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35 Important Questions You Should Be Asking Before Buying a Car

Buying car in Dubai

Deciding to buy a car for yourself can be a challenge in itself, to say nothing of the loopholes present in the process. If you are not really familiar with cars and the way the industry works, the chances of getting scammed are extremely high. The reason behind this because of the number of moving parts inside the car and the relative knowledge among the community. There have been so many instances where the new owner of a used car walked into one of our partnered garages with a recent purchase and a huge grin on their faces but walked out completely devastated. This is the reason we are putting together this article so that you, the consumer, are kept up-to-date about the emerging trends in the market and the essentials of car maintenance and repairing.

If you are new to the market and are looking to buy a car for yourself, these are the questions that you should be asking.

General Approach

The first step is to analyze the problem statement and then reach a relevant solution. If you have never owned cars before and this is the first time you are planning to invest in one, then you should be first asking questions about yourself and not the actual car. You should have an idea about the challenges you are facing in your life that have resulted in you needing a car and the purpose that the car is going to fill in your household. Asking yourself the following questions can definitely provide the starting grounds for your search:

  • Why do you need a car?
  • What purpose will the car fill in the household?
  • Who is going to be the main user of the car?
  • How many people do you expect to get in the car at any point in time?
  • How long will the car run everyday?
  • What are the environmental conditions around your region?

If you manage to answer these questions efficiently, then you will find yourself in a good position to move on to the next step. At this point, you should have a good idea about what size car you want and what you want to use it for. If not, then reassess the questions and decide whether you actually need a car or not! Are there alternatives? Can you do without a car? These are questions that you really need to answer for yourself and there’s no one that can help you in this regard! The next step of the process is extremely crucial. There are two types of cars available in the market, and depending on your use-case and budget, you need to decide on either of the following two options:

    • Used Cars
    • New Cars

While there is much less headache involved in buying a new car, it can also be extremely expensive to both buy and maintain. Also, there are chances that you do not need a new car. Perhaps you want to buy it for your son who just turned 18 and is learning to drive! There’s no point presenting him with a new car since he is new and the chances of a crash are high. Therefore, an old used car will fit perfectly in this use-case. However, if you are planning for a family car which you are going to use for daily commutes to the office and for road-trips with your family, then buying a new car makes sense. Therefore, decide on this before moving on to the next step. Keep in mind that you need to perform more checks when buying a used car as opposed to a new car, and therefore you should be prepared to spend some time on it. However, if you are buying a new car, then you do not need to spend much time questioning its quality as much as you would spend questioning its viability. Since the process involved in buying a used car is more extensive, we are going to focus on that first.

Questions To Ask When Buying a Used Car

Buying used car

So, now that you have decided that you are going to buy a used car, the next step is to decide on the following points:

  • Budget – How much can I spend?
  • Seating Capacity How many people do I expect to get in the car at the same time?
  • Mileage How much am I willing to spend for every kilometer I travel?
  • Make and Model Which brand do I prefer?
  • Usage What am I going to use the car for?

Needless to say, your budget will dictate your options. Whether you want a luxury sedan or an off-road SUV is completely up to you but make sure that your budget reflects your needs and wants. Also, if you have a micro family of four, then opting for an SUV too does not make any sense. Therefore, double-check and make sure that your choice reflects your needs and wants. People might think that choosing the appropriate model and make is the biggest challenge when buying a used car but that’s not the case. The main challenge is identifying the issues that are present in the car. The model and make is something that is quite irrelevant in this context. So now that you know your requirements and have decided on a model and make, conduct surveys into some of the leading car sellers in your locality and start collecting quotes. Your workflow should look something like this:

  • Decide on a model and make
  • Conduct surveys into the leading car sellers in your region
  • Collect quotes from all of them
  • Make extensive use of the internet to verify the current selling price of the car
  • Consult your family and friends who are knowledgeable about cars
  • Compare quotes from the sellers
  • Conduct research into the condition of the cars posted
  • Request a meeting with the seller
  • Verify details
  • Purchase the car

It might sound like a lot, but trust us, it actually isn’t. Plus, when it comes to investing in something so tangible like a car, you should definitely put in the time and effort to cross-check and verify the details before signing any deal. However, understanding the present condition of a car, especially one that has changed hands, is extremely difficult for a layman. Therefore, there are some ways you can get a general idea. Asking the seller some questions can definitely help in assessing the condition of the car, it’s use-cases and relative price. Following are a list of questions we have prepared for your convenience, so the next time you find yourself at a second-hand seller, make sure you have access to this document:

