How to Avoid Buying a Lemon When Shopping for a Used Car

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon When Shopping for a Used Car (PDF)

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Purchasing a used car can prove to be a costly experience if not handled correctly. You might end up buying a lemon, which is a pre-owned vehicle that has some problems. In most cases, these cars are misrepresented, so you end up paying much more than they actually are worth. Here are a few things that make a used car a lemon.

The test drive revealed evident issues

A test drive is one of the best ways to determine whether a vehicle is a lemon, so always make sure you take one for a spin before making a purchase. If you are unfamiliar with cars, get a test driver or a mechanic with you. You should look out for telltale signs like engine noise or strange vibrations when driving at high speeds because they indicate potential or existing problems.

No records of repairs

When selling a used car, the seller should provide a detailed record of the work done on the vehicle. Otherwise, the seller might be hiding something about it.

Neglect and abuse signs

If you don’t want to end up buying junk, you should get a used car inspection to notice signs of neglect and abuse. A well-maintained car is less likely to have significant issues. Look for signs of neglect like dents, dings, or odors. The presence of these signs does not necessarily mean that the car is bad, but it is more likely that someone who has neglected the appearance of the car has neglected the engine as well.

Level of performance

It is best to purchase a new car if you intend to buy a high-performance vehicle as people who buy high-performance vehicles usually do so to utilize the car’s capacity. Consequently, these vehicles tend to have been subjected to high stress and performance that might cause them to underperform.

Previous accident history

If you find out a used car you intend to buy has been involved in an accident, you may want to look elsewhere. Although a used car might seem spotless and well-maintained, you should determine whether the vehicle has been in an accident.

It’s too good to be true

If the deal seems too good, take a closer look at the car. The seller might be eager to sell a lemon.

Inadequate warranty

A used car warranty should cover you if the vehicle is in bad condition. Although this is relative to other factors, such as the result of an inspection, don’t buy a used car without an adequate warranty.