Black Friday is fast approaching. While many will work off their Thanksgiving meals running around a mall, others will head to the car dealership in hopes of getting an end-of-year deal. Before you rush to the car lot, do your homework.

Our Consumer Auto Advocate appeared on FOX45 to share a few of the questions you should be asking when buying a car.

  • If you’re buying a used car, ask if you can have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic. If there is something that comes up, ask if the seller can have it fixed before you purchase.
  • Ask to see the history of any used car. This can be service records, CARFAX reports or whether the vehicle has ever been in an accident.
  • You’ll also want to know the average cost of maintenance for the particular vehicle. Some cars are much more expensive to maintain and service than others and you don’t want to be shocked when you see the bill for your first oil change.
  • For used cars, ask if it is a “Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle.” This means the vehicle has been inspected and certified by the manufacturer. The benefit of buying a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle is that it typically comes with an extended warranty or special financing.
  • For dealers that offer warranties, ask questions to help you understand what is covered and more importantly, what is not. Also find out how long the car is covered, the total cost and whether its transferable should you want to sell the vehicle before the contract period is over.
  • If the car is no longer under contract, there are vehicle protection plans, also known as extended auto warranties, which help avoid expensive repairs.
  • Safety ratings are important too. Ask about the vehicle safety ratings and what safety features are included. This will give you piece of mind – and can also lower your insurance costs.

Make sure you do your homework to make sure you’re buying the car that’s right for you. If you don’t, you may be in for some costly surprises.