Before Buying a Classic Car, Ask These Questions

Before you settle on a classic car, have an in-depth conversation with the seller to figure out if it is worth your time. You don’t want to make the seller feel interrogated, but you should make sure that all of your concerns have been addressed before you make the big purchase. Rushing through questions puts the seller on edge, making them more likely to leave out important information, so take your time and keep the conversation light, but informative.

It is an unfortunate truth that classic cars do come with some unique problems. You can’t hide from the risks that come along with buying a classic car, but for many people the benefits far outweigh the potential costs. You can reduce your potential costs by taking the necessary precautions during the buying process, such as obtaining New Jersey Classic Car Insurance and asking the seller these key questions.

What about the title?

Cars with branded titles are prone to lingering issues from their repairs and may never run as good as they did before the event that left them without a clean title. This answer should be clear. If the seller starts with an explanation and does not give a simple, “Yes, it’s a clean title”, then that is a huge red flag.

Ask if the title is in their name. The last thing you want to do is invest time in a car only to find out the guy you were dealing with cannot legally sell you the car. Be wary of those selling cars for “their cousin” or “a friend”. If they still insist on acting as an agent for the seller, request a copy of the title and the seller’s driver’s license to be sent to you.

Where’s the registration?

Is the car currently registered? This is a sign that the car is being driven on a somewhat regular basis. Cars need to turnover several times a month just to stay active. If a car is not registered, you can bet it has been sitting for an extended period, and you can never be 100% certain of its condition.

Why are you selling?

Common things sellers say to deceive the buyer include:

  • “It needs more work than I want to do to it” (this probably means more work than YOU want to do to it too);
  • “It just needs one part and I don’t have the time to fix it”;
  • “This car in mint condition would sell for ten times what I’m asking”.

Is there any rust?

Rust is bad and usually a deal breaker. Sometimes an honest seller will say there is no rust on his car, because he is only looking at the car as it is parked in the garage. However, rust usually starts on the bottom of the car; this means the frame, wheel wells, exhaust, suspension, and floor. This requires the car to be looked at from underneath.

Was the car ever in an accident?

Classic cars have been around long before the internet took off to provide a specific car’s history. The seller may not know the answer to this question given the car’s history of owners, but it is worth asking. 


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