What To Ask When Buying a Used Car

5 Questions to ask when buying a car


Often when someone is looking to buy a used car, they find the one they want, get to the dealership, take it for a test drive, then get to talking prices before asking some important questions. Don’t worry, here at Bill Luke, our team has come up with 5 questions you should be asking any time you are purchasing a used car before you sign that dotted line. These questions will cover nearly all aspects of the car, bumper to bumper all the way up to finances.

How was the car maintained?

One of the first questions you want to ask is how the car was maintained by the previous owner or owners. Usually, you will be able to get a good idea of that based on the interior when you go for a test drive, but this question will also be able to cover the engine. You will first want to find out if the car was being serviced at a dealership, independent mechanic or a mechanic who is not affiliated with a garage, often referred to as a “shade tree” mechanic. Once you are able to find the servicer, you will then want to ask for the records or the CarFax. With that information you will be able to determine whether or not the car was serviced on a regular basis and is up to date will help ensure the longevity of the vehicle. 

Request Maintenance Records

Has it been in any accidents?

Another question that many people would think they don’t need to ask because it should be on the record is whether the vehicle has been in an accident or not. In most cases the vehicle reports are up to date and accurate but don’t leave it to question, always ask! If the answer is no, then great this portion is checked off the list. If the answer is yes, then you need to find out how the vehicle was damaged and how it was fixed. Many times, the insurance may not pay the full price for repair and some service garages will take shortcuts to “fix” the vehicle. This is an important question to ask because if the damage is not fixed correctly, not only can it cause the vehicle to not work properly, but it can also allow for serious safety features to malfunction or work improperly. 


Is the car still under warranty?

Even though you are buying the used car from a dealership, depending on the year and mileage of the car, the original warranty from the manufacturer may have expired. This is a good question to ask because you want to know what you are getting with the car as soon as you drive it off the lot. If the car is still under warranty, you are in a good position because if you were to drive it off the lot and something were to go wrong, either the dealership or manufacturer will cover the cost, assuming the issue is covered by warranty. If you find out the car is not still under warranty and comes “as is” you would want to know that to ensure that you get proper coverage and insurance through the dealership to cover any issues. Often a purchase will come with a 90-day warranty, but you can obviously upgrade from there to what you desire and feel comfortable with. 

Can I take the car to my mechanic for an independent inspection?

When you are near the end of the decision-making process and you feel confident you want to buy the car, ask the dealer if you can take the car to a personal mechanic for an independent inspection. Depending on the answer from the seller should be telling enough but it is never a bad idea to be safe when spending a large amount of money. If the seller doesn’t balk at the request, then you should be able to feel safe knowing they have nothing to hide, to their knowledge, and the car is in good condition. It can become a red flag when the seller becomes hesitant and defensive on the position that the car is in good condition, they had their own mechanic look at it, and that it doesn’t need another opinion. 


How would this car impact my insurance premiums?

Lastly, once you have everything involving the physical car taken care of and you’re sitting down with the finance manager to decide what payment works for you, you want to find out how the car you are buying will impact your insurance premium. There are many factors that go into your insurance pricing aside from your driving record and age, which are common starting points. Your insurance premium can either increase or decrease depending on other factors, such as, safety restraint devices, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, and most importantly vehicle type. Your insurance rates are going to be significantly higher if you are driving a 2022 sports car vs. a 2016 SUV. Again, when you sit down with the finance manager, they will be able to give you a rough estimate based on the car you are purchasing, but only the insurance company can give you a definitive quote. It doesn’t hurt to call and speak with your insurance representative prior to finalizing the deal.


With this list, the next time you walk in to purchase a new car, we want you to feel confident knowing you have all the right questions to ask. Often, people go to buy a new car and are either so excited or nervous they forget what they want to ask. Print out the list below and feel free to carry it in with you next time. Here at Bill Luke we are always willing to answer any question you have and provide the best experience possible when you purchase from us, so feel free to stop in and check out our inventory!

List of Questions

1) How was the car maintained?

2) Has it been in any accidents?

3) Is the car still under warranty?

4) Can I take the car to my mechanic for an independent inspection?

5) How would this car impact my insurance premiums?

Bill Luke Santan 33.2893926, -111.7617546.