4 Signs You're Buying a Lemon
When buying a used or pre-owned car, it's expected that there will be some wear and tear that comes with it. Used cars are a great way to save money when buying a car and if you do your research, you can end up with a car that will last you years to come. However, if you're new to the car buying scene and are unsure how to go about buying a reliable car, you may end up with a lemon. Whether you're looking for a car to learn how to drive, or you're ready for your tenth car, you need to know what you should look for in a car. To avoid being scammed and driving home with a car that doesn't serve its purpose, take a look at these telltale warning signs that might point to your car being a lemon.
A Messy Interior
Sure, no used car is going to have a spotless interior. We've all had those scenarios where we've had to brake really hard and spilled our coffee on our seat or had backseat passengers spilling crumbs all over the place. However, if you're looking at a car with an interior that looks like a tornado swept through it, it most likely means the rest of the car wasn't taken good care of, either. So, if you open the door and get hit with odd odors such as oil or a burnt smell, that isn't a good sign. If this is the case, you should most likely walk away and head back to the drawing table and begin searching again. To avoid issues like these, you can use car history services that conduct a background check on the vehicle you're purchasing using the VIN to get a report.
Loud Noises or Sounds
This goes without saying, but if you take a test drive of your car before purchasing it and hear loud noises or sounds, something is definitely wrong. If you hear a hissing, humming, buzzing, knocking, or any other sound while you're driving, especially from under the hood, something such as a gasket or piston could blow. Ignoring your sense of hearing while searching for a car can cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in repairs in the long run.
And don't think only used cars can turn out to be lemons. New cars can have their own defects, too. Say you're outside the Windy City of Chicago looking for a new Mercedes for sale in Naperville, or on the market for a shiny new Aston Martin in Miami. If you schedule a test drive with your dealer and notice anything is off, begin asking questions right away. Some sketchy dealerships may practice fraudulent activity and have the facade of a legitimate business. Always do your research, especially when buying a new car for thousands of dollars, to drive home in a vehicle that is reliable, smooth, and clean.
Pulling or Shaking
Never judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to car buying. Online photos of your car may seem appealing, but once you hit the streets, you may think otherwise. Always take the car you're looking to buy for a test drive on a highway or a street with a faster speed limit. Doing so will allow you to gauge whether the car begins to pull in one direction or starts shaking as you increase speed. If you notice these tendencies, it could mean that there is an alignment problem with the car. Searching for the perfect car takes time and patience. You never want to jump the gun and write a check for a car you don't feel 100 percent about driving in. Use all of your senses (besides taste!) when previewing potential cars to ensure you don't end up with a lemon!
The suspension of your car is extremely important. It's responsible for creating a smooth ride and keeping your car in control. The suspension of your car consists of many working parts, such as the tires, chassis, springs, and shock absorbers to support road handling. To test a potential car's suspension, push down on the front and rear bumpers. Does the car move up and down? Or is it completely stiff? If the car doesn't pass the bumper test and is extremely stiff, there may be a suspension problem. Checking the suspension is an important tip when buying a car because without proper suspension, you could put you and your passengers in harm's way.
The Bottom Line
Buying a car, new or used, is a big investment. You want a vehicle that will keep you safe and last you for years to come without having to shell out tons of money on repairs. To avoid driving home in an awful car, follow these four tips to identify warning signs of a lemon.