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Effects of Water Damage and Flooding on Vehicles

Buying new or used cars is a big financial decision. Making an informed decision as a buyer is always the goal, no matter how large the purchase is. When buying used cars, a buyer should consider many factors beyond just the price. The condition, performance, market price compared to the listing price, and much more goes into the consideration of purchasing a used vehicle. 

Natural disasters add another level of uncertainty to new and used car buying alike. So many things become uncertain when faced with a natural disaster, and the quality and reliability of a car purchase should not be one of them. 

Lemon Squad has partnered with The Car Mom and Your Advocate Alliance to offer a 15% discount to all Florida Residents. With the damaging effects of the hurricane, pre-purchase inspection is even more essential to buying a safe and reliable vehicle.

Effects of Water Damage and Flooding on Vehicles

Hurricanes and other tropical storms can cause flooding and water damage to nearly all vehicles in the area affected. 

Therefore, it is essential to know the dangers of water damage and the long-term repercussions it can have on the safety and reliability of a vehicle. 

Effects of Water Damage and Flooding on Vehicles


Unfortunately, thousands of water-damaged vehicles do not get junked and are returned to the used car market. Some sellers take these vehicles and secretly sell them to unsuspecting buyers. There are many risks involved with water damage and flooded cars. 

Water damage can have a detrimental effect on nearly every part of a vehicle, including: 

  • Electrical Damage: Water and electrical components do not go hand in hand. Like any other electrical object, cars have advanced computers that can be damaged or ruined by flooding.
  • Engine Issues: Once an engine has been waterlogged, it becomes nearly impossible to correct the damage. 
  • Rust: Rust makes the components affected more susceptible to snapping, breaking, and overall corrosion. 
  • Odor and Mildew: The vehicle’s interior can be heavily affected by water damage. Mildew, mold, and other smells can become a recurrent and continuous problem in water-damaged cars. 


Indicators That A Vehicle May Have Been Flooded:

Many signs can tip off potential buyers to a vehicle having water damage. It is important to note that these things can be indicators of flooding; however, individually, they do not fully confirm that a vehicle has been flooded. All of these indicators can be caused by other issues beyond flooding, but a large combination of these components should be a cause of concern for potential buyers. 

  • Damp Seat Belts, Interior Seats, Cushions, And Carpet: These can create mildew on the vehicle’s interior, accompanied by an unpleasant odor.  
  • Water Stains: Most apparent on seat belts, seats, and headliners (severe cases)
  • The Cooling System Of The Vehicle Will Not Build Pressure Properly, resulting in malfunction. 
  • Reset computers:  The monitors within a vehicle can be incomplete or be cleared of any codes, fixed or unfixed. 
  • Rust Formation On Lower Interior Hardware, including seat tracks.
  • Wet Engine Air Filter: Dirt accumulation in the air filter box can be revealed after removing the air filter.
  • Significant Accumulation Of Mud And/Or Dirt under the hood in low areas of the engine and the surroundings.
  • An Engine That Will Not Turn Over: Risk of possible hydro-lock from water ingestion (combustion chamber filled with non-compressible water as opposed to the standard air-fuel mixture).
  • Abnormal Oil Fluid Levels: Over-full and or milky appearance may be caused by water intrusion. Intermix is what it is called when oil and water are mixed, and it becomes very milky. 
  • Electrical Connectors Short-Circuiting And/Or Corroding: Electrical connectors inside a vehicle’s cabin may not have weatherproof seals like the under-hood connectors have. This makes them more susceptible to water intrusion. As a result of water intrusion, short-circuiting and corrosion can ensue, leading to electrical issues within the vehicle. 
  • External Lights May Hold Water: The exterior lights of a vehicle may hold stagnant water left over from flooding. 

Avoiding Water Damaged or Flooded Vehicles: 

Some sellers pick up flooded vehicles for cheap from natural disaster areas, clean them up and reintroduce them to the market. These cars hit the market in natural disaster areas and other markets where buyers are less expectant of flood and water damage. 

For this reason, a pre-purchase inspection is essential for any buyer to make an informed decision. This issue can affect more than just the used car market, as even new vehicles can be heavily damaged by flooding and secretly sold with these impairments. 

Lemon Squad enables buyers to get an honest, third-party opinion on any vehicle’s condition, performance, and safety. Avoid buying a lemon; hire Lemon Squad. 

Lemon of the Week (September 28th, 2022)

Another week, another Lemon! Lemon Squad takes to Instagram each week to get input from our followers. 

How the Lemon of the Week Works

On Wednesdays, we post a poll to our Instagram account that includes an image of two cars and some brief bullet points on the vehicle’s condition. Followers then can vote for the car they view as the bigger Lemon. The following week, we released a blog (like this) to provide readers with insight into an inspection report and what it can reveal about a used vehicle. So if you missed the poll last week, get involved by following us on Instagram. For other information or to stay up to date with what is new and exciting with Lemon Squad, check out our Twitter and Facebook!

