How to Spot a Lemon

When looking into purchasing a car that has been pre--owned, make sure your investment is going to be beneficial for a long time to come. However, there are some models of vehicles that tend to be not as efficient as others and you don't want to get stuck with these by not doing your research before you sign a contract. In order to avoid this situation, educate yourself on what to look for so that you can know how to spot the lemon before you go any further into the process.

The first thing to specifically look for in a model of any particular vehicle manufacturer line is the life, endurance and reliability of the car overall so you don't get stuck driving in a snowstorm only to break down. This will give you a picture of how long you should expect the engine to last and what other problems might pop up as time goes by. If you don't have this data in hand, you will be the mercy of whatever advertisements you have seen and what could be bogus claims into the life of the car on a regular basis.

Read Documentation Carefully

Make sure that you read that paperwork and stickers that are posted on the car carefully. You'll notice that some vehicles are sold with the clauses like these include right on the window. This is so clients are aware of the situation before they go any further that there will be no modifications made to this car before it's sold and that any repairs or replacements that are needed will be the responsibility of the buyer. Of course, there may be state laws that you need to consider in terms of what the dealer and what the buyer is responsible for, but reading the paperwork is one of the most important steps.

Another thing to look for is the evidence of an accident where major structural damage has been caused and parts have been replaced because of it. Although it's uncommon, you might actually find two different VIN numbers on the same vehicle if a large portion of the car has needed to be replaced. Usually, you find the numbers up on the dashboard and on the edges of the doors. If these numbers do not match, then you know right away that part of the vehicle has been replaced due to major damage.

Features to Look For

While looking at a particular car, you might be more concerned with how the radio works, or the convenience and condition of the seats and appearance of the car's internal features as well. If there is a lot of sun damage with cracked seats or a cracked headliner, this can give you knowledge that perhaps the car was not as maintained as well as it should have. It can also let you know that you might be needing to replace these items very soon so you can figure out whether or not that's in your budget to handle. Make sure the seat belts work as well because this is not only a safety issue, but also a legal issue.

Finally, check the engine to see that it is fairly clean and there is no evidence of an oil leak or hose breaks that are occurring whenever the car is running in order to spot a lemon. The bad news is that if you find these symptoms, you may have to check your gaskets and hoses for problems before they cause bigger problems to appear. If you see a dirty engine, then you need to definitely check the maintenance records and find out why that could be occurring. Otherwise, you might just choose to move on to a different vehicle altogether.

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