Have you ever bought a car, just to realize later that you neglected to ask some fundamental questions? Don’t worry it happens to a good number of us and not unless you are a professional car dealer there is little you could have done. Buying a car isn’t as easy as you might think. To land on a good car deal, there is more to it than just price. You might be lucky if the car is new, zero millage but if it is pre-owned; second hand. Most car dealers are chasing money so they might convince you to buy a faulty car and because you know little about cars, you will fall for it. So before you commit ask yourself these five fundamental questions.
1- Is the current paint original?
I know you are wondering what does paint has to do with car performance. Well, it probably has more to do with the state of the car more than its performance. If the car has been resprayed, it might be an iceberg of repairs, fixes and a dozen problems you would not want to get into for a “new” car.
2- Why is the car being sold?
Asking the seller this question opens up grounds to be lied to. You might get the classic lie; the car was previously owned by an old lady, or a mechanic or a rich rude who only took it for tests on Sundays. If you recognize deceit in the answer you get, that is a sign the car probably has problems the seller doesn’t want you to find out. Most people plan to dispose of their cars when they start to experience mechanical problems. Because it might be expensive to fix the cars, they just do first aid repairs then transfer the problem to the next owner. This is a trap you should avoid falling into.
3- Is the car logbook available for transfer?
More often than not, the car dealer will tell you there is a perfectly good logbook and demand to see it. If you get the classic lies it is in someone else’s name and stuffed in a shelf somewhere in an old cabin; run. You might have landed on fraudulent car dealers who want to sell you a car with no proper papers or even a stolen one. We have all heard people who have bought cars only to realize later it was stolen or had been used to commit a crime.
4- Can you take it for a test drive?
When you have conducted a thorough background check on the car ownership and paper details, and you are convinced that it might be a good deal, then you need to take it for a test drive. It is the only way you can feel for yourself the car’s transmission, its performance if the synchromesh is worn out. It is your chance to test all the drama that the dealer would not want you to discover. If possible ask for an expert opinion, you can carry a friend who knows more about cars than you do or a mechanic you trust to diagnose serious problems that you might not detect yourself.
5- Check out maintenance history.
For people who care about their cars, they have a good record of their maintenance history. This entails how often they change the engine oil, break transmission fluid, oil and air filters, and other engine maintenance activities. If the record is not sequential, and frequent, that might be a sign the car might have engine problems down the line. Changing engine oil should be religious otherwise you might buy a car only to change the engine two weeks later. You can also ask for a mechanics log which might inform you if the car had been repaired for dents, or fitted with new parts.
There are a million questions you should ask before buying a car. However, these five are the ones we feel are most important to you. Buying a car is hard, and you should not do it alone. If possible, get a mechanic you can trust he will tell you the car’s condition even before you take it for a test drive. Just by listening to the engine throttle or the idling sound a mechanic will tell you if he can detect any problems or throttle difficulties.