The Winner

This week, the winning Lemon (or the car in the worst shape) was the 2009 Isuzu NPR. At the time of inspection, this vehicle was just short of 160,000 miles, making general wear and tear based on the age and mileage to be expected. We’ll dive into the interior, exterior, and road test results as part of our standard Commercial Vehicle Inspections procedure.

One of our unique features is choosing an inspection tailored to the type of vehicle you are looking to buy. When you select the specific inspection for the vehicle type, we match you up with an inspector who specializes in that category of inspection and vehicle. This provides a trained eye that is qualified to evaluate the car at an elevated professional level

2009 Isuzu NPR


The Interior Inspection

In general, the interior inspection revealed an overall fine condition for a commercial vehicle. However, in the thorough walkthrough, we also found a few noteworthy things. All the seats were in good condition except for the center back seat, which had some damage. The left door’s physical key did not work in the lock at the time of the inspection. The dashboard of the vehicle was missing the center cover. The glove box lid would not stay closed. The right sun visor clip was missing. 

The biggest thing the interior inspection revealed was rust under the left front floor mat. Our inspection noted that the cab had a lot of black undercoating, so that the floors may have additional unexposed rust. We covered how rust can be very hazardous in a vehicle in our previous Lemon of the Week blog. 

The Exterior Walkthrough

The vehicle’s exterior was in much worse condition than the interior. The windshield washers did not work at the time of inspection. The paint was in bad shape as the logo removal had taken off some finish on both sides of the box. 

Beyond that, the vehicle’s paint showed wear and tear consistent with the age and mileage. The left headlight lens was cracked, and the rear lenses of the exterior lights needed cleaning and possible polishing. The left mirror is disconnected and is missing a lower panel. A significant dent was apparent in the left side rear of the bumper. The front bumper was also cracked on the right side. There were additional dents and scratches throughout the exterior of the vehicle. 

The apparent rust on the vehicle’s interior was much more prevalent on the exterior. Lots of frame rust and overspray were found under the cab. In addition, both of the rear doors had rusted through on the inner panels. 

The Mechanical Inspection

The vehicle’s mechanics were also inspected, showing a bit more wear. The radiator reservoir cap was missing. The belts within the engine showed some varnish. The seller informed the inspector that the catalyst was stolen. Finally, the lighting within the box was hanging down below where it should have been. 

The Test Drive

Why a test drive? A drive test provides the inspector with a deeper look into the vehicle’s performance and can often allude to other problems that may have been previously masked.

So far, the drive test showed that the engine and all other components ran well at the time of inspection. The only issue at the time of inspection was that the whole box was loaded during the drive. 

Overall, the inspection report provided information unavailable through the seller’s advertisements. This is the most significant advantage of a pre-purchase used car inspection. By hiring an inspector, you can get an unbiased, third-party opinion of the condition and performance of your potential purchase. This information proves invaluable in making an intelligent and educated choice and providing insight for negotiations. 

So don’t buy a lemon – use Lemon Squad. 

Lemon of the Week (September 21st, 2022)

Wondering what an inspection report can find for potential buyers? You are in the right place! 

On Wednesdays, we will post a poll to our Instagram story with two vehicles that Lemon Squad inspectors have previously inspected. Our followers have the chance to place their vote for which car is in worse shape, or in other words, which is the bigger lemon

After 24 hours, we tally up the votes to find the Lemon of the Week according to our followers. The following week, we release a blog (like this one) to provide a deeper dive into the inspection report, what was discovered, and why a pre-purchase inspection is essential. So if you missed last week, get involved today! 

Stay up to date with the new and exciting things happening at Lemon Squad by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

This week, the lemon of the week is… Car number 2 – the 2018 Porsche Cayenne!

2018 Porsche Cayenne

In each inspection conducted by Lemon Squad, three vital categories go into the assessment of a vehicle – Interior, exterior, and drive test factors. This particular vehicle appeared to be what we call a DIY Disaster


The interior of the vehicle revealed a lot of cosmetic issues within the car.

The carpet on the front driver’s side appeared to have been shredded with a knife and glued in attempts to fix the worse-than-average wear and tear. The driver’s side and passenger side back seat trim needed to be popped back in; however, the passenger side was loose near the rear. This requires a new clip. The driver and passenger front pillar side trims are misaligned. 

Beyond that, the rest of the interior appeared to be in average condition for the age and mileage. This car had 36,077 miles at the time of inspection. A general rule of thumb when buying used cars is for every year in the age of the vehicle, 12-15,000 miles should be on the odometer. Being relatively new (less than five years old), this car should show minimal cosmetic wear within the interior components. 


The exterior of the vehicle was in worse condition than the interior. 

