Purchasing a good used car is not an easy endeavor. Should you buy one from a used car dealer or a private party? What about the car’s history, can you trust what either party tell you about the car’s history. There are things you can do to avoid ending up with a lemon.
Research car models and make sure that you are interested in through an independent source such nhtsa.gov and autosafety.org. These agencies maintain information about recalls, safety bulletins, and complaints about cars. Look at the reliability scores and the frequency of repair problems. The reports are regularly updated with car information and even have manuals for buying new and used car buying.
Take full advantage of the wealth of information on the internet. There are forums for car buyers that will lead to any problems associated with buying used cars.
Visit only dealers that are reputable in your local area. Look for one with a good word of mouth reputation. An authorized dealer must answer to the car manufacturer and a good reputation is how they make money. Many new car dealer lots have good used cars for sale. These cars are usually gone over in detail and any needed repairs have been done.
Look for low miles on the odometer, also a worn brake pedal may mean the car has more miles on it than indicated. Many late model cars still have time or miles left on the warranty, adding additional warranties can be done at time of purchase.
Narrow your choices down to a couple you are thinking of buying and test-drive them. This goes without saying and any noises or strange shakes may mean there is a problem with the drive-train or the frame of the car. Have a reliable mechanic to inspect the car. It may cost some time and money but buying a lemon far outweighs these issues.
Contact your local DMV for a Vehicle History Report or VHR. This can show information about the history of the title and the car’s repair history. Another source is CarFax, which will show any details such as whether the car has been wrecked or written off by an insurance company. If a car shows multiple titles then this would indicate a problem that you do not want to deal with.
Investigate the lemon laws in your state. As of this writing only six states have used-car lemon laws. These laws provide a mandatory used-car warranty that may be based on the mileage or age of the vehicle. When buying a new car the lemon law requires the manufacturer to either refund the purchase price or replace the vehicle. In the case of a used-car lemon, the dealer is responsible to replace or refund. The states that have used-car lemon laws are New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Massachusetts.