Car buying should be a fun and rewarding experience but here are 8 questions you can ask your salesperson to make sure you are buying the right vehicle.
1) Why are there so few/many? If there are too many the market is flooded with them and the resale value will reflect that. If there are too few it could be the vehicle is not demand for many reasons: poor safety, quality, just not liked by the market, etc.
2) What are the safety features/how safe is it? I can’t believe how many people will tell me they are looking for a safe vehicle but then don’t ask if it is safe. Ask your salesperson to point these things out, for example many manufacturers will say they have X number of airbags, where are they? A long time ago my mom bought an SUV that had something like 12 airbags and was a top IIHS pick. Yet when she totalled her car a few years after that she had a knee injury which would not have been as bad had the SUV had a knee airbag. Of course she thought her vehicle was a safe pick because of the sheer number of airbags advertised.
3) How is the resale value? The salesperson should tell you roughly what kind of depreciation you are looking at (little/major). If he can’t ask him to give you the going rate of some of the used vehicles in that make and model.
4) How long has it been in production? A few weeks ago I did a post explaining that a new model doesn’t mean problems but sometimes knowing that a car has been in production 30 years and the current generation for 2 years may help ease your mind that the bugs and kinks have been worked out.
5) What kind of cost of ownership am I looking at? This is where you want a detailed responses. Look for answers to reference awards the vehicle may have won and how it compares to other cars in this class. I’ve seen low priced vehicles that have abnormally high costs of ownership.
Sometimes the answers to these questions can be vague but they should always be confident in presenting them. If a salesperson is hesitant or they are unsure do not settle until you have the best answer. Remember, don’t ever be afraid to walk away from a deal.