If you’re going to purchase a used vehicle, there are some things you should know that could help you spot a lemon (and avoid buying it). Buying a defective vehicle is a costly mistake, but fortunately, there are methods you can use to weed out the lemons and walk away with a solid purchase.
The following are three different ways you can improve your chances of getting a great vehicle. Remember, though, that if you do buy a lemon by mistake, you could still have a legal right to reverse the transaction or seek compensation.
How to spot a lemon as you shop for a car
There are many ways to avoid buying a lemon, but here are three that are easy to remember.
- Look at the buyer’s guide
If you go to a car lot, the first thing you should ask for is the buyer’s guide. These should be posted within the vehicles you’re looking at. Normally, they’re stuck to the windows of the vehicles, so you can read all about the cars.
The guide should say if the vehicle has a warranty or is sold as-is. It should also say if the dealer will cover the cost of any repairs and give you information about the vehicle’s mechanical or electrical systems.
- Work with a mechanic
Another tip is to have a mechanic come with you to test the vehicle. They can look for common signs of wear and tear and also run a general diagnostic, so you’ll know if there are any underlying issues that aren’t apparent right away. Most dealers will be happy for you to take the vehicle for an inspection.
- Inspect the vehicle yourself
The final option is to inspect the vehicle yourself. You can run your own reports from Carfax or AutoCheck to look into the vehicle’s background, and you can also check for body damage covered by paint or unusual odors when you turn on the vehicle.
These are all good ways to minimize the risk of buying a lemon. If you still do, you may have a right to take legal action.