Home Car Buying How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car


Buying a new car can be a fun or exciting thing to do. When you start looking for a car, you look for the options that fall in your budget. Also, you look for the best car that you can use for the upcoming 5 to 7 years. So, you must be looking for a car that is not having any kinds of faults. 

They say you are lucky to get a trouble-free second-hand car. Finding such a car is not related to luck but with your inspection and investigations skills. Some sellers misrepresent the cars to the buyers. Later on, the buyer gets to know that he bought a lemon car. Instead of paying more for a lemon car, look for the options thoroughly and make sure that you are not buying a lemon car. 

What Is Lemon Car?

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car

Lemon car is a slang word used for a vehicle that is misrepresented by the seller. When you go to check a used car, you look for the body parts if they are having dents or major accidents. Then you check the engine and mechanical work of the car such as engine, brakes, suspension, air conditioner, etc. At that moment they look great to you like working at their best. 

When you buy it and drive it for a week or month, you get to know that car is having a lot of issues that were not noticeable at the buying time. Then you realize that you have paid more than enough for a lemon car. Hence, you bought a lemon car. 

Lemon Defects

The lemon car can have one or more defects that affect safe driving. The car can be having faulty brakes, a dead engine, broken transmission, bad fuel economy, etc. If you were unable to detect any of the defects at the buying time, then you might face it in the coming days or weeks. 

Nowadays, people turn to the internet to buy anything. When you decide to buy a second-hand car, you should turn to the internet to know the known defects a second car can have. It will prevent you from buying a first-class lemon car. 

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

Vehicle History Report

To avoid buying a lemon, you should request the vehicle history report. The vehicle history report of a second-hand card helps you to know the year model, the number of owners in the past years, maintenance, etc. The third-party services sometimes provide an extensive vehicle history report. Instead, you can ask for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to find the information about the vehicle.

Some companies provide a free version of the vehicle history report but some companies provide you a vehicle history report for some dollars. If the report of the vehicle looks good, then you can buy the car. 

Read The Fine Print

The fine print should be read every time you make a purchase. Talking about buying a used car, reading a fine print will save you from buying a lemon car. When you are buying a car from a dealership, make sure that you ask them for written documentation. Hence, the dealer should be able to provide you with warranty information from an existing manufacturer. 

The warranty coverage will prevent you from buying a lemon car. Also, the dealer should tell you detailed issues of the car (if any). When you ask the dealer for written documentation, then you will be able to protect the investment. It makes sure that if the car needs repairs or replacement, the dealership will be paying the repair costs

Inspect The Interior

Avoid buying a lemon by entering the car and checking the interior of the car. For interior inspection, look for the dashboard, upholstery, floorboards, and ceiling. Check if the floorboard is rusty or the ceiling is having cracks or dents. When you enter the car, take a deep breathe to know if the interior of the car is having any kind of odor. 

Also, look for cracks in the dashboard or plastic, stains on the seats, or ripped seats. After you have visually checked the interior of the car, test the interior. To make sure that everything works fine, test the seatbelts. If the seat belts are having fraying or melting, or damaged in any way, it means the car was in an accident. 

Test the seat adjustments, console controls such as fan, temperature, air conditioner, heater, touch display, etc. If the fan and temperature are working fine but the air conditioner is not cooling well, it means the air conditioner compressor is damaged or the cooling gas is not refilled. 

Inspect The Exterior

After inspecting the interior of the car, inspect the exterior. Look for scratches, dings, and dents on the body of the car. You must look for the rust spots that are especially on the floorboards or fenders (front and rear). Open and close each door to know if the hinges and handles are working fine. If there is difficulty in opening a door, it means the car was in an accident. 

Also, go to the back of the car and inspect the boot and exhaust pipe. If both are securely attached it means it is in their original condition. When you stand at the back or front of the car, check if the car is evenly standing. If it is not, it means the suspension is damaged and needs a repair or replacement. 

Inspect the tires of the car, if they are having a tear and wear, then you need to change them at once. Also, if the alignment is out, the tire tread wear could be a sign that the vehicle is out of alignment. 

Pop The Hood

Even if you are not an expert in inspecting the mechanical work of the car, popping the hood can visually tell you the condition of the car. When you do so, you can see if the engine is free of debris and overall clean. Inspect the loose bolts, leaking hoses, and corrosion on the battery. Also, to check if the car was in an accident or not, look for the company seals inside the hood. 

Check the engine oil by pulling out the engine oil stick. Check the engine oil levels on the stick and run it between your fingers. If it runs smoothly and not having any kind of dirt, grit, or metal flakes in it, then engine oil is perfect and so is the engine. 

Go For a Test Drive

When a seller is trying to sell you a lemon car, he or she might hesitate in letting you test drive the car. If they are not, then there are chances that the car might be having lemon defects. To avoid it, take the car for a test drive. 

Hit The Gas: While the car is in the park, rev the engine to different RPMs and check if the engine is having the power. While driving hit the gas at different spots and observe the response of the vehicle. The car should speed up without hard shifts and clunks. 

Consider The Steering: While driving, the steering wheel should not be having a play. If you turn the vehicle at an inch or two, the vehicle should turn in direction but not more than turned steering wheel. 

Listen For Noises: While driving, listen to the noises if the car is having one. If there is a loud vibration, buzzing, or clunking, it means the car is having a mechanical issue. 

Check Dashboard Lights: Some warning lights come on the dashboard when you drive the car. If any of them appears on the dashboard, it means a car is having a problem. 

Mimic Driving Scenarios: Test the start and stop of the car at stoplights. Speed the car to cruising speed and apply brakes to check if the car is having any of the common brake problems. 

Visit A Trusted Mechanic

After inspection, investigation, and testing of the car, you make up your mind to buy the vehicle or not. If you have decided to buy it, take it to the trusted mechanic of yours when you take the car for a test drive. Get it checked thoroughly by a trusted mechanic. If there are any issues in the car, the mechanic will let you know about it and also the cost to repair or replace it. 

After that take the car back to the dealer and make a deal for the car after discussing the problems. If you and the dealer agree on a common and reasonable deal, get the documentation done by the dealer. Hence, you will know that you are not buying a lemon car. 

Lemon Car – Beware to Buy a Lemon Car

While buying a car, look for the lemon defects that can appear later. A dealer might have misrepresented the vehicle at the time of dealing. Later on, you might experience lemon defects and you will regret buying a lemon car. To avoid it, inspect and investigate the car properly. How many miles should a new car have can help you to determine the condition of the car?

Also, investigate the VIN to know the details of the car. The interior and exterior of the car determine the value of the car. Also, the mechanical operations of the vehicle determine if the car is in original condition or it is a lemon car. 

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