We now come to the end of the Motors.co.uk ‘How to Car’ series. We’ve covered off some crucial aspects of the car buying process, including finding the perfect car, learning about the different optional extras, we’ve discussed the various ways to pay for it and even how to properly inspect it in the metal. Now, we get to the final stage – closing the deal.

Knowing what to ask when you’re buying a new car can prove tricky at times. With so many variables and so many areas to check out, having the right questions prepared for any given moment can seem daunting and a little unnatural, to say the least.

But ensuring that you’ve asked all the right questions is one of the key ways in which you can make sure that you’re getting the right car at the right price. We’ve put together some of the must-ask questions for when you’re buying a car.

Test drive

As mentioned in our last episode, you need to make sure that you’re getting some time behind the wheel of the car you’re looking at. This is critically important for a new car, as it’ll highlight any areas that you might not like about the vehicle as well as making sure that it feels ‘right’ for you.

When it comes to used cars, the test drive is even more essential. This is because it’ll give you an opportunity to test all aspects of the vehicle to make sure that it’s working as it should.

Once you’ve completed a test drive, it’s on to the negotiation stage. We’ve put together a set of questions which form an ideal place to start when it comes to finalising the purchase of a car.

Why are you selling the car?

This is a great question to ask as it’ll give you a better general picture of the car. People might be selling it for financial reasons, or because they’ve needed to upgrade to a large or more spacious vehicle. This is, of course, a question to ask a private seller. If you’re talking to a dealer, you might want to frame the question of “who was the car purchased from?” or “how many previous owners has it had?” instead.

Has the car been in an accident?

It’s always worth asking if the car has been in an accident, as a vehicle which has been involved in a collision could have underlying issues such as a warped chassis or tracking which is out of alignment. These issues should be noticeable on the test drive, but if not, then it’s always a good idea to ask.

Can my mechanic take a look?

Even if you don’t intend to have a mechanic take a closer look at a vehicle, it can be well worth it to ask the question. If a seller is openly happy to have their car inspected then they’ve probably got little to hide. However, if the seller is a little more hesitant to have a mechanic check out the car, then there might be a mechanical issue they don’t want to admit to.

Is there anything else I should know about the car?

A nice broad question, but a useful one. Private sellers are often more than happy to have a chat about their car and any experiences they’ve had with it, which only helps to paint a better overall picture of the vehicle. Ask about any servicing issues they may have had in the past, or if it’s been doing mainly motorway miles or shorter trips.

When’s the next service and MOT due

It’s a great idea to ask when the car was last serviced and whether or not it’s been kept within its servicing schedule. However, you can double-check this by looking at the servicing book (which should accompany the car) and checking the stamps.

You’re also welcome to ask about the MOT for the car, though this can quickly be checked via the Government’s MOT checker here – and it’s free, too.

Does it have any outstanding finance that you (the dealer) needs to pay off?

Any outstanding finance on a vehicle can lead to a real headache in the future and could see you being chased by providers for payment. It’s why it’s crucial that you check to see whether or not finance is outstanding on a vehicle.

If a seller isn’t forthcoming about this information, then it could be worth doing a history check on the car. There are a variety of providers online who will all charge a small fee for this service.

How many sets of keys does it come with?

A car traditionally comes with two sets of keys. The first is the main key and the second is a spare. However, often these spares are misplaced and lost, leaving just the primary key remaining.

It’s a good idea to ask if both sets are available. Getting a replacement spare can often be costly, so bear this in mind if it’s not present.

Can you do any better?

It can never hurt to ask if a seller can improve on their price. More often than not, sellers have a lower price in mind which they’ll usually factor in. As a result, if you ask, then there’s a good chance that they’ll bump the price down. However, don’t rely on this – some sellers might not budge and they’re certainly not entitled to do so.

So there we have it, the end of the ‘How to Car’ journey. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this exploration of the car buying process and have been able to glean some information which could make your next car purchase as smooth as possible.