Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car


Buying a used car can be a smart investment. The value of a used vehicle depreciates at a lower rate than the value of a new vehicle. But that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy the first pre-owned car you find.

Hidden problems can turn your investment into a money pit. To help avoid that, you should know what questions to ask when buying a new car. The more you learn about the vehicle, the less chance you have of getting a lemon.


There are two basic goals for the questions you ask a dealer or private seller before you buy a vehicle. Of course, you want to know if there is anything wrong with the car. But it’s also important to know if the car has any liens against it, which are placed when there is a debt owed that is backed by the vehicle.

Fortunately for the peace-of-mind of used vehicle buyers in Ontario, the provincial government makes it mandatory that the person selling the car must provide a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) to the buyer. So that’s the first thing you should ask for. Among other details, the UVIP gives you a vehicle history report, including a list of present and previous owners and vehicle lien information.

You can also the seller if they have a Carfax Report which gives you the vehicle’s damage and accident history, as well as recall information. If the seller doesn’t have one, you may want to get one yourself. One other way you can get a better idea of the condition of the car is to take the car to a mechanic and ask for a pre-purchase inspection.


  1. May I See the Service Records? Not everyone keeps the service records of their vehicles, but they should if they want to get maximum value for the car when they sell it. The service records show you the repair and maintenance history of the vehicle as well as what has been replaced or updated on the car.
  2. May I Take It for a Test Drive? If the seller makes any excuse whatsoever for not letting you take a test drive, or for how long of a test drive you can take, walk away.
  3. Ask About the Seller’s Personal History With the Car – Find out where they purchased the vehicle and how long ago. Also double-check with them about the maintenance and repair history to find out about any unseen work, like scratch and dent repairs in Toronto, that may have been performed on the car.

If you liked this post, check out our recent article on the best places to take photos of your car in Toronto.

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