be calm when the sales rep replies, “NO.”


These are the top questions you should ask when buying a car, irrespective of whether it is a new car or an old car. We did split the questions to clarify when and who you should ask them. You may find other questions to ask outside these suggested ones.

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