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Woman in car dealership talks to salesman

Car shopping isn’t easy. There are many places to look for vehicles, different safety and convenience features available, sources of information to read reviews from, and financial matters to take into consideration. You’re likely going to have a lot of questions throughout the process. In order to make an informed purchase, here are eight questions you should ask the dealer before buying a vehicle. 

Quick Facts and Figures to Gather About the Car 

Before you get into the more personalized questions, there are a few baseline facts you should know about the car besides just the make, model, and exterior color. Find out the vehicle’s: 

  • Year 
  • Mileage 
  • Average miles per gallon (MPG) 
  • Listing price (This may be negotiable, but you want to know the dealer’s starting price, especially if it’s way out of your budget.)

8 Other Questions to Ask the Car Dealer 

If you don’t already know those things listed above, they’re certainly the first questions to ask. After those softball questions, here are others to ask. New cars for sale at dealership

  1. Has this Vehicle Ever Been in an Accident? The bottom line is that you don’t want to be buying a car that’s been in a collision before, as it’s more likely to have hidden problems and be worth less; it could still have damage or may have been improperly repaired.
  2. How Many Prior Owners Has the Vehicle Had? Cars with only one prior owner are ideal, as you want to know as much about the vehicle’s history as possible. Be wary of cars that have had multiple owners in a relatively short span of time.
  3. Can I See the Vehicle History Report? Better yet, you should be able to find out the answers to questions 1 and 2—plus more information, like service history and type of owner (personal or commercial, leased or owned)—by asking for the vehicle history report. You can also find this yourself on CARFAX.
  4. Does it Come with a Warranty? Some used cars come with a warranty. If it does, find out what’s included. If not, you may consider purchasing an extended warranty.
  5. Are There Any Outstanding Recalls? When buying from a dealer, the answer should be no. But if you find there are recalls on the car, the dealer should take care of those repairs before selling it.
  6. Can I Test Drive It? If you haven’t taken the car for a spin yet, do it! There’s no better way to get a feel for the vehicle. Plus, by driving it yourself, you may notice hidden issues you wouldn’t have caught just by looking at it.
  7. Do You Offer Financing? And How Much Will Monthly Payments Be? You should go into the used car buying process with an understanding of your budget (don’t forget about taxes and fees, too). Have an idea of the down payment you’ll make and how much you can afford for a monthly payment. Most dealers offer financing services to qualified buyers, and they can help you apply on the spot. You’ll have to agree to a credit check before they can approve you for financing.
  8. Can I Trade in My Current Vehicle? And if so, how much will you pay me for my car? Different dealers might offer you different prices. When trading in your vehicle, use online resources like Kelley Blue Book to determine how much your car is worth. 

Know that you can (and should!) ask the dealer as many questions as you’d like before making a purchase. A vehicle is no small investment, so it’s important to ensure you’re making the decision that’s right for you. And when it comes to insuring this investment, that’s another important decision to make. Luckily, the World Insurance team is on standby to answer any and all questions you may have about auto insurance.



This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.


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