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car buying tips to spot a lemon

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Car Tips To Spot A Lemon

by | Nov 21, 2018

Unless you are an experienced mechanic, buying a used car can be a little daunting. Many of us worry that the shiny, great looking car we are buying is actually a lemon. This scenario can be particularly problematic when buying from a private seller, who is under no legal obligation to point out any faults in the vehicle. Once you have handed over your cash and driven away, whether the vehicle is a lemon or not, you are stuck with it. Fortunately, even a novice can spot a lemon with these car buying tips.

Decide Your Budget:

This should be the first step any driver takes, whether they are considering a new or used vehicle. You will need to know how much you can confidently afford to spend on your new car. You may find you are pleasantly surprised when you calculate your budget and you have more to spend. If you can spend a little more at a reputable car dealer, you will virtually eliminate the possibility of buying a lemon. The car may even be sold with a warranty giving you extra peace of mind.

Research Your Preferred Car:

The next tip is to research what car you are looking to buy. If your budget is particularly tight, you may be limited in your choices, but you should, at least, have an idea of whether you want a hatchback or saloon, petrol or diesel, large or small vehicle. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you won’t be tempted to simply jump at the first car that takes your eye.

Once you have a shortlist of possible vehicles, it’s worth checking some reviews online. It is a good idea to check the figures for fuel consumption and if there are any consistent faults in the range. You may notice that the same problems or quirks keep getting mentioned. These details will help you to determine if it is the right car for you and help you to have some pointers when you view one.

Check Car Values:

When you are considering used cars, you need to keep the phrase “too good to be true” in your mind. While you are looking at advertisements, compare the asking price to the Red Book value. If a car is far too cheap, you need to ask yourself why. Often lemons are cunningly disguised as a bargain, so don’t get greedy and rush into a cheap deal, often it does turn out too good to be true.

Ask Lots of Questions:

Whether you are buying a used car from a private seller or dealer, be prepared to ask lots of questions. You need to establish what condition the vehicle is in, whether it has ever had damage, if it has been regularly serviced and if it has any odd habits. Be sure to ask questions when you are arranging to view the vehicle and when you view it.

Inspect the Car:

When you go to view the vehicle, make sure you give it a proper inspection. Although you may not be mechanically minded, you can still check quite a few details. Listen to the engine; does it sound like it is running smoothly? Is there any strain noises when you turn corners or accelerate? Do the tyres have a decent amount of tread? Are there any rust spots or damage on the bodywork? If you’re not completely happy with the vehicle, walk away.


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