Finding affordable used cars can be a great alternative to putting a lot of money into new car sales, whether you’re looking for something reliable for your high school grad or a cheap vehicle to get you around town for your errands. That said, you’re still likely to pay a few thousand dollars for a used car. If you’re not careful, you could waste that money on a lemon.
What is a Lemon?
If you’ve seen the 1996 film “Matilda,” or you’ve read the 1988 novel by Roald Dahl, you might remember that the father of the main character, one Mr.Wormwood, makes his living running a used car dealership. More specifically, Wormwood sells lemons, junker cars that have been fixed up just enough to seem like perfectly good vehicles until they’ve been bought; that tends to be when they break down. Stuffing engines with sawdust to make cars run better might seem like the stuff of fiction, but you still need to be wary when it comes to buying cars used, for both your financial and physical health.
How to Avoid Buying a Lemon from Used Car Dealers
- Ask for the Title History
- Test Drive Each Option
- Beware of Out of State Vehicles
For MSN Autos, one of the best things to do to avoid buying a lemon is asking your dealer for a copy of the title history. The title can tell you whether or not the car has ever been totaled, flooded, or otherwise damaged in a way that required extensive repairs. If your dealer doesn’t have the title history, you can always ask for the VIN for each vehicle you’re considering. Taking those VINs to your local DMV office or punching them in on CarFax will net you the same information.
Test driving each vehicle you’re considering should be a no-brainer here. It costs you nothing, and it’s one of the best ways to make an educated decision about buying a new car. On the one hand, a test drive will show you whether or not you actually like a car. On the other, it’s the single best way to find any problems with the vehicle, as you can listen and feel for them while you drive. Most dealers won’t have a problem with you taking a test drive.
As BankRate.com details, one of the biggest scams in the world of used car sales is buying broken down vehicles from other states, getting them new titles in a different state, and selling them like nothing is wrong. This method, known as “title washing,” effectively deletes the original title history. In other words, buying a used car from another state is a great way to buy a lemon that looks perfectly fine on paper. Be extra suspicious when you see the car came from someplace other than your home state.
Do you run a used car dealership? What tips would you give consumers looking for the best used cars? Share them with us in the comments below. More like this blog: hudiburgnissan.com