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What to Ask When Buying a Used Car in Alberta

What to Ask When Buying a Used Car in Alberta

If you've never bought a used car, chances are you have a lot of questions. Here's what to ask when buying a used car so you can be fully informed.

Keyword(s): what to ask when buying a used car

Aiming to buy a second-hand car?

They're more affordable and retail sales for used cars grew into a $9.8 billion CAD industry back in 2016. People buy used cars because they're affordable and yet still reliable.

But how can you make sure you're not getting scammed? How sure are you that you're not buying a stolen car or one with a dying engine?

You need to know what to ask when buying a used car. With the right questions, you can discover more about the car without stepping behind the wheel and risk both life and wallet.

Know What to Ask When Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is a big investment, even if it is more affordable compared to a brand new vehicle. You're still putting your finances on the line. Things can get ugly if that car turns out to be a black hole of repair expenses and trouble.

Knowing what to ask when buying a used car will guard you against scams and poor investments. You can dig in and learn more about the car to determine if its selling price is worth it or if the seller is hiding something.

It all starts with asking the seller why they put the car on the market in the first place.

Why Sell the Car?

The reason you want to ask this question is to get two details out of the seller. First, you want to know if the transaction is clean and second, to gauge the real value of the car.

Sellers may want to get rid of the car quickly. They might need the cash for an emergency, like paying hospital bills or school fees. They might also want to get the cash fast so they can pay the down payment for another car they're buying.

Other sellers won't provide a clear answer. This is a bad sign because it hints the seller is hiding something fishy. It's possible the car is breaking down or it could be a stolen vehicle.

To dig in further, find out how many owners the car had in its lifetime.

How Many Previous Owners?

Here's how to know if a car is trouble: if it's fairly new but went through multiple owners in only a few years. This is a sign that those owners let go of the car because it's not a good investment. There could be something wrong with it, even when it was brand new.

There are cases of brand new cars getting recalled due to manufacturing defects. It's possible the current owner wants to hide these defects and wants to get rid of the car before they invest too much into it.

Not all used car deals are nightmares, however, and you may find a used car that went through the years under the car of few owners. You may find a car that is 10 years old but only ran under the care of two owners. This shows they enjoyed the car and that it delivered its promise to them, otherwise they wouldn't have kept it for so long.

How High is the Car's Mileage?

Even if the car has seen a lot of good use and care, it will give in over time. This is why the next thing to ask the seller is the car's mileage. You need to estimate how many more years the car has in it before it breaks down beyond reasonable repair.

19,500 km or 12,000 miles is the average mileage per year. Not every car gets driven around that much but this is a good target number to help calculate a used car's value.

If the mileage is too high, you might want to ask some follow-up questions like whether the car went through repairs or accidents in the past few years. If the mileage is too low, ask why the owner didn't drive the car around often. Does it break down after long drives?

This leads to the next question. When you're not sure what to ask when buying a used car, you can always start by asking if the vehicle went through harsh weather.

Has the Car Been Through Extreme Weather?

Driving a car in the winter and in extreme heat can cause tremendous damage to the engine and other sensitive parts. Snow leads to salt deposits and rust while extreme heat can cause overheating, leaks, and cracks.

It's always possible that the owner drove the car through extreme weather but is not aware of any issues. You should at least know so that you can tell a mechanic and they'll know what to look for when they conduct an inspection.

Any Accidents or Major Repairs?

Out of all the questions to ask, you must ask if the car went through major accidents and repairs. Even the slightest incident has to be on paper. This lets you see whether those damages could recur in the future and cause you trouble, long after you bought the car.

Another reason to ask is that a car that went through multiple accidents and repairs won't sell well in the market. When you want to get rid of the car yourself, you may find some difficulty when people see its history.

Knowing its road history will also prepare you for other expenses. At the very least, you'll know if you have to shell out more cash in the future for additional repairs or modifications.

If you're applying for a car loan for used cars, this is among the first details you'll have to fill up. The riskier the car, the less likely you'll get a loan because it's a bad investment for both you and the lender.

Can I Get a Carfax Report?

Last but not least, ask for a Carfax report. Carfax services cars both in Canada and the United States and this document will verify everything the seller tells you. This is the one document you need to see before finalizing whether you'll spend the money on the vehicle or not.

With this document, you'll see its owner history, last known odometer reading, any instances of accidents, repairs from known shops, and commercial or private use.

Get a Reliable Used Car Today

When you know what to ask when buying a used car, you can filter the broken options from the good ones. You may find a used car that still has a few years of life into it and for a reasonable price.

Whether you're still in the process of eyeing a car or looking for financing, you can rely on us to help you reach the finish line. Message us at any time and we'll secure you the loan you need for the car you want!

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