If you’re in the market for a vehicle, you may be tempted to buy a used car you found in an ad online or in your newspaper. While there’s nothing wrong with finding a good deal on a used car, you’ll need to be careful. Luckily, there are ways to figure out if you’re getting good value or a gigantic lemon.
Clear Evidence of a Manipulated Odometer
When the odometer only has 20-30,000 miles and the car is five years old or more, there might be a problem. If the steering wheel or seat belt webbing shows evidence of significant wear and tear, the odometer may have been tampered with to hide serious engine issues.
An Unusual Check Engine Light
In this case, unusual means the check engine light isn’t turning on for a few seconds when you start the car up. If this happens, the seller may be keeping it off deliberately because the engine is in bad shape. Should this happen to you, ask the seller what the problem is. If the seller denies there are any problems at all, walk away.
Dents and Misaligned Body Parts
Even though dents and other cosmetic issues are fairly common on used cars, many sellers try to hide the fact they exist. If you see door panels or hood/trunk gaps that aren’t in alignment, these issues could mean the car was in a serious accident the seller is trying to hide. Look closely at the seams lining the fenders, hood, and doors. If they’re wider or narrower than they should be, your seller may be lying to you.
Lack of Title Paperwork
If the seller seems hesitant when you ask about the car’s title or says there isn’t one, just walk away. Although a few people lose the title among their paperwork, it’s far more likely that the car was stolen in this kind of situation. If there is a title available, check the date on it. If the purchase date was recent, there could be problems the seller isn’t telling you about.
Missing Maintenance Records
You should also be wary of sellers who have no records of maintenance or service, as it shows a complete lack of responsibility on the seller’s part. If you’re still interested in a vehicle without these records, you should have a professional auto inspection performed before deciding to buying it.
Don’t buy a used car from anyone who’s being disrespectful or sneaky. If the seller can’t answer the questions you have, that’s another reason not to trust him or her.
One of the best ways to avoid buying a poorly maintained used vehicle is to order a car inspection from Lemon Squad. We’ll schedule an appointment with one of our technicians who can check for a variety of issues with the car. Give us a call today at 888-231-7965 to learn more.