You’re about to spend thousands, probably more like tens of thousands, on something that you have for many years. In this case it’s a car, so how many questions do you think you should ask? Actually, there’s no rule of thumb for how many questions you should ask, but just to throw something out there, one for every thousand dollars your about to spend sounds about right. All kidding aside, you should ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable with your purchase. Once you’ve bought the car, whether the reality is that you got a good deal, a great deal, or an amazing deal, as long as you feel satisfied that’s all that really matters.
Some questions you might want to ask are specific to new or used or certified pre-owned vehicles and some will apply to all of the above. Remember, there are a lot of dealerships out there, and even if you are looking at one particular brand if you don’t like what you’re hearing be prepared to walk away and start over somewhere else. This should be an experience you enjoy and are excited about, not one you dread.
No matter if you’re buying new or used, you’re going to pay some legitimate fees. The idea behind asking about them is threefold: One, you want to make sure you’re only paying fees that are valid for your transaction; two, you want to make sure the fees are on par with what every other dealership is charging (document fees are a good example here); and three, you want to know up front what’s going to be added to the final price of the car. If there’s something you’ve never heard of before or seems high, ask what the fee is for and why it applies to you. Be sure you know your state’s sales tax on automobiles (it can sometimes vary) so you can do that part of the math yourself. Basically, you want to know the bottom line.
Almost every car is going to come with some kind of warranty whether you buy it from a local used car lot or a big, brand name dealership. When it comes to a used car, you may only get a 30-90 engine warranty, but you’ll most likely get something. There are also after market, third party warranties that can be purchased at a lot of used car dealerships as well. When it comes to these, and certified pre-owned warranties, it’s a good idea to ask what, and for exactly how long, things are covered. Be sure you know all of the starting and end points, if there is a deductible (like with an insurance claim), and if you are responsible for any portion of the warranty work, like parts or labor. Warranties can give you a great peace of mind as long as they are worth the paper on which they’re printed.
So get out there and look for your new ride, and when it comes to questions, ask away!