The wiper blades were functioning, but the front and rear rubber of the edges needed to be replaced. While windshield wipers are a relatively easy and inexpensive fix, if not replaced, the vehicle’s driver risks damaging the vehicle’s windshield with scratches. 

The windshield washer functioned as expected as well; however, it requires adjustment as it sprayed mainly the top of the car at the time of inspection. This might be something you would need to keep an eye on if you were to purchase this vehicle. 

Also, there were prominent body alignment issues were recurrent throughout the exterior of the vehicle. This was apparent in multiple places such as the rear hatch passenger side, front bumper to the hood, front bumper to headlights, driver front fender to the headlight, driver front fender to the driver front door, and front bumper to the air dam.

In terms of the vehicle’s exterior paint, the hood of the vehicle was clearly repainted. This was abundantly clear to the Lemon Squad inspector as a sticker had been painted over on the underside of the hood. While this may not be a big concern, especially if the paint looks good, this can be a sign that the vehicle has been in an accident. If that is the case, our mobile inspectors will note that in the report and pay special attention to the vehicle with that possibility in mind.

The front bumper and hood of the vehicle had multiple, minor paint chips and rock chips. Nothing of huge concern, but if you weren’t able to see this vehicle in person, you may have missed a negotiation opportunity!

The driver’s side front door to the front fender also has pretty apparent paint chips off the edge. 

The underside of the vehicle showed signs of rust, which we have mentioned the negative effects of in a previous Lemon of the Week blog. 

Moving on to the front bumper, which was misaligned on the driver’s side front fender and the underside of the hood and headlights. The front bumper center and driver’s side air dams were screwed with sheet rock grabber screws. 

This is yet another seemingly DIY repair on the vehicle. This repair also did not fix the front driver-side headlight as it was not functional at the time of inspection. It is crucial to get a car adequately repaired, not only for cosmetic reasons but also for safety reasons. 

Cars are complex mechanical objects, and each feature has been specially designed for the vehicle’s safety, efficiency, and performance. When improperly repaired, a car loses the efficiency and security developed in its making. For this reason, it is essential to repair cars properly, with the correct parts and solutions, and avoid vehicles with negligent repairs. 

The driver’s and passenger side lower front fender rocker panel molding was missing from the vehicle. 

The underside of the front seat battery box was straightened and resealed. 

The rocker panels were missing on the driver and passenger side front fender. 

The tailgate lift strut on the vehicle’s passenger side was missing, and the wires had been cut. For this reason, the trunk did not fully close correctly and was misaligned. 

The engine oil was in desperate need of replacement at the time of inspection.

And finally, the muffler had two prominent dents, and the exhaust showed signs of having been tweaked and bent in an attempt to restore it to its original shape. 


The drive test is standard within all exotic inspections by Lemon Squad. It provides the inspector with insight into the performance and condition of the vehicle based on how the car conducts itself on the road. 

The driving test on this Porsche revealed that the engine was in good condition at the time of inspection. The car had no issues starting, running, or driving. However, it is vital to acknowledge still the improper repairs that had been performed on the vehicle. Although the car ran well, the vehicle’s safety is an important consideration when considering the vehicle as a potential purchase.

A pre-purchase used car inspection is an integral part of car buying. It provides insight into the actual condition of a vehicle rather than a biased sales pitch. When potential buyers cannot see the car themselves, before buying, an inspector can offer them an honest third-party opinion so that they can make an informed decision. It also provides the buyer with insight that is crucial for negotiating.

Think about it, how much would you pay for a 2018 Porsche Cayenne in pristine condition, and how much would you pay for this one? 

Save yourself time and money during your next car purchase and avoid buying a lemon. Get started today by booking an inspection with Lemon Squad!

Lemon of the Week (September 14th, 2022)

The most recent Lemon Of The Week is here, and it is, drum roll please: Car #1: the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman

Each week, we take a poll from our followers on the Lemon Squad Instagram page. 

Followers are provided one image and brief information about two cars that Lemon Squad has previously inspected. They then have the chance to vote on which vehicle they think is the “Biggest Lemon” (the car in the worst shape of the two). 

The following week, we will release a blog (like this) so that you can get a bit more information about the car’s condition and why a pre-purchase inspection is so important. So if you missed out last week, get involved in the next poll. 

We post a new survey every Wednesday on our Instagram story! Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

In the deep dive into this inspection, we will look at the vehicle’s exterior, interior, and performance. In every Lemon Squad inspection, customers get a thorough report of the condition of the car aesthetically, as well as the condition of the mechanic components and performance. So let’s get into the report!


The interior of the vehicle was overall in good shape. 

The only significant wear beyond what is normal was the left front seat. The cover was worn with an apparent tear on the bottom of this seat. The other parts within the interior only showed general wear that is expected for the age and mileage of the vehicle. All electrical components within the interior were fully functional at the time of inspection. 


