Top Questions to Ask When Buying a Car


Do you feel lost at the car dealership? If you walk through those doors without a clear direction, it’s easy to feel powerless. Without a plan, you’re at the mercy of a car salesperson who has goals that definitely are not aligned with your own. After all, no one enters the showroom planning to spend the most money possible.

It’s time to regain control. Know which questions you should ask before you meet with a salesperson, and you’ll retain the power position.


Here are some of the top questions you should ask:

Does the car come with a warranty?

Once you’ve found the car of your dreams, it’s important to cover the final details. After all, these are things that should be included in your final price. As with anything in life, you want to know what you’re paying for. This question is especially important when you’re buying a used car, regardless of model year. New cars typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but there are no guarantees with used cars. Some newer model used cars may still be under the manufacturer’s warranty while others may be under a new dealer warranty. Always ask for the details and compare the warranty on any car you’re considering.

What are some common repairs?

Certain cars are prone to specific repairs. For example, one make and model may have a history of transmission issues while another has a problem with suspension over time. A good salesperson will try to smooth over any issues as past problems, but insist that you find out about them. These issues may or may not be in the past, so it’s good to be prepared. If a car has a history of expensive repairs, you may want to opt for a different make and model.

What are the additional fees?

Every car purchase comes with additional fees. Even if you’re paying cash, expect to pay more than what’s on the sticker. For every car, you should expect to pay tax, title, and tag fees. These are standard, and you must pay them for every car you buy. But you’ll want to ask specific questions about the fees because there may be some unexpected dealer-initiated fees. It’s a sneaky tactic, but you don’t want to find out about it as you’re signing the paperwork and writing a check.

What is the gas mileage?

Gas mileage is a tricky number because it varies. You may find that you never quite get the number quoted by the car manufacturer, but these estimates are regulated, so they serve as great benchmarks for comparison. And if you’re buying a used car, you’ll want to know how many miles are on the vehicle. Be sure to check again if you visit the dealership more than once. It’s unlikely yet possible that there could be a significant change between visits.

Does anything else come with my purchase?

Some dealers offer extra perks when you purchase from them. These may include things like free car washes or oil changes for the life of the vehicle. This is also an excellent time to ask about any dealer incentives or special car clubs you may have just gained entry to. For example, people who own Jeep Wranglers and Mini Coopers belong to special auto clubs and often have meetings where they get together and drive. There’s no monetary value, but it’s a cool perk that usually comes with specialized vehicles.

If you’re tense about your new car purchase, try to relax a bit. When you know what to ask, you can retain control over the process and make a sound decision. And if the salesperson ever says something you don’t understand, please don’t be afraid to ask them to explain. You are the customer, and you should only make a purchase if you understand what you’re buying.