Used Car Buying Tips to Avoid that Lemon

July 26, 2013
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Used Car Buying Tips to Avoid that Lemon

Used Car Buying Tips to Avoid that Lemon

Buying a used car can be oh so tricky, especially for woman.

Some guys just can’t comprehend a girl knowing anything about cars. Of course, we know just how wrong they are, but if either gender goes on a used car search, preparation needs to be adhered to for a successful and reliable result. Both men and women have an equal chance of being sucked into buying a lemon if common sense and caution melt at the sight of shiny hubcaps and polished chrome. Most used cars will provide miles of satisfaction for the savvy buyer. However, if you don’t know how to avoid the traps of an unscrupulous car dealer or private seller and how to spot a potential lemon in a sea of used cars, you could end up a ticking time bomb.

Think twice if the used car you are interested in seems to be cheaper than cars of comparable age, model and condition. It may be fine, but a red flag should start to unfold immediately if the price is less than your last bicycle. Just like anything else, if it appears the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Not everyone can afford the price of a new car. Sometimes, buying a used car is the only available option. If this is the case, there are ways to determine if your bargain car is worth the price before you take it home. No one wants to end up with a lemon.

Used Car Buying Tips to Avoid that Lemon

The first step is never buy a used car without doing your homework. If you are buying a used car from a private seller, insist on taking the used car to your mechanic. Having someone you trust inspect the car is well worth the fee for a professional once over. Even if you know your way around cars, it never hurts to have another set of eyes check out those hoses and carburetor. When buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer, ask to talk to the mechanic who inspected the car. If the seller tells you no, walk away. No; run away from that car. Denying your request for an independent inspection could indicate the seller is trying to hide something that’s wrong with the used car. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller why they are selling the used car at such a low price. People have many good reasons for wanting to find a buyer for their used car. Just because they may advertise a bargain price, doesn’t mean the used car has something terribly wrong with it.

Check the price against Kelly Blue Book or NADA on line before you make any deal with a private owner or car salesman. Knowing the price range you can expect a certain car should be sold at can not only give you room to negotiate, it can also signal a warning if the price is much lower than it should be. The seller may simply want or need to sell the car fast. Researching the going price puts you in the driver’s seat, so to speak. Even if you are unsure and nervous inside, demonstrating you are knowledgeable about the price range for the particular make and model of car puts the seller on notice. Hopefully, the easy mark shining in the seller’s eyes will fade when they realize you are no push over.

Used Car Buying Tips to Avoid that LemonIt never hurts to take a quick course in basic car inspection. Talk to someone you trust and who knows cars. Going through an inspection of hoses (yes, under the hood), radiator, battery, tires, etc., make you look knowledgeable even if you aren’t. What the seller doesn’t know about you won’t hurt them and may help you. Check to make sure the doors align properly when you look down the side of the car. Little tricks that will give you more credibility with the seller.

Ask about any paperwork that’s available for the used car. If there is no title, it’s best to take a step back and slow down the transaction. You can write down the VIN (vehicle identification number) number and run a check on it at Carfax.com, NADA.com or Autocheck.com. Anyone of the three can provide you with a history of the car (if it had been wreck, if flooded, car bag was deployed, etc.) and how many previous owners there have been. Having this information in hand gives you a leg up and allows you to have confidence and know if the seller is being honest with you.

One piece of advice. If the seller can not produce a title, you should seriously consider walking away from that deal. By not having a car title, this can indicate the seller doesn’t own the car. It could have a lien on it, have been stolen or be a salvaged title. It’s possible you could find yourself in a lot of hot water this way. You could be forced to pay off a lien or other nasty little surprises the seller neglected to mention as he/she took your money. Insist the seller produce the title. If everything is on the up and up and they want to sell the car bad enough, they should be able to produce a clean title.

Never buy a used car without a test drive, nor should you buy a used car sight unseen. If the car is a lemon, you won’t know until after your hard earned money is in the seller’s pocket. Test driving a used car allows you to check for fluid leaks, rust, strange and suspicious noises coming from who knows where and any possible indications of prior abuses and how the car handles on the road.

For a lot of harding working people, finding a reliable used car is a must. Lemons are great for making lemon aid. Not so great if the used car was sour before you bought it and you didn’t have a clue because you weren’t prepared with the proper homework. Of course even the best detective work can’t always root out or guarantee your new used car might not become challenging a week after you buy it. There’s risk to everything and certainly buying a used car is no exception.

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