Questions to Ask When Buying a New or Used Car

Buying a car—new or used—is a major financial decision. Before you buy, you’re likely to test drive a few different brands and models to get a feel for the vehicle you’re about to call your own.

You’ll also want to negotiate price, inquire about maintenance tips, and check out all the amenities. When you decide it’s time to sign the dotted line, you’ll likely have a few more questions. Don’t let the salesperson trip you up—here are a few important questions to ask to make sure you’re making a wise investment. 

6 Pressing Questions to Ask When Buying a Car

1. Does it come with four-wheel drive?

In a city like Seattle, winter can be brutal. You may need a car with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems offer increased traction and handling capabilities in snow, wet weather, and slick terrain. Plan on towning quite a bit? 4WD vehicles can also help.

Always ask about extra amenities before purchasing a new vehicle—especially 4WD, if you think you’ll need it. If you’re buying a used Subaru, you should also ask about its drivetrain capabilities.

2. How many miles are on the car?

If you’re buying a used car, the first question you’ll want to ask: how many miles are on the car?  Buyers tend to shy away from high mileage cars because they can be risky. It may need repairs more often and its remaining lifespan may be short. 

3. Are there additional fees?

Whether you’re buying a new or used car, you should always ask about additional dealer fees. You might be surprised to learn that you’re never just paying for the car itself. Documentation fees, registry fees, and sales tax are standard, but other fees can apply—and they’re not always discussed in the negotiation. Ask before you sign anything. 

4. What does the warranty cover?

When you purchase a new or used car, you’re making an investment. Chances are you aren’t paying cash for your new vehicle—instead you’re financing. Financing a car can help you repay the investment over time, but you’ll also want to ensure the car will remain in good working order until you make the final payment.

One way to ensure the security of your investment is to ask about warranty. Warranties could drop your maintenance costs for the first few years—and keep you covered if major manufacturer error occurs (like an engine issue!). 

If the warranty being offered seems too good to be true, ask lots of pressing questions about the manufacturer. Extended warranties may seem great on the surface, but it could have more to do with the dealer’s lack of confidence in the manufacturer. 

5. Can you hold the car while I make a decision?

Buying a new car is a major decision—and you don’t have to purchase the first car you view. Most dealership, new or used, will allow you a certain amount of time to hold the car while you make a decision or browse other dealerships. Some will offer to hold it for a few hours; others may hold the car for a few days. All you have to do is ask your dealer about their policy of holding a vehicle and follow that policy accordingly. 

6. Is that the best you can do?

Never take a car at face-value. Almost always, dealerships mark-up the price and are willing to negotiate to meet your needs (within reason). Before you start the negotiation process, make sure you’ve done some research on the market value of the car you want, and have a good idea of what it sells for elsewhere. If you come armed with information, you’ll be more likely to have the negotiation work out in your favor. 

7. Can we do a pre-purchase inspection? 

Pre-purchase inspections can save you from a lifetime of nightmares, especially when you’re buying used. Used cars, especially if they are from individuals or unfamiliar used-car dealerships, can come with unique sets of problems. Before you purchase, always ask the seller if you can perform an inspection before you sign the dotted line. 

Are you buying a used Subaru? Take it to a Subaru-specific mechanic. Trained Subaru-only technicians will know exactly what to look for and give you peace of mind that you are making a smart investment.

Suburb Service: Subaru Maintenance & Repair Near Seattle

Haven’t had your Subaru serviced in a while? Time for an oil change? Need to do a pre-purchase inspection? Bring your Subaru to Suburb Service for an oil change, inspection, or maintenance check-up. Having trouble with your Subaru? Let us take a look and see if you need a repair—schedule an appointment online or give us a call today at 206-364-8089 . Show your Subaru some love.

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