Ask These Three Questions Before Buying a Used Vehicle

Buying a vehicle can be exciting, but there are many questions to ask to determine which vehicle is best for you. There are advantages to buying a used vehicle, including less depreciation in value after the purchase than a new vehicle. New vehicles offer their own advantages, such as a factory warranty after the sale to cover many repairs.

But for many buyers, it comes down to sticker price when buying a vehicle, and it’s easier to find a used car at a more affordable price than it is to find a new one. The biggest barrier for many buyers when it comes to used vehicles is their concern that the vehicle may have hidden accidents or problems. They wonder whether they are getting a good deal.

Before you buy a pre-owned vehicle from used car dealerships in Jackson MI, answer these questions for insight into how the vehicle will perform and to learn whether you’re getting a good deal.

What is the used vehicle’s history?

A vehicle’s history explains what it’s been through with its previous owners, such as maintenance, accidents, and repairs. Vehicle history reports from providers like CarFax document the prior owners, whether any accidents were reported and it includes information about the vehicle’s service history. Car dealerships often provide a free vehicle history report, sometimes on their websites in the ad for the vehicle. 

If the vehicle history report shows service was provided locally or at other dealerships, you can contact those dealerships for more detailed information about the type of service. This is important for major service items, like the replacement of timing belts, water pumps, brakes, and other long-term maintenance items.  

Are there mechanical problems with the vehicle?

Used vehicles can appear nearly new, so clean, shiny, and seemingly well-maintained that they appear free of problems. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t mechanical problems. That’s why it’s important to take a used vehicle to a trusted mechanic before buying it. They can inspect the vehicle to find any problems you should know about. 

Some used vehicles may still be covered by a factory warranty provided to the first owner. Some dealerships offer a multipoint inspection program on older used vehicles they sell and a limited warranty to back up that inspection. Dealerships may also offer extended warranty plans for purchase to help cover the cost of future repairs. Discuss options that work best for you with your seller.

Is this vehicle a good value?

Every buyer wants the best deal possible, but often don’t know how to tell if they got it. Vehicle buying guides can offer information about vehicle values. These online sites, like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds, can offer varying estimated values for the same vehicle, so establish a range of values from the sites to compare to your sale price. If you buy from a dealer, make sure you account for the value of vehicle inspection and prep work dealerships perform.