Questions to Ask a Seller When Buying a Used Car

Questions to Ask a Seller When Buying a Used Car


We have put together this list of questions that you should ask the seller. I highly recommend that you print it out and fill in as many blanks as possible. The answers will help you in two ways. They will provide guidance to let you compare various cars that you have looked at. Secondly, once you have decided on a particular car, use the answers from the sheet to negotiate the best price.

General Information and Features

What is the year, model, and color of the car? How many miles are on the car?
Is the car manual or automatic transmission? What options are on the car?
Are the seats vinyl, cloth, or leather?
If the seats are electric are they working normally? Does the car have an alarm and does it work?
Does the car alarm ever false trigger? How often?

Ownership and History

Why is the owner selling the car?
How many owners has this car had?
Was the car driven by a person who smokes?
Has the odometer ever been rolled back?
What is the 17-digit VIN# of this car?
Does the car have an extended warranty?
If so, is the Extended Warranty transferable to a new owner?
(This can only be verified in writing from the existing policy). Has the title been branded as junked, flooded, totaled, etc.?
In some states, they are required by law to disclose this in the ad
Has the car been in an accident, if so, was there frame damage?
What was the cost of the repair?
Has the car ever been repainted?
How often was the car waxed?
Has the car been used for hire as a taxi or limousine?
Does the seller have the title in their possession for inspection?
Is the seller acting on behalf of a dealer?

Maintenance and Condition

Do they have all maintenance records?
Proof of tune-ups and oil change receipts?
What are all the major problems with the car?
What is the condition of the paint on the car?
Are there any major scratches, dents, or dimples in the paint?
Is there any rust on the car?
How is the condition of the interior, seats, dash & roof?
Are there any transmission problems?
If manual transmission, when was the clutch last replaced?
Does the A/C blow cold and does the heater blow warm?
Is the battery, alternator, and starter in good condition?
Any electrical problems with the car? Does the Radio work?
Does the car have an oil leak, transmission leak, or radiator leak? When was the last time the radiator was flushed?
When was the last time the A/C system was worked on? Does the car burn oil or have white exhaust?
What month was the last oil change?
When was the last tune-up or fuel injector cleaning?
How old are the tires and when were they last replaced? If the car has headlight motors do they work properly? Do the power doors and power windows work?
Is the dashboard cracked?
Is there a CD changer and is it working? Any skipping problems with the CD player? Are all speakers working properly?
Does the water pump make any strange rattles or noises? When was the battery or alternator replaced last?

Drivability Issues

Does the car drive straight or does it pull to the right or left?
When was the last time the tires were aligned?
Any problems with excessive wear and balding on the tires?


How low in price is the seller willing to go?
When can the car be picked up by the buyer?
Can the car be brought to a mechanic for an inspection?
Does the seller have the title to the car?
Does the seller have proof that the car is theirs to sell?
Does the seller have a valid driver’s license to prove ownership?
Is any money still owed to a bank for a loan on the car?
How many people have looked at the car? What are the offers?