Questions to ask a car seller


Staff member
Deal, Kent UK
A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
What questions do you always make a point of asking someone selling a car?

If it's a dealer I tend to ask a lot less questions especially if there is a warranty attached.

On a private sale I try to get a feel for any recent work done and establish if the car is starting to become unreliable, the service history is important and I expect the owner to know about common faults and problems associated with that model of car.

What about you? What do you need to know about when buying a car?
I wouldn’t buy an expensive car privately, too much risk plus a dealer can offer more choice.

For a cheaper private sale, I’d certainly ask about service history and any faults the car has – whilst reserving a certain level of cynicism. If the car has a decent service history and a full matching set of good quality radial tyres then that’s a reasonable start. But really you have to rely on your own knowledge or take someone who can. You will really only find out long term once you buy it and run it.

I went to see an Avensis diesel a while back, supposedly low mileage for its year but the worn seats and pedal rubbers and the sagging suspension didn’t tally. I managed to access the saved numbers in his Bluetooth and noticed there were two local taxi firms in there, seemed like he had been moonlighting with them. I’ll bet the mileage was clocked too so obviously I walked.

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