Are you nervous about buying a money pit on 4 wheels? Spotting a lemon takes a careful eye combined with a dose of common sense. By taking a few practical steps you can spare yourself the nightmare of buying a used car that gives you an endless stream of problems and mechanic bills.
Use the Internet to Dig into the Past
Some older car models are highly prone to breaking down for any number of reasons. Faulty design, poor parts or a general shoddy manufacturing job all contribute to a certain model and make of car being a lemon. In less serious cases you may just be stranded by the side of the road more often than not but critical car problems may endanger your life. Breaking an axel while traveling at 65 MPH could be a lethal situation. Hop online. Research older versions of makes and models before you decide to make a buy. Never purchase a used car until you know as much as possible about the car’s history. Dig deep to uncover any design flaws. Gain peace of mind and a better understanding about what you’re getting into before buying a used car.
Take the Car for an Extended Test Drive
Driving a used car for 5 minutes around the block could be a serious mistake. To better familiarize yourself with the ride try a 30 to 45 minute test drive. Some supposedly dependable autos are merely lemons in sheep’s clothing. One trip to the highway can indicate that the allegedly high performing engine provides nothing more than a slight putter when you floor it from an entrance ramp onto the highway.
Take a test drive down quiet local streets. Test the brakes thoroughly by braking from a high rate of speed. Make both left and right turns. Practice backing up into a parking spot. Perform K turns. Accelerate with your foot pressed fully down on the pedal. Practice using all mirrors as you cruise around town. Use every tool in your arsenal to spot a lemon by taking a comprehensive drive around both residential areas and highways.
Go Over the Interior with a Fine Toothed Comb
Conduct a thorough inspection of the car in the dealership lot. Look for signs of water damage on both the interior ceiling and the rug. How does the car smell? Sniffing out a musty odor is a telltale sign of water damage. Rain is likely leaking inside windows or through door cracks. Use common sense when reading the odometer. A 2004 model with some interior and exterior signs of wear has likely logged more than 5,000 miles. Spot any dishonest used car dealers by carefully examining your potential ride.
Ask friends or family to recommend reputable dealerships. Although it’s impossible to rule out the chances that you’ll buy a lemon the most honest dealers sell only cars they believe to be sound and safe. Seek out honest, reputable car dealers through online research as well.