How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

A lemon is the term used to designate cars that have perpetual defects, either as a manufacturing flaw or as a result of poor design. Such cars can sometimes be spotted before making a purchase, but many other cases can arise only after years of use. Whatever the case may be, buyers still have the advantage if they’re yet to decide on which car to buy, regardless of whether it’s a new or used one. So, here are a few tips on how you can avoid buying a lemon.

Research the Model

Before you finalize your purchase, research the model you’re thinking of buying by looking online and also asking around. Some cars have a history of giving engine trouble or trouble with the clutch assembly or the suspension or the air conditioning. Steer clear of such cars even if the dealer promises that the quirks have been removed. Instead, be on the look-out for reliable cars that have a long history of being known for their low maintenance costs and has close to zero repair costs in general. Many websites such as Edmunds, KBB and CarandDriver have accurate tools that are necessary to research cars regardless of their make or model.   

Do A Background Check

It only takes a small investment to access the service history of a particular car. By gaining access to the history, you’ll be able to find out whether the car has been in any kind of accident, how serious the damage was, what parts needed repairs and how often the car has been in the service station, especially in case of insurance claims. It’s hard to tell whether the car has been performing well enough after any kind of accident.

Manual Inspection

Consider doing it in the daytime. Inspection of the exterior can reveal how the car has been handled in the past or how well it’s been maintained. A paint job, minor color variations, paint drips, etc., are tell-tale signs that you’re not getting an absolutely great car.

Visit or Bring An Independent Mechanic Along

You could also have an independent mechanic look the vehicle you’re thinking of buying, with a more experienced eye, to fill you in, on details you had missed. As a layman, you can only catch so much, but an experienced one could detect a number of issues.

Check the Buyer’s Guide

In the case of a used car, the dealer is bound by law to display a buyer’s guide on the window of every car. This guide is to tell you comprehensively about the car’s condition, the warranties that cover the car, repair expenses borne by the dealer, guarantees offered by the dealer, etc. If the buying contract states otherwise, the buyer’s guide takes precedence.

Check Recalls and TSBs

Sometimes automakers issue recalls of certain parts in a car or particular model in which some defect was found. For example, Toyota’s airbag deployment issue. Technical Service Bulletins or TSBs are reports that list out problems in a car that the dealer is to fix.

Test Drive

When you do a test drive, listen to the car. Step on the gas, brake hard, turn sharply and check for smoothness, funny sounds, etc.,  

So when it comes to buying a car, remember to examine, research and only then go for the buy!