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How to Avoid Buying "a Lemon"

Car buying can be and is often quite scary. Purchasing a vehicle is a major decision that involves lots of money and nobody wants to buy a lemon. More and more people these days are preferential to buying used rather than new while at the same time concerned about having to deal with inherited problems of the former owner. New cars can even be problematic after buying, however you can find a good car if you have spent a little time researching possible options.

Don’t Neglect Your Homework

The first step in buying a good, solid car is researching car models via independent sources. Your focus should be on repair problem incidences and reliability scores. The Center for Auto Safety and the National Traffic Safety Administration both provide valuable information about recalls, defects and complaints. Consumer reports are also a good source of information that is updated on a regular basis for both new and used cars. On the internet websites such as Edmunds.com are reliable, respected and can provide useful information to those in the car buying process. You also may want to consult online forums in which you can read about car owners’ experiences with certain models and types of cars.

Find a Reputable Dealer

A car dealer that is authorized generally has a good reputation and must answer to manufacturers. Never buy from a dealer that is not reputable, you may live to regret it. Also look for low odometer readings as this means the car has less wear and tear. Also keep in mind that sometimes a late model car may still be under warranty, newer tends to be better.

Once you have found a dealer whom you can trust, narrow down your list and do a few test drives from your list. Consider how the car handles and the noises it makes, if something seems to be wrong trust your gut as you will more than likely pay more out of pocket in the long run even though the purchase price may end up being a little more if you go with something a little more expensive.


Ask a Trusted Mechanic to Inspect the Vehicle

Hiring a mechanic to checkout a used car before you buy it may cost a little money, but it is worth it in the long run. You can however ask friends and colleagues if they know a mechanic personally, if you are lucky your coworker’s mechanic might do it for free or at discount as he or she will have gained your trust, confidence and business in the future.

Get a Vehicle History Report

Obtaining a vehicle history report provides information about the title and repair history of the vehicle. One good source is Carfax, for this you will need the vehicle identification number located on the car’s driver’s side window or on the title. If the report indicates that the vehicle has had multiple repairs and title transfers, the car probably is a lemon.

State Lemon Laws

Find out what the lemon laws are in your state. Lemon laws help in protecting consumers from lower than standard cars that fail to meet minimum quality standards. Lemon laws can vary state by state and may sometimes only protect buyers of new cars. If you feel that you have purchased a lemon, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in lemon laws, he or she will know how to help you.
In conclusion, finding and buying a reliable vehicle requires time and effort. Always make sure to do your homework, otherwise more than likely you will end up with a lemon as car dealers and individuals selling their cars are plentiful, many of which unfortunately will sell you something substandard at a higher cost than you should have to pay. It never hurts to shop around until you are completely sure that your final decision is the right one, in the end you will be happier with your purchase and have a decent set of wheels that can be relied on.

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