On Choosing Second Hand Cars: 5 Ways to Spot a Lemon

Buying second hand cars is always a risk. While it is true that it will be more financially practical to buy used cars since you get lower purchasing costs for newer models, you might be taken advantage of when you suddenly buy a lemon car.

Lemons or a lemon car essentially refers to cars that tend to be junk because you’ll be putting up a lot of cash for their regular repair. Instead of saving costs, owners of lemon cars will just end up scratching up their head and emptying their pockets. To avoid purchasing lemon cars, here are some tips that you might want to check first before you seal the deal when buying second hand cars.

1. Make an individual research on your prospect car model.

If you are really serious in buying a second hand car that can guarantee convenience, check your prospect car models first. Lemon cars may be defined by their models too. Not all cars are created equal so you have to make an individual research about which ones last the longest.

2.Verify with authorities.

Concentrate your research on reliability scores as well as the incidence of repair problems. For car service record and to detect lemon models, you can always check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Center for Auto Safety.

3. Choose cars from new auto dealers or from reputable ones and bring your mechanic with you.

New auto dealers are just establishing their place in the market so there is a lower tendency that they sell lemon cars so that’s a plus. Reputable auto dealers will not put their reputation at stake so it is highly probable that you will not find any lemons there.

But if you really want to make sure, have your trusted mechanic detect a lemon for you. An expert in this field would know in one look if the brake alignments are loose, there is a fluid leak, carburetor is not okay and other potential malfunctions.

4. Do your own quick checks and test drive.

Make an ocular inspection and be keen to details. On the exterior, check if all body panels is joined appropriately. Also be observant on the tire distance. If there are inconsistencies in the distance, it might indicate that the car has been heavily repaired.

Lean on the bumper and immediately let it go. Bumpers must bounce once or twice after letting go. Check if all doors and windows lock, if seatbelts are intact, if brake and gas pad are not sagging, if warning lights are working and if car seats are clean. It’s also best if you could put the car into a test drive to detect whirring sounds if there are any.

5. Read the window sticker and registration records.

Car dealers might hide unwanted but unnoticeable defects characterizing lemon cars. Some important information like warranty could be found in the buyer’s guide issued by the Federal Trade Commission. If it says warrantied, ask the dealer the cost percentage you must pay. Without this, a car may be a lemon.

Also check the history of the vehicle by demanding a peep through its registration records. Lemon cars may have been transferred from several areas and they may have had incurred defects from each place so it is a must that you know the car’s track record.

Using these important tips in detecting lemon cars, you give value to your investment. While not all cars are built to last, it is but a smart idea to buy lemon cars that will not last that long.

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