How to Avoid Buying a Used Lemon Car

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Below are a few basic car knowledge tips to buying a used car.


  • Wear old clothes, take a flashlight and a notepad when you go take a look at the car.
  • Ask to see the car title and get the name and phone number of the previous owner. Call the previous owner and ask about any problems they had with the car.
  • Write down any problems they had with the car and check with your mechanic for those problems. Also write down the mileage.
  • Make sure the car hasn’t been wrecked badly, look for dull paint and ripples. Open and close all doors. (If the doors are hard to close or open then the car has been in a wreck)
  • Check the bottom and inside of the doors for rust. Check the trunk for rust.
  • Make sure the spare tire is serviceable and matches the rest of the tires.
  • Look under the car and in the wheels. If the underside has been freshly coated then the seller is probably trying to hide something from you. There is no reason to undercoat but to hide rust.
  • Turn on the car and look at the muffler system. Make sure that fumes aren’t escaping at any point along the system.
  • Push the accelerator down gently and listen for any knocks and funny noises. Let the engine run for 5 minutes, then move the car. If there is a pool of liquid, then you have problems.
  • Give the interior of the car a good look. Check for missing parts or stains or tears.
  • Apply strong pressure to the brake pedal for about 30 second. If the pedal keeps going to the floor then you got a brake leakage.
  • Test drive the car for about 30 to 45 minutes and make sure the gears shift smoothly ,the brakes don’t make strange noises and the steering wheel doesn’t jerk and resists when you turn it. Turn the wheel sharply to make sure the car doesn’t bounce or sway too much.
  • Check to see if the tires match and are worn evenly.

Doing these things will prevent you from discovering any problem with the car after you have purchase it.

Good luck!

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