Three Steps to Help You Avoid Buying a Lemon Car
Locating and buying a used automobile that is free of any and all issues can be a difficult task. Still, there are ways to avoid driving a lemon off the lot. Being able to spot possible issues, as well as conducting thorough research ahead of making your purchase can go a long way toward helping you avoid making a costly purchase.
Consumer Reports notes that there are a number of ways in which buyers can spot a lemon. In this blog, our Los Angeles lemon law attorney will discuss three key steps that should be taken to avoid buying a lemon.
Put On Your Investigative Hat Before Making the Purchase
Before purchasing a vehicle, you should consider conducting a bit of research on your own to help you determine whether or not the vehicle you intend to buy will be a good choice in the long run. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a list of all technical service bulletins (TSBs) and official vehicle recalls -- you are encouraged to check to see if your potential purchase is on either one of those lists.
If there was a recall on your vehicle, check with the dealer/seller to find out if that recall work has been performed. Recall issues should be dealt with as soon as possible after the recall was issued.
Review the Vehicle’s History Report and Reliability Record
Another excellent resource to check prior to purchasing a used vehicle is