The Best Tips for Avoiding the Purchase of a Lemon Car

Buying a car that is both trouble-free and worth its value is all about applying good investigative and research skills. To avoid buying a lemon car and losing a lot of money, you must know how to spot potential problems and determine the reliability of the vehicle. This way you don’t have to worry about expensive repairs further down the road.


To help you avoid buying a lemon car, we are going to provide you with 6 basic tips that will ensure that you can easily get your hands on a used vehicle that is worth every penny. Here is what you need to do:

Get a Car History Record

The very first step towards buying a used car is to acquire a vehicle history report. You can go about getting the vehicle history report in several ways. These include:

·      Checking with the Dealership

Most dealerships will provide you with a vehicle history report on every car that they are selling. You can either ask a salesperson in the car lot or go to the dealership website and click on the vehicle history report.

·      Purchase a History Report

Another way to acquire the vehicle history report is to pay for it by going to websites like AutoCheck and Carfax. The standard vehicle history report is going to cost you about $30 or even more, depending on the number of reports that you order.

The vehicle history report will contain plenty of information that will help you decide if you should purchase this car or not. The information will include the maintenance history of the vehicle, whether it has a salvage title, and if it has had any accidents. When you’re checking the vehicle history report, keep an eye out for recurring maintenance problems which is a good sign that this is a lemon car.

Read the Window Sticker

All dealers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to post a Buyer’s Guide for every used vehicle they are selling. This guide is generally attached to the car’s window. It must include vital information about the vehicle. This includes whether the vehicle is being sold with a warranty or “as is”, and the percentage of repair costs that the dealer must pay.

The information in the Buyer’s Guide will overrule any provisions that have been made in your sales contract. This means that if it is stated in the Buyer’s Guide that the car is covered by a warranty, then the dealer will have to honor the warranty. If changes in the coverage are negotiated, the Buyer’s Guide will need to be changed to show those changes before the car is sold.

If the sale shows that the car is selling “as is” that means the dealer doesn’t guarantee anything about the condition of the vehicle, and any problems that occur after the purchase will be your problem.

Check the Exterior

You should walk around the car and look for chipped windows, broken lamp housings, mismatched body parts or panels, chipped paint, and dents. The gaps between the body panels must be consistent and not appear out of place. Closely inspecting the exterior of the vehicle can easily help you identify paint that has been sprayed over and a body panel that has been repaired.

You can use a magnet to test a body filler, and if the magnet doesn’t stick to the panel, it means that the car has filler under the paint. A trunk, door, or hood that doesn’t close properly is a good indication that there was previous damage and the car has had bad repair work. If the body panel has a CAPA sticker on it, this means that part has been replaced, and if there are inconsistent welds around the trunk, doors, and hoods, it shows repairs have been done on those parts.

Take It for a Test Drive

It’s important that you take the car out for a test drive so that you have a better understanding of how it feels to drive it. When you take it out for a test drive, you should pay attention to:

·      How the Car Handles

Take the car out on roads that are similar to what you will be driving on, like curvy roads, long straightaways, or hilly terrains. This will help you judge the power of the car and other handling attributes that you will come across when commuting to work or other roads.

·      How the Car Runs

You want to know how the engine sounds, so listen to the car once you start it and let it idle for a bit. If the car shows hesitations, misses, and unnatural engine behavior, it’s a good sign that it will face problems later. You should also check the thermostat to see if the car overheats which will indicate a problem with the cooling system or the radiator.

·      Other Vehicle Systems

You must also check all the electrical systems of the vehicle, like the power locks, power windows, lights, and the radio. These secondary systems should be functioning properly, and if they aren’t you must ask the seller the reason why don’t work.

Take the Car to a Trusted Mechanic

You must take the car to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection so that you avoid purchasing a lemon. Most of the times, a mechanic will manage to detect problems that you may have missed out on. The common areas that mechanics check include:

·      The Suspension

The mechanic will go underneath the vehicle to check its suspension, and if they notice any rust, it is a good sign of water damage. The mechanic will also check the suspension to ensure all the tie rods and other linked components are in good condition.

·      The Engine

The mechanic will not only check if the engine runs properly but will also look for any signs of leaks that could mean leaky hoses and gaskets. They will also look under the vehicle to check for any leaks that are visible from underneath the vehicle.

·      The Tires

The mechanic will also check the tires of the vehicle by looking at the insides of the tire, especially the braking system and the brake pad.

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