Five Steps to Help you Avoid a Lemon Car

As if shopping for a used car wasn’t stressful enough, the risk of buying a lemon makes the ordeal even more grueling. These vehicles often have some severe defects that could impact the vehicle’s operation and the occupant’s safety, and it’s hard for buyers to recoup their money from these purchases. Therefore, it’s very important that you avoid these types of cars.

If you’re going to be shopping for a used car from a reputable used car dealer, you probably won’t have anything to worry about. Still, there are several easy steps that you can take to avoid a lemon, and we’ve provided a detailed game plan below…

Research, Research, Research!

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that a prospective buyer can investigate a potential purchase. The internet provides several resources where a customer can access a specific car’s history report, and this could inform you of any previous issues.

For instance, a former owner may have covered up any water damage via some intense cleaning or an entire interior renovation. However, this water damage could also compromise the car’s mechanics. You may not recognize these issues when taking a simple look at the vehicle. However, perusing the vehicle’s history report could alert you to these problems.

Furthermore, some specific brands or models may be more susceptible to future damage than other vehicles. A simple Google search will help you understand how certain cars tend to age, and may help you avoid purchasing a potential lemon.

Inspect Every Nook and Crannie

An eye test will rarely result in a potential buyer identifying any issues. This sentiment makes sense, as most of a lemon’s problems can usually be attributed to the vehicle’s mechanics. However, there could be some physical blemishes that can help reveal a serious problem.

For example, uneven paint jobs could indicate that the vehicle was previously involved in an accident. Furthermore, uneven upholstery could reveal that there was previous water or fire damage. Customers should expect a used car to show its age, but there are some discrepancies that shouldn’t be ignored.

These issues don’t only apply to the interior or exterior. Drivers can also identify any issues by taking a peek under the hood. If the wires or mechanical aspects seem to be in disarray, this could be a telling sign that something isn’t right.

To best identify these issues, it’s always a good idea to do your inspection during the day, as the sun should help highlight any inconsistencies. Potential buyers also shouldn’t limit their inspections to one particular area of the vehicle, especially since some of these previous owners may have a talent for hiding potential issues. This means you should take the time to explore every nook and crannie, including the trunk!

Give the Car a Test Drive

You’ll be shocked how many car buyers avoid a test drive in favor of pursuing an apparent one-time deal. By failing to give the vehicle a simple ride around the block, these drivers may not recognize any mechanical issues until it’s too late. A test drive will allow the driver to identify any potential problems, whether faulty brakes or an odd noise coming from the motor.

Of course, besides the ability to identify a lemon, there are plenty of other benefits that accompany a test drive. Potential customers will be able to recognize any mechanical features that they dislike, and a quick test drive may help you determine whether a particular vehicle is the proper choice for you.

Bring the Car to a Mechanic

If you do identify an issue during this test drive, you’ll want to bring the targeted vehicle to a trusted mechanic before you sign the papers. These car experts will have a better understanding of the root of any issues. If, say, you do hear an odd buzzing noise, a mechanic will be able to definitively say whether that issue is attributed to standard vibration…or something much worse.

Of course, a mechanic will also be able to identify any issues that may be hiding under the surface. A simple inspection or test drive won’t reveal every issue that’s associated with a particular vehicle. A mechanic’s expertise will allow them to dig in and uncover any red flags.

Avoid Modified Vehicles

Now, we’re certainly not looking to insult anyone who may have modified their vehicle, and we’re certainly not trashing those who made the installations. After all, depending on the seller and the previous owner, a modified vehicle may be a perfectly adequate choice for those seeking a used ride.

However, if you discover any problems with your used ride, you’ll likely be up a creek with no paddle. Brands or manufacturers will rarely back a modified vehicle, so you’re unlikely to find a resolution via that route. Furthermore, these modifications can often be very difficult to reverse, and there’s a good chance that those lingering issues are an indication that your recently purchased used car is already compromised.

Ultimately, it’s better to avoid the headaches. While that used modified Jeep may be alluring, it probably won’t be worth the issues in the long run.

What to Do If You Find a Lemon

My grandma always said “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” When I’m a grandfather, I’m going to pass along my own personal adage: “When life gives you a lemon, bring it back to the dealership.”

Of course, if you’ve already purchased this doomed car, it can be difficult recouping any of your money. However, if you find issues with the vehicle prior to making the purchase, you could surely use this knowledge to your advantage. If the issues seem minor, you can require that the previous owner or dealership fix the problems on their own dime. Alternatively, you could ask them to significantly drop the price of the vehicle.

Of course, as we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t have any issues if you’re buying from a respected dealership or seller. However, it never hurts to err on the safe side and do your homework ahead of time.

If you’re seeking an easy, non-stressful car-buying experience, visit Cherner Brothers in Kensington, Maryland. The helpful staff will find you the perfect used car…and they won’t pair you with a lemon.