Whether you’re hoping to save money on a car purchase or are looking for a first car for your child, purchasing a used vehicle can be a great deal. However, it’s also slightly risky because you might get a lemon. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid buying a lemon car.

What Are the Best Tips on How To Avoid Buying a Lemon Car?

To avoid purchasing a car with tons of hidden issues, you should carefully investigate every aspect of the car and put certain protections in place to keep you from spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on repairs. You can achieve this inspection in various ways.

1. Find a Car History Report

The first step you should take before buying a used car is to obtain a vehicle history report. If you are considering purchasing from a dealership, they can usually give you this report for free. Or, you can order a report on your own, but you should be ready to pay a subscription or one-time fee.

Vehicle history reports are important because they tell you how often the previous owner serviced the car, what type of title it has, and any repairs performed. Most even offer an accident history. Check to see if there have been any recurring problems or crashes.

2. Take the Car for a Drive

Test driving a car.

Here’s another tip for how to avoid buying a lemon car: Take it for a test drive. Listen carefully as you drive, accelerate and brake. You should also check the thermostat to see if the car tends to overheat. Make sure you drive on a variety of roads, hills and curves so you can get a feel for how the car handles it.

Many people also forget to try the radio, lights, locks and windows. If anything in the electrical system isn’t working correctly, make sure to ask the seller why.

When you first get in the car, start the engine, and while it’s in park, rev the engine a little. While you drive, it should accelerate smoothly.

3. Ask a Mechanic To Take a Look

A third tip on how to avoid buying a lemon car is to ask a trusted mechanic to look at the engine, tires, and suspension. They should inform you of any leaky gaskets, hoses, or parts and should also let you know if there is rust damage on the vehicle. A good mechanic will also ensure that the brake system is in good shape, as well as the calipers and steering.

4. Inspect It Inside and Out

When inspecting the car, begin with the outside, including the paintwork, tires and exhaust pipe. Check under the hood, looking for problems with the battery, hoses or belts. Don’t forget to thoroughly evaluate the seatbelts, dashboard, upholstery and rugs. Ensure the doors and hinges work properly.

Everything should be in decent condition, without fraying, chipping, oxidation or corrosion. Taking it slow and inspecting each part of the vehicle is a great practice to include when learning how to avoid buying a lemon car. It’s easy to skip this step and give the car a quick glance for glaring problems, but when you take the car home, you might notice many issues.

5. Check the Vehicle Warranty

This applies if you are looking to purchase from a dealer. The Federal Trade Commission requires all dealers to make a Buyer’s Guide available for every used vehicle they sell. This guide will tell you if the car has a warranty or is being sold “as is.”

If the car you want doesn’t have a warranty, you may worry about how to avoid buying a lemon car. One great solution is to get a quote for a vehicle protection plan from a company such as Autopom! These plans usually help cover the cost of more expensive repairs or replacements that regular warranties don’t cover, including the engine, drive axle, brakes, transmission, electrical system and air conditioning.

These plans don’t cover routine maintenance or any part that needs frequent replacement, such as brake pads, oil changes, light bulbs, batteries, spark plugs, etc. However, a vehicle protection plan can provide peace of mind knowing that if you do happen to buy a lemon, you won’t have to pay so much out of pocket to get it in working condition again.

6. Look for Recalls

Tip number six of how to avoid buying a lemon car is to look for recalls. Some models have recurring issues due to manufacturing problems. Some of these problems are easily repaired, and some are not. While most dealers fix recall problems free of charge, this can take time and keep you from being able to use your car.

7. Check Out Reviews

Reading reviews to see if a car is a lemon.

An easy way to avoid purchasing a rotten car is to see what people have to say about the seller. This only applies if you’re purchasing from a dealership. Ask your friends if they’ve ever dealt with this seller, or check online reviews on sites such as Google or Yelp. Carefully check the reviews to see what people have to say about their car purchase and whether or not they feel like they got a good deal. Normally, people are very straightforward when they have a bad experience.

The Better Business Bureau is another good site to check and see if a dealership has any complaints about its sales. The more complaints there are, the more likely it is that the dealership is selling lemons.

The Consensus on How To Avoid Buying a Lemon Car

By now, you should know how to avoid buying a lemon car. It’s important to take your time when buying a car so you can carefully inspect it to ensure it is in the best working condition possible. However, when buying a car, you’ll never be 100% sure that it won’t have any problems. The best option is to purchase a protection plan that can help cover the costs of any unexpected repairs that may come up. Here at autopom! we offer extended coverage options to help you when you need it most. Visit our website today for a free quote.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc