Questions That You Should Always Ask the Seller Of a Car

By: Gregg Hall

After you've discovered a car you may want to purchase, call the seller and ask questions about the vehicle. I have provided a checklist of things to ask the seller so keep this list handy and use it when talking with the them over the phone. Many people are embarassed or afraid to ask questions about a car they are buying because they think they are being pushy or intrusive. This is simply not true. It's your money so don't be afraid to find out all you can about the car you are looking at.

The first question you want to ask is, "Why are you selling the car?" Put them in a defensive position and they must answer promptly. If they hesitate, they have something to hide. Why do most people sell their car? Maybe they lost their job, or there are too many things wrong with it and they don't want to fix it, they'd rather sell it to you. Maybe they bought a better new car and are selling it themselves. These are just a few of the reasons for someone to sell a car.

How many miles are on it? This is the moment of truth for most sellers. This can really reduce the selling price if there's too much mileage. The standard that is accepted by most is 15,000 miles per year. If they have more than that, you will find that websites like Kelly Blue Book and the N.A.D.A. have charts that deduct off the market value of the car for the excessive mileage.

Do they have all the maintenance records, proof of tune ups, and oil change receipts and other repairs or maintenance done on the car? You just nabbed them with three defensive questions in a row. They probably will not have this information, however,even though everyone SHOULD! This can be a powerful negotiating tool plus if you go to sell a car, it can bring a quick sale. This is especially true for higher line cars like Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc. These vehicles can be worth quite a bit less without the proper records.

The seller might say "No one keeps that stuff". Your reply will be "I do and everyone I know does. Without it, I have no validation that you properly maintained the car."

Have the seller describe the condition of the interior, the seats, make sure the dash is not cracked, find out about the paint, tires, A/C compressor, ask if the A/C runs cool and what type of AC system it has. Is there any other known issues or needed repairs that you should know about?

After you've asked all the appropriate questions and still think you're interested in the car, it's time to make an appointment with the seller to look at and test drive the car. This is where you find out if they were really truthful. If you discover right away that they lied to you about something you asked I would just walk away. If you caught them in one lie there is no telling how many things they could be hiding from you.

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