  1. Why are you selling the car?
    Thought Process: You will generally ask this to an individual or private seller. There must be a reason behind the person selling the car in the first place – it can either be for an upgrade or for certain issues with the car. Make sure you understand the reason behind reselling the car before actually buying it.
  2. How long have you owned the car?
    Thought Process: This will tell you exactly why the person is reselling the car and will confirm the reason given by him to the question mentioned above. If you see that he recently bought the vehicle and is selling it to you, then you can be sure that there is something wrong with it. However, if he has already owned the vehicle for a couple of years, then chances are that the reasons for reselling are natural.
  3. Who did you buy the vehicle from?
    Thought Process:
    If you notice that the car has been bought recently from another seller, then make sure you know who it is from. If you suspect any foul play, then you can directly contact the previous owner and get a hold of the details.
  4. What’s the condition of the car?
    Thought Process: Though you will eventually get the car thoroughly inspected, it’s always a good idea to note down the issues with the car from the perspective of its current owner. This will also reveal the truth behind his claims.
  5. Did the car have regular oil changes?
    Thought Process: Once you have a basic idea about the present condition of the car, try to acquire details about it’s past. Regular oil changes are a good starting point.
  6. Has the car been in any accidents?
    Thought Process: Once you have eased the owner into the topic, try to gather as much info as possible. You can be sure that the car has been in a couple of major accidents if it’s more than 5 years old. Try to ascertain whether he is speaking the truth or not.
  7. Has anything on the car ever been replaced or updated?
    Thought Process: Well, you will never find a used-car that has all its factory peripherals installed. You can be quite sure that some of the parts of the car have been replaced over time and asking this question will help you understand the problem areas better.
  8. What features don’t work the way they’re supposed to?
    Thought Process: No seller will actually want to reveal the problems with their car but asking this question will force them to reveal at least something. Don’t worry, you will get a proper picture of the car once you take it for inspection but it’s good to know whether the seller is trying to play you or not.
  9. Are service records available?
    Thought Process: Service records for all cars should be stored by its owners. If the seller refuses, then there is definitely something wrong with the car. Also, acquiring the service records will help you verify the above-mentioned claims.
  10. How long is the warranty?
    Thought Process: You should always ask whether the car is within the warranty period or not. Cars that have crossed the warranty period lose their value significantly. If the car is not covered, then you should negotiate the price accordingly.
  11. What does the warranty cover?
    Thought Process: This comes into effect only if the car is within the warranty period. If yes, then you should know the repairs that are covered within the warranty.
  12. What are some common repairs?
    Thought Process: This is nothing but providing the seller with another chance to come clean about the pending repairs on the car. It is extremely important that you know the present condition of the car, and hence, the double question.
  13. Are there any mechanical problems I need to know about?
    Thought Process: Give the seller an ample amount of opportunities to convey the actual repairs required in the car. This will also provide you with multiple outs if you do not happen to like the vehicle.
  14. What service has the dealership performed on the car since acquiring it?
    Thought Process: It is generally a good idea to not only know about the current problems with the car but also have a general idea about the troubles of its past. The service records of the car should contain all the work that has been done on the car to date.
  15. Can I see the maintenance history of the car?
    Thought Process: Once you have a general understanding of the current condition of the car, politely ask for the service and maintenance records. This will verify whether he was speaking the truth up until this point or not.
  16. Are there any additional fees?
    Thought Process: Ah! The additional fees! Pending taxes, pending court-cases and certain other numbers that don’t exactly make sense. Therefore, make sure that there are no outstanding payments due on the car before finalizing any deal.
  17. How many kilometres are already on it?
    Thought Process: The odometer should tell you exactly how much the car has travelled since it’s purchase. However, tampering with the odometer is something that is done by resellers on a regular basis. Therefore, try to verify the kilometres displayed on the odometer with the actual condition of the car. A seasoned user will be able to tell the difference immediately. If you are unable to differentiate, try taking someone knowledgeable with you when you visit the seller.
  18. How did you arrive at this price?
    Thought Process: Some trick questions are necessary to actually understand the current condition of the vehicle. The price of any used vehicle heavily depends on its condition, so asking the right questions can provide you with the right answer. Try to ascertain whether his justification behind the price of the car is legit. However, if you do have doubts, we highly recommend taking an experienced friend along with you.
  19. How long of a test drive can I take?
    Thought Process: A test drive is a must when you are buying a used car, the only question is the amount of time you can take it out for a spin. Sometimes, the owner might comply and give you a couple of hours while other times they will limit you to 15 minutes. To be honest, 15 minutes is simply not enough to understand the condition of the car, so if the owner insists on such, then we suggest that you walk away. Always offer the current owner to tag along with you, after all, it’s their car.
  20. Can I take the car for an independent inspection?
    Thought Process: An independent inspection is a must before buying a used car. If the present owner refuses, then walk away right then and there. Also, in some cases, the owner might be skeptical in handing over the keys to a complete stranger. In such a case, suggest bringing in his/her own trusted mechanic to their garage and get it inspected. Match the results with the maintenance history records provided by the seller.
  21. Is there any reason you wouldn’t drive the car cross-country tomorrow?Thought Process: This is one question that always catches them off-guard and questions like this are extremely important. The seller is probably experienced in selling cars and has probably run the script through his head thoroughly but when unexpected questions like this are asked, they are quickly put out of their comfort zone. Pay close attention to his reaction and his immediate reply in order to catch tell-tell signs of a scam. However, if he laughs it off and appears amused, then chances are that he is not taking you for a spin.
  22. Do you have the title in hand?
    Thought Process: Well, you are buying a car – you need the title. Make sure the seller has it on them.
  23. When can I get the car delivered?
    Thought Process: Once a deal has been finalized, try to get the car delivered as soon as possible. If necessary, try to drive back the car yourself once the amount has been settled. Don’t give the seller time to tamper with the car once payment has been made. Also, get the car inspected if a couple of days have passed since the deal has been finalized. Some sellers will try to replace original parts with fake ones, so be very careful.
  24. Will you be available for follow-ups if I find issues with the car later?Thought Process: Well, you do not expect the seller to vanish after the deal has been finalized. Make sure you keep a small window open so that you can follow up with the seller if you happen to find any issues with the car.
  25. Are any financing options available?
    Thought Process: If the car in question is quite expensive, then one would expect financing options, especially if it’s a Lambo or a Bentley. Therefore, check beforehand whether such options are available and if yes, at what rates.
  26. Do you have both the keys on you?
    Thought Process: All cars have a spare set of keys. Make sure you have both when you leave with the car or you might just wake up to an empty garage.

Hopefully, now you have a basic idea about the things you need to be wary about when buying a used car. However, if you are planning to buy a new car, then the process is comparatively much easier. 

Questions To Ask When Buying a New Car

Buying a new car in Dubai

A new car does not require any additional checks or verification if you are buying it from the official dealer itself. However, you should always be on the lookout for problems. Therefore, it is always a good idea to conduct a basic check-up before providing the bank details. Here are some questions that will help you understand the deal better (provided you have an idea about what make and model you want):

    1. How long is the warranty?
      Thought Process: The warranty is one of the first things you should cover. Most manufacturers provide warranties based on either time-period of use or the total distance covered by the vehicle in question. If you are a heavy user, then going for the time-based option will benefit you.
    2. What does the warranty cover?
      Thought Process: Just knowing the warranty period doesn’t help, you should also know what the warranty covers. There are certain problems that the warranty does not cover generally, so make sure you are aware of the details before signing up.
    3. What are the financing options available and at what rates?
      Thought Process: Financing is a big part when it comes to buying a new car. Be aware of your present credit score before signing up for any deals. Also, make sure that you read all the offer documents carefully and ask the dealer to read out all the clauses if you are still unsure.
    4. What are the additional charges?
      Thought Process: There are always additional charges associated with the sale of a new car. Double-check the additional costs and ask the retailer to explain them before signing any deals.
    5. Has the car been used a demo?
      Thought Process: Many new cars are used as demos in the showrooms. They are handed out as test-drives and this can sometimes cause damage to the car. Make sure the car you buy has not been used as a demo or does not contain any damages as a result of the same.
    6. Has there been recalls?
      Thought Process: Many models have been recalled in the past due to a specific issue with its manufacturing. Make sure that the model you have chosen does not have any such flaws. In addition to asking the dealer for such issues, always go on the internet and make a basic search.
    7. Are there any discounts?
      Thought Process: Who doesn’t love discounts? We know we do! There are various promotional car offers active at any given time at popular showrooms but they are not always apparent. Sometimes, the dealers try to hide such offers if they feel they can close the sale without the use of it. Asking this question forces them to reveal all their secrets!
    8. Are there any discounts or after-sales services provided by the manufacturer?
      Thought Process: Some manufacturers provide discounts and after-sales services as a part of a promotional campaign. They might also provide various freebies for their valuable customers. However, most dealers tend to not convey these so as to make a small profit out of it. It can be something as handy as air freshener kits or something as small as additional seat covers but quite essential nonetheless.
    9. Is this the best you can do?
      Thought Process: Save the trick question for the last. Sometimes this can get further discounts, sometimes it’s just a shot in the dark. However, there is no harm in asking. Is there?

So there you are! These are some questions you should ask before buying any car from the market. If you still have additional issues, feel free to contact us here for further help! We can, with Carcility!

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