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What questions to ask when buying used or second hand cars from a private person

Updated on September 25, 2014

Tips in buying second hand cars- knowing what to ask is important!

Planning to buy a used car or a second hand car?

Why not? If you're willing to be diligent enough, you're gonna get a great buy. . . a comfy, stylish and a functional car of your dream. Great value for less amount. Who wouldn't want that? It's also possible that you may enjoy not only the fun ride but you may also delight in the process of selection while meeting new people and establishing new connections.

When buying second hand cars, one should be asking a lot of questions from the seller. Candid curiosity pays off big time in this exploit. What I am about to relate below are products of personal experiences which I know may vary depending on one's location and circumstance. Nevertheless, they are great tips worth trying.

Tips in buying second hand cars

  • First, there's no substitute in doing an actual ocular inspection (that is if you have the time; but if you're too busy, then. you can ask your questions first over the phone or via text messaging, whichever is more convenient for both of you; then, do the inspection of the second hand car later only if you are satisfied with the information you've got). You are then in good luck if the seller can bring the car to your location.

  • Whichever way it can be arranged, be sure to take a careful look at the physical condition of the second hand car and test drive prior to closing of the deal. There's no use asking for more questions if you don't want the car afterall by mere appearance. Bring a trusted mechanic or a person in the know with you to help you with the inspection if you are less confident in determining the road worthiness of the car by yourself (optional, of course.)

  • If the private person selling the used car is not known personally to you, determine who are you talking to, is the person the actual owner of the car for sale or not? If it won't be considered unethical by the other party, you may politely ask the reason why is he or she is selling the car? Ask for referrals. If you're working on a string budget, you would like also to know immediately what is the least selling price of the used car.

  • Ask for photocopy of the car's ownership documents. In my current location, we ask for certificate of registration and official receipts. Examine if the documents are in order, updated and if the details shown jibe with the representation of the seller, e.g. the certificate of registration will reveal if the seller is the first owner of the second hand car, while, the official receipt will show recent car registration details, among others.

  • Among the most important questions to ask, which hopefully, the seller will answer in all honesty, is if the used car has been involved in any mishap or accident before. This is very important since the useful life of car machine and value of the car itself are greatly diminished by damaged from accidents.

  • Ask also who usually drives the car and for what purpose. There is a presumption that ladies are more careful drivers than men (which could be debatable since deterioration can surely depend on several factors other than gender.). If the car is being used to carry heavy loads, then, it could lend to faster deterioration rate compared to a car that is merely for office use. Anyway, the mileage can show the extent of use of the car by the owner.

  • If the car is relatively new (few months or one to two years old), you should ask for records or history of maintenance, especially changing of oil, tires, break pads, repairs, etc.. Inquire on the tools that are usually in the car, are these tools still complete?

  • As far as the seller knows, are there something for repair? I would rather buy a second hand car from an honest seller who would admit needed repairs than from someone who would conceal these info only for me to find out by myself later to my dismay.

  • Finally, you could always thank the seller and walk away if you ae not satisfied with the car, or, in case, you want to buy it, arrange for payment details.


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    • profile image

      metaxeirismena aytokinhta 

      7 years ago

      thanks for tips,this will be very useful to me since i am planning to purchase a for the the first time and i don't have much idea of this stuff.

    • profile image

      best way to lose belly fat 

      8 years ago

      but will the owner tell you the truth on everything you ask them? still taking a risk there...

    • profile image

      how to get rid of eczema 

      8 years ago

      great tips thanks a lot. I will take note when I am going to buy my first car. (can't buy a new one just yet lol)

    • profile image

      toothache pain relief 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for these points. Really helped me a lot !! I don't have much money to buy a new car so was already planning to get one from a private person.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was looking for the same here is Good points about when we buying a car from private person. thanks, lol

    • Hendrika profile image


      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thanks for the tips. You cannot be too careful when buying a second hand car. You will always find the person that is trying to pull a fast one on you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think it's also a good idea when purchasing a used car to roll in the cost of possibly purchasing an auto warranty. We've had a number of people who have done so and it's helped them keep down the costs of repairs.

    • CarMoneyNews profile image


      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Hey I have some Helpful content really check out my hub

      Here is the link:

    • LoryRich profile imageAUTHOR

      Lory Rich 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      You are very much welcome Cindy. Have a nice day!

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      9 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks so much for answering my request, Lory


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