Avoiding A Lemon: 4 Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car can sometimes be a stressful, anxiety-inducing experience. The average consumer usually doesn't know what to look for in a used car, and assumes that the process is roughly similar to buying a new car. If you're not confident in your ability to avoid picking a lemon off the used car lot, and want to make buying a used car a more pleasant experience, check out the four questions below you should ask at the dealership to get you started.

What exactly does ''certified'' mean?

Many times you'll find a dealership that brags about its certified used vehicles, and in some cases they have good right to. But the difference between various dealer certification programs is vast. Find out exactly what was done to the car before it earned the certified label. Many dealerships purchase cars previously used as rental vehicles and after a quick once-over, attempt to pass them off as virtually new. Make inquiries as to where and when the vehicle was purchased.

What is the Vehicle Identification Number?

The VIN number is usually necessary to obtain a vehicle history report. These reports are offered by a variety of companies and can tell you a lot about the vehicle: whether or not the odometer has been rolled back, or an insurance company claimed the car as totaled in an accident, or any number of negative things. If you don´t find anything wrong in the report, it's usually safe to proceed. 

When can I have the car inspected?

Work out a date and time with the seller (such as one from Kar Connection) during which you can borrow the car and take it to a trusted mechanic. Having a car inspected by a third party before purchasing it can save you countless dollars (and hours) trying to fix it. Though this is usually never a problem with private sellers, you may have to do some convincing with a dealer, especially if the car is not a certified pre-owned vehicle.

What else would you be willing to include in the price?

Even if you have negotiated the price down to a satisfactory point, it's not uncommon for sellers to agree to include various extras in the purchase price. These things can include a full tank of gas, an oil change, or even a quality car wash. Don't hesitate to ask for things that will get you the most for your money, and leave you driving away in a car that feels brand new.