When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a lemon car, however, you may be less inclined to see the bright side of the equation. Purchasing a lemon car with serious mechanical issues is only likely to put you back in the market for a new car sooner rather than later.
Buying a used vehicle makes perfect budgetary sense for many Americans. After all, with a large percentage of people living paycheck to paycheck, how could you blame anyone for taking a bargain?
Still, if you’re purchasing a used vehicle you’ll need to know how to look out for a lemon. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Status of the Car’s Interior
If you’re trying to get a feel about how problematic a vehicle you’re looking at may or may not be, a brief look through the interior might give you a lot of hints.
If you can tell the interior of the car has been treated poorly, it might be a cause for concern. Look for cracks, rips, tears, stains, and other sorts of serious cosmetic damage that could have been fixed prior to a sale.
These issues are red flags for more than one reason. On one hand, they don’t necessarily indicate the owner took the best possible care of the vehicle. It also means that they weren’t all-too-concerned about getting the car fixed up before selling it off to another person.
Both are good reasons to be a little skeptical. If a person didn’t take care of their car’s interior, logic would reason they likely didn’t put much effort into protecting their engine and machinery either. A cause for concern!
Worn Down or Mismatched Tires
Want to really put your detective hat on when looking at a used vehicle? Crouch down and do a good inspection of all four tires on the car.
The tires can tell a narrative that is going to be of great value to you. An excessive amount of wear and tear is going to tell you the car has been through a lot, as you might expect.
Even before you look into that aspect though, you might be struck by the fact that tires actually don’t match. It’s possible that the vehicle in question is operating on tires of different brands entirely, possibly even different sizes.
Driving with four different tires is bad for a vehicle and can bring about damage quite easily. If the car has different tires installed, it’s already a strong indication that the vehicle could be a lemon.
Worn and torn tires aren’t necessarily indicative of a lemon, but if the tires do look truly worn out, it can be a cause for concern. It at least means the car has seen a lot and is an indication you should take a closer look at the vehicle’s current status and health.
Advertisement Lacks Detail
Sometimes you can spot a red flag before even looking at a vehicle in person at all. Sometimes, the advertisement for a sale can already tip you off to potential issues down the line.
An advertisement for a used car should look and sound respectable, just like any other kind of advertisement. It should display all of the information you need to make an educated decision about looking into the vehicle.
Basic information such as the make and model should be included, though additional information would be nice to have. In addition, a reason that the owner of the vehicle might be selling the car would be nice to know but isn’t always included.
If the advertisement you’re looking at fails to convey even the most basic information about the vehicle, it’s okay to feel that sinking feeling in your gut. It might mean that seller is trying to obscure information about the vehicle.
It also just might mean they aren’t putting much effort into the sale of their vehicle. This often means they don’t think the car itself has much value — another sign that you might have a lemon on your hands.
While there are state laws in many places that serve to protect people from purchasing lemon cars, you’ll still want to do your best to avoid these kinds of ad sellers.
Misaligned Body Parts
If there’s a real clear red flag when it comes to looking at a used car, it would be misaligned body parts. If you noticed body panels of the car are not aligned properly, it’s a clear indication that the vehicle has been in a major accident.
In many cases, the seller of the car might try to pass this off as a minor thing. However, a major accident (that the seller might deny occurred!) no doubt has done some damage to the machinery of the vehicle.
Even with a used car, the body of the vehicle should be aligned. If it isn’t, you are not in the wrong for being seriously concerned. This is one of the biggest signs of a lemon car out there. You should step away from the sale entirely.
Do I Have a Lemon Car?
If you’re considering purchasing a used car, it’s very important to take the time to make sure you’re getting something of quality. Understanding the above signs of a lemon car can help you avoid an unfortunate fate. Make sure to check out all of these factors before agreeing to purchase a vehicle.
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