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Questions to Get Answered Before Buying a Used Car - Discount Charity Vehicles


photo of lot with a bunch of used cars in a row and streamers overhead.

What to ask before you buy a used car

ant to know what you need to know before committing to your purchase of a used car or truck? Print out this quick guide that lists just about every question you should consider – and ask – your dealer or seller before you spend a dime.

General Information & Features

  • What is the year, model and color of the car?
  • How many miles are on the car?
  • Is the car manual or automatic transmission?
  • What options are on the car?
  • Are the seats vinyl, cloth or leather?
  • If the seats are electric are they working normally?
  • Does the car have an alarm and does it work?
  • Does the car alarm ever false trigger? How often?

Ownership and History

  • Why is the owner selling the car?
  • How many owners has this car had?
  • Was the car driven by a person who smokes?
  • Has the odometer ever been rolled back?
  • What is the 17 digit VIN# of this car?
  • Does the car have an extended warranty?
  • If so, is the Extended Warranty transferable to a new owner? (This can only be verified in writing from the existing policy).
  • Has the title been branded as junked, flooded, totaled, etc.? (In some states they are required by law to disclose this in the ad.)
  • Has the car been in an accident, if so, was there frame damage?
  • What was the cost of the repair?
  • Has the car ever been repainted?
  • How often was the car waxed?
  • Has the car been used for hire as a taxi or limousine?
  • Does the seller have the title in their possession for inspection?
  • Is the seller acting on behalf of a dealer?

Maintenance and Condition

  • Do they have all maintenance records?
  • Proof of tune ups and oil change receipts?
  • What are all the major problems with the car?
  • What is the condition of the paint on the car?
  • Are there any major scratches, dents or dimples in the paint?
  • Is there any rust on the car?
  • How is the condition of the interior, seats, dash & roof?
  • Are there any transmission problems?
  • If manual transmission, when was the clutch last replaced?
  • Does the A/C blow cold and does the heater blow warm?
  • Is the battery, alternator and starter in good condition?
  • Any electrical problems with the car?
  • Does the Radio work?
  • Does the car have an oil leak, transmission leak or radiator leak?
  • When was the last time the radiator was flushed?
  • When was the last time the A/C system was worked on?
  • Does the car burn oil or have white exhaust?
  • What month was the last oil change?
  • When was the last tune up or fuel injector cleaning?
  • How old are the tires and when were they last replaced?
  • If the car has headlight motors do they work properly?
  • Do the power doors and power windows work?
  • Is the dashboard cracked?
  • Is there a CD changer and is it working?
  • Any skipping problems with the CD player?
  • Are all speakers working properly?
  • Does the water pump make any strange rattles or noises?
  • When was the battery or alternator replaced last?


  • Does the car drive straight or does it pull to the right or left?
  • When was the last time the tires were aligned?
  • Any problems with excessive wear and balding on the tires?


  • How low in price is the seller willing to go?
  • When can the car be picked up by the buyer?
  • Can the car be brought to a mechanic for an inspection?
  • Does the seller have the title to the car?
  • Does the seller have proof that the car is theirs to sell?
  • Does the seller have a valid driver’s license to prove ownership?
  • Is any money still owed to a bank for a loan on the car?
  • How many people have looked at the car? What are the offers?
Categories: Car Buying

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