The exterior of the car was in worse condition than the interior. 

Excessive scratching was apparent around the whole body of the vehicle. Both rear tailgate panels had large dents from impact assumed to be caused by a collision. The bulb malfunction light was on. The door mirrors showed miscellaneous scratches. The windshield had many rock chips. 

Rock chips not only pose a threat not only to the aesthetics of the vehicle, but to the safety of the driver as they weaken the windshield overall, making further damage and injury more probable. In this weakened state, rock chips can spread like spiderwebs, impairing your ability to see and drive safely. You even run the risk of the windshield fully shattering from debris from the road or high winds. 

For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to get rock chips repaired or, depending on the severity, the entire windshield replaced. 

Minor surface rust was found on the underside, and as mentioned in a previous Lemon Of The Week, rust can be a big concern. The engine was seeping oil from the underside, although no drips were apparent during the inspection. It is recommended that this area of the vehicle be cleaned off and checked to verify the source and severity of the leaks. 

Test Drive

Finally, the driving test revealed the most significant issue with the vehicle. 

During the drive test, the inspector noted that they could hear what sounded like a squealing and growling noise, which is most likely due to an issue with the wheel bearings. It resonated throughout the car during the whole test drive, making it clear that a complete diagnosis is needed to gauge the severity and cause of the noise. 

In addition to this apparent noise, the inspector noticed a slight pulsation from the brake pedal when coming to a stop. 

Warped rotors put your car at the risk of a total brake system failure. Yes – it is as bad as it sounds! This type of failure can result in delayed stopping, or even the inability to stop, putting you and others around you at risk. This issue can be instigated when a vehicle has warped rotors, so it is highly encouraged to avoid all driving and immediately contact a mechanic. 

By using Lemon Squad to complete a Standard Pre-Purchase Inspection, this buyer got an honest condition on the quality and performance of this vehicle. Misrepresentation runs rampant in the used car industry, so verifying an automobile before purchase is vital. 

Pre-purchase inspections also provide more negotiation power to the purchasing party. With more insight and an honest third-party opinion, buyers can get a deal that reflects the vehicle and its quality. 

So, if you are thinking about buying a car, get started booking an inspection with Lemon Squad today! 

Lemon of the Week (September 7th, 2022)

Another poll has led to another Lemon of the week, the winner being car number 2… the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

Each week, Lemon Squad takes a poll with our Instagram followers to pick which of two lemons that our inspectors have previously inspected is the biggest Lemon. With a few highlights of the issues we found and a photo, followers can vote for the car they think is the bigger Lemon. 

The following week, we released a blog (just like this) to dive deeper into the inspections and what exactly makes this car a lemon. 

These polls are weekly, so if you missed the last one, get involved in the next one! We publish the poll on our Instagram story each Wednesday, and users have 24 hours to place their votes. 

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan

A deeper dive into this inspection amplifies a pre-purchase inspection’s importance. So now, let’s get into what was revealed during the inspection: 

The inspection started with a dead battery and the inspector could not verify the mileage. This was not a great first impression!

Since the battery was dead, the inspector could not conduct a road test. 

A road test is standard for nearly all Lemon Squad’s inspections as it often reveals any possible hidden issues in the car’s performance and condition. Without the road test, there is still uncertainty about the car’s ability to drive well or whether it drives at all. 

The vehicle’s interior, specifically the electrical components, was difficult to inspect because of the dead battery. Beyond that, there was an odor within the vehicle that alluded to a water leak. Unfortunately, the source of the leak was not revealed during the inspection, so a further diagnostic is necessary. 

The vehicle’s exterior was in decent condition based on the year and mileage of the car. 

Minor miscellaneous scratches were found around the vehicle and other minor imperfections may have been covered by dust, as the car was filthy at the inspection time. The underside of the vehicle showed signs of rust, which as mentioned in our previous Lemon Of The Week Blog, can cause major issues.

As for the mechanic part of the inspection, there are a few issues with this car that will need to be addressed if the customer were to purchase it. 

The engine coolant needs to be replaced, and the whole system should be flushed. The engine oil should be changed as it was very dirty. Active oil leaks were apparent within the engine. The brake fluid was old and dirty, requiring flushing and replacement. The rotors have a ring of rust around them, and the brake pads had less than 50% remaining. 

The key takeaway from this inspection should be the value of a pre-purchase inspection. In the used car world, false advertising runs rampant. 

For individuals unable to view the vehicle in person before purchase, claims of the car’s capabilities cannot be tested. With mobile pre-purchase inspections, everyone can get an unbiased third opinion of the quality and performance of a vehicle before it’s too late. 

Purchasing a vehicle without viewing it in person is like playing Russian Roulette with your wallet. 

Sometimes you are safe and the money you spend on the used car is money well spent. But sometimes you will waste thousands of dollars on a car that needs further costly repairs and is unreliable. 

You might even fall victim to a scam and purchase a vehicle that doesn’t even exist!

Rather than buying a car and experiencing the stress of false advertisement, Lemon Squad sends trained professionals to inspect a vehicle honestly. They can also arm you with the information you need to negotiate a better price. 

So get started by booking an inspection today, and avoid buying a Lemon!

Lemon of the Week (August 31st, 2022)

After a very close vote, the Lemon of the week is finally here, the winner being car number 1 – the 2010 GMC Terrain. 

What Is ‘Lemon Of The Week’?

Each week Lemon Squad takes a poll from our Instagram followers to determine the Lemon of the Week. 

Users are provided the choice between two vehicles previously inspected by one of our many inspectors. We will note just a couple of the issues found during the inspection service, but keep in mind that we call these cars “Lemons” for a reason!

After the results are accounted for, we will give all the juicy details about this vehicle, what the inspection revealed, and why it is essential to get a pre-purchase auto inspection when buying a used car. 

The Inspection

Let’s do a deep dive into the inspection, as this vehicle does not look too sour based on the photos alone. 

The vehicle’s interior showed a lot of wear and tear on the steering wheel and front seats. Beyond that, the interior showed expected wear for a used car. The radio had staticky sounds, and the antenna was missing, otherwise, most electrical components were fully functional. 

The exterior of the vehicle was in worse condition than the interior. 

The hood of the car was misaligned and the front bumper was not flush with the body of the car. Minor dings and scratches were apparent around the vehicle’s body and dents on the left and right fender and right quarter panel. In addition, rust was found on the doors, hood, tailgate, undercarriage, and right fender. 

If rust is noted in an inspection, you will want to consider whether that car is worth the money is is being listed at. As a general rule: Rust that is only skin deep, that’s a vehicle you can keep. 

If the rust spots are small, they are relatively inexpensive to repar. Therefore, minor or cosmetic rust might not be a deal breaker. However, if the rust affects more components of the car like the frame, you might want to be a little more weary.

The reason why rust is so bad for your car is because it makes the iron components very brittle. If a car with excessive rust were to be involved in an accident, it may seriously compromise the safety features of your vehicle. 

Finally, the driving test revealed even more issues with the vehicle!

The engine coolant reservoir was overfilled. The belts of the vehicle were harshly worn. The engine had multiple oil leaks. The transmission showed fluid leaks. The transfer case leaked. There was an apparent exhaust leak near the front end of the vehicle. The car’s shocks, ball joints, and tie rods showed severe wear and tear. The engine of the vehicle, when driven, had a rough idle. The transmission made a whining noise when the car was accelerating. The suspension performance left much to be desired as the ride quality was poor, with many knocks and clunks. The alignment of the vehicle was off-center and jerky. The car’s system showed many lights, including the Tire Pressure System, a warning message, and codes stored. 

Phew – that’s a lot!

Many cosmetic issues were minor for this specific vehicle, yet the car was in worse shape than advertised. Without the road test, this potential buyer could have fallen victim to a Lemon. The road test is an essential part of Lemon Squad’s Standard Inspection

The Standard Inspection is designed for cars less than 20 years old. By choosing the proper inspection for the vehicle, you have access to highly trained inspectors specializing in the issues and warning signs for that vehicle’s classification. Lemon Squad matches inspectors to the right job to guarantee you get a qualified, uninvolved third-party opinion on the vehicle’s quality and condition. 

Why is a Pre-Purchase Inspection Necessary?

A pre-purchase inspection offers many benefits to potential buyers. If you cannot see a car in person before purchasing, a pre-purchase inspection decreases your risk of scams or false advertising. It also lets you learn more about the vehicle, its performance, and its condition. It also allows potential buyers to make an informed decision, increasing buyers’ bargaining power. 

For these reasons, pre-purchase auto inspections are a valuable tool for used car buyers. 

Lemon Squad makes it easier than ever to avoid buying a lemon. With inspectors available in every zip code within the United States, you can get an honest opinion on any car you are looking to buy. 

So get started today and book an inspection with Lemon Squad! 

Lemon Of The Week

The winner of last week’s poll is… car number 2, the 1966 Cadillac Eldorado. 

Each week, Lemon Squad is taking a poll from their Instagram story, giving followers a choice between two cars we have previously completed inspections on. Once users have taken their vote, we tally up the results to reveal which car has been dubbed the “biggest lemon” Then we dive a little deeper into the winning Lemon’s inspection report and reveal all the juicy details! 

This week, the biggest lemon is this 1966 Cadillac Eldorado. At first glance, the car looks to be in beautiful shape. Based on the images, this vintage car looks like a rare find in exceptional condition. However, thanks to the mobile pre-purchase inspection that the potential buyer requested, some dark secrets about this vehicle were revealed.

The inspector was unable to locate a VIN plate on the vehicle. The VIN allows individuals a deeper look into the car’s history and is an identifier for that specific car, similar to a fingerprint, as no VIN is the same. 

As the inspector began to delve into the vehicle’s actual condition, many more red flags were raised. The exterior of the vehicle, although seemingly perfect within the images of the car, had quite a few issues. The windshield wiper blades and windshield washer did not operate, and there were apparent chips on the glass of the windshield. The exterior lights of the vehicle were inoperable. The hood and trunks of the car were misaligned. Scratches were found on the vehicle’s trunk, right panel, and right fender. The paint was chipped on the hood and right fender, and fish eyes and paint bubbles were apparent on the rear. The seals on the rear windows showed dry rot. Rust was evident on the vehicle’s undercarriage, and the frame appeared to have been repaired. The inspector noted an oil leak at the front of the engine and intake manifold; however, the severity of the leak was undetermined. Finally, the engine coolant reservoir was empty. These issues only reveal what was discovered on the vehicle’s exterior, and the interior issues were comparable. 

The interior components showed wear beyond the years. It is important to remember that older cars will often have general wear and tear to an extent. If a car is properly maintained even after 50+ years, the car can be competitively priced as a collector vehicle. This 1966 Cadillac Eldorado however was a little worse than expected. 

Within the interior, the steering wheel was cracked and showed overall wear. There was a very apparent hole in the front left footwell carpet. The cruise control was none operational at the time of inspection. The trim of the right front seat was loose, with wires sticking out from the underside of the seat. The clocks within the vehicle were non-operational. The radio did show signs of power; however, it was only capable of playing static, and the antenna showed no sign of power. The vehicle’s power locks did not have power (no pun intended) nor the driver’s door master switch for the right rear window. The fuel gauge and temperature gauge were also inoperable. The center console of the vehicle was loose, and the air conditioning could not get cold. 

Finally, the road test revealed operational issues within the vehicle. A road test is standard practice for a classic inspection performed by Lemon Squad. A classic inspection is intended for any car that is over 20 years old. The advantage of a classic inspection on a vintage vehicle is the thorough, organized and informed perspective of the inspector. Inspectors are selected for certain jobs based on their specialty and experience, meaning that they know the common issues and warning signs for specific vehicle classifications. When driving, the inspector found that the car’s steering had play, and the vehicle’s front end wandered. Upon braking, it was discovered that the car pulled. A car that pulls when braking can often indicate a failing brake caliper. 

Why is a Pre-Purchase Auto Inspection Important? 

Based on the photos of this car, many, if not all, of these cosmetic and internal problems, could have gone undetected until post-purchase. Not being able to see a vehicle in person poses a unique threat to buyers – the threat of buying a lemon. 

Flashy, well lit images can disguise many faults in a vehicle. This buyer could make an informed decision based on the findings by taking advantage of Lemon Squad’s mobile pre-purchase inspectors. With the inspection report, this potential buyer could weigh not only the cost of the vehicle but also the costs that would be incurred fixing the vehicle into an operable state. 

Everything You Need To Know About Mobile Pre-Purchase Auto Inspection

What is a Mobile Pre-Purchase Auto Inspection? 

A mobile pre-purchase auto inspection examines a used vehicle before purchase without the hassle of transporting the vehicle to an auto shop. 

It allows an unbiased perspective on the condition and performance of the car. Mobile inspectors provide insight to buyers who cannot see a vehicle in person before purchase, often giving the buyer a more realistic expectation for the car, a more knowledgeable choice, and even added negotiation power. 

How Does a Mobile Pre-Purchase Inspection Work?

The inspector will go to the vehicle’s location and inspect the condition of the external and internal components of the car you are considering buying. The mobile inspector will often arrive at an unannounced time to prevent the seller from implementing temporary fixes on the vehicle to trick an inspector into giving a car a higher overall score. 

After completing the inspection, your inspector will create a report. We try to get you the inspection report within 24 hours but that is not always guaranteed. The quick turnaround time is a vital part of car buying, as cars sell quickly. Once you have the report, including notes from the inspection, and images of the vehicle, you are able to make an informed decision on if you want to move forward with the purchase. 

Why is it Important? 

Imagine this: You just bought your car, out of state, and two weeks later, it breaks down while you are driving to work. The dealer had told you the car was in great condition, but you can’t help but think maybe it’s not in as good of condition as the dealer had led you to believe (as you are now stranded on the side of the road and late for work). What else could go wrong? Once you finally get it towed to the mechanic you are informed that the car is in fact toast. Time to look for another car…Don’t you wish this was preventable? 

Well, it is! With a pre-purchase inspection, buyers can now get an honest opinion on the condition and performance of a vehicle before purchasing. An assessment helps prevent bad purchases or misrepresented vehicles from taking your time and money. In other words, it can stop you from wasting money on a Lemon.

A Lemon (Car): A vehicle that turns out to have several manufacturing issues affecting its safety, value or utility- a vehicle that is flawed

A pre-purchase inspection should always be performed when buying a used vehicle. Used car dealerships have hundreds of tricks to move cars quickly (even if they are not in the best condition). When you cannot see the vehicle firsthand, an opinion from someone not involved in the sale can reveal vital information that may affect your purchasing decision. Having the most information possible enables you to make an informed and educated decision, even without seeing the car. 

Lemon Squad offers trained professionals to any zip code within the United States. A professional inspector adds an additional layer of information as they are well versed and experienced in what issues to look out for with used cars. The nature of a professional inspection allows for a more in depth understanding of the quality of a used vehicle. 

What type of Mobile Pre-Purchase Inspections are there? 

Lemon Squad offers six different types of inspections and multiple add-ons, so you get all the necessary information. In addition, the different types of assessments provided by Lemon Squad allow for a more vehicle-specific inspection and an inspection report from an individual who has experience with that type of vehicle. 

  • Standard 
  • Classic 
  • Exotic
  • Motorcycle 
  • RV’s
  • Commercial

Standard Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get A Standard Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection From Lemon Squad

Standard inspections are designed for cars no older than 20 years. It is the ideal inspection for most general, everyday drivers. It includes: 

  • A computer diagnosis of engine, transmission, ABS, and airbags 
  • A comprehensive mechanical assessment of complete drive train 
  • Inspection of the steering, suspension, and brakes 
  • Examination for previous accidents or flood damage 
  • A road test
  • Fluid level checks 
  • 25+ images of the vehicle. 

All of this information will be included in the standard inspection report. You will generally receive the report within 24-48 hours of your inspection. 

Classic Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get A Classic Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection from Lemon Squad

Classic inspections are geared toward any car that is over 20 years old. Generally, classic inspections deal with vintage vehicles that appeal to consumers through their style, experience, exclusivity, and craftsmanship. It includes: 

  • A comprehensive mechanical review of the engine and transmission
  • A complete drive-line inspection
  • Inspection of the steering, suspension, and brakes
  • Examination for previous accidents or flood damage
  • Check for previous body repairs or prior hidden damage, rust, and Bondo 
  • Verification of the engine and transmission numbers
  • A road test 
  • 40+ images of the vehicle 

Included in the classic inspection package is an emphasis on age deterioration, making it clear to you the vehicle’s quality, wear and tear. 

Exotic Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get An Exotic Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection From Lemon Squad

Exotic pre-purchase inspections are aimed at higher-end, luxury vehicles. It includes:

  • A computer diagnosis of engine, transmission, ABS, and Air-bag 
  • A comprehensive mechanical assessment of complete drive-train 
  • Inspection of the steering, suspension, and brakes
  • Examination for previous accidents or flood damage
  • A road test 
  • 25+ images of the vehicle

The exotic inspection caters to more detail, care, and attention-based inspection. When you are thinking of purchasing a high-end vehicle sight unseen, a quality inspection is a valuable tool. 

Motorcycle Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get A Motorcycle Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection From Lemon Squad

Motorcycle inspections include all motorcycles, no matter the bike’s make, model, or age. It includes: 

  • A comprehensive mechanical review of the engine and transmission 
  • A complete drive-line inspection 
  • Inspection of the steering, suspension, and brakes
  • Examination for previous accidents or flood damage
  • Check for previous body repairs, rust, Bondo, and hidden damage
  • Verification of the engine and transmission numbers
  • 25+ pictures of the motorcycle 

A motorcycle inspection provides accurate insight into the condition of a bike while emphasizing any apparent age deterioration. 

RV Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get An RV Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection From Lemon Squad

RV inspections are for all types of Motorhome Recreational Vehicles. Lemon Squad offers two types of assessments for RVs – Motorhome inspections and towables inspections. Motorhome and towables inspections include: 

  • A comprehensive mechanical inspection of complete drive-train 
  • 120 volt systems and appliances
  • Review of all appliances, including stove, fridge, heater, air conditioning, and water
  • Fresh water and drainage check 
  • Audio and video component inspection 
  • Generator and LP gas system check 
  • Leveling jack and slide-out inspection 
  • A road test
  • 40+ images of the motorhome 

Whether buying a motorhome for vacations or as a permanent residence, getting a pre-purchase RV inspection lets you know what condition your home away from home is in. 

Commercial Pre-Purchase Inspections

Get A Commercial Vehicle Used Car Pre-Purchase Inspection From Lemon Squad

Aimed at any commercial vehicle, Lemon Squad wants to make sure your business makes a quality purchase. Commercial vehicle inspections include: 

  • A comprehensive mechanical assessment of complete drive-train 
  • Evaluation of the steering, suspension, brakes, and fluid levels 
  • Examination for previous accidents or flood damage 
  • Inspection of all commercial components for condition and function 
  • Road test (performed by the seller or representative with the inspector as a passenger) 
  • 25+ images of the commercial vehicle 

Commercial vehicles play a vital role in many businesses. A commercial vehicle inspection can prevent a company from making a regrettable purchase when safety or functionality is at risk because of a Lemon. 

What Add-Ons does Lemon Squad Offer? 

Lemon Squad offers three different add ons, allowing you to decide how in-depth you want your inspection experience. With these additional add-ons, you are able to customize your inspection so that you are able to get any and all information in the best format for you. 

Verbal Vehicle Assessment 

A professional staff member will provide an in depth explanation of the details found within your inspection. For an additional fee, you have the option to receive this information verbally, over the phone, to gain a deeper understanding of your inspection. 

Carfax Vehicle History Report 

With the inclusion of the Carfax report, you have access to your vehicle’s history. This history contains any information about previous accidents, open recalls, previous owners, service history and more. If you’re interested in finding out more about the past quality of your vehicle’s care, this add-on is for you!

Market Value Assessment

Based on a complete assessment of the vehicle, a fair market value will be determined based on the date of your inspection. The fair market value of the vehicle is determined based on the mileage, operation, condition of the internal and external components and any customization of the car. A market value assessment provides you, as the buyer, more negotiation power during the sale.  

Should you get a Mobile Pre-Purchase Auto Inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection is always a smart move when buying a used vehicle. Even if the deal seems as transparent as can be, an additional set of eyes on the car can reveal something that had previously gone unacknowledged. A pre-purchase inspection could be the difference between finding the vehicle of your dreams and a nightmare waiting to happen. 

So get started today with Lemon Squad’s mobile pre-purchase inspections and avoid buying a lemon!

Lemon Of The Week

After a competitive poll, the winning lemon of the week is vehicle number 2A 2003 Ford E450

Each week, Lemon Squad takes a poll from our Instagram followers. We provide images of two vehicles that have previously been inspected by Lemon Squad, and a brief summary of some of the vehicle’s imperfections. Our followers are then able to vote on which vehicle they think is a bigger “lemon”. After each poll, we combine the results to find the Lemon of the Week. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook  to get involved in the next round of voting and see what else is new with Lemon Squad!

Girl in a jacket

Let’s take some time to dive a bit deeper into the inspection report and what really makes this vehicle a lemon. We  want to stress the importance of having a pre–purchase inspection when buying a used car. This 2003 Ford E450 is an excellent example of “there’s more than meets the eye” (in the worst way). 

One of the biggest red flags for this Ford was that the Lemon Squad inspector could not even test drive the car; it would not run or drive and lacked power in many components. It is standard for Lemon Squad Inspectors to test drive every vehicle as it provides invaluable insight on the condition and performance of a car. 

Even after continuous attempts at jumping the battery, the vehicle could not maintain power, making it clear that it required a battery replacement. The backup camera on the vehicle did have power but still read “no signal.”

The vehicle’s exterior was plagued with scratches and dents that were even noticeable under the advertising wrap that encompassed the whole van. The advertising wrap made it nearly impossible to inspect the condition of the actual paint of the vehicle. Additionally, the vehicle’s underside showed significant signs of rot and rust on the frame, which would require metal work to be repaired. The rear shocks also sported rust and other signs of extreme age, demanding replacement as soon as possible. 

Compared to the exterior, the vehicle’s high mileage of 155,717 miles made the interior appear in better condition. General wear and tear on the seats and carpets showed that the state of the interior is very much in line with the vehicle’s age and mileage.

Overall, the vehicle’s exterior condition, the necessary repairs, and required metalwork make this 2003 Ford a Lemon. The issue with this vehicle is in the extensive and considerable nature of the needed repairs. All of these necessary repairs further makes the case to get a pre-purchase inspection before buying a car.

Lemon Squad Has You Covered

Even if you are out of state from the vehicle you intend to purchase, it is essential to have someone outside the seller view the car. Having a knowledgeable, uninvolved third party complete an inspection on the external and internal condition of a vehicle makes a sale much more transparent for the buyer. 

Lemon Squad provides car buyers with qualified inspectors within all zip codes of the United States, making it easy for any buyer to make an informed decision when it comes to used vehicle purchasing. Each inspection includes 100+ images of the vehicle and an in-depth inspection report that describes all of the systems mentioned above. Lemon Squad is equipt to inspect standard cars, classic cars, exotic cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and RVs. 

As a buyer, you now have the tools to avoid the hassle of buying used cars, site unseen. Don’t buy a lemon – book a mobile pre-purchase inspection with Lemon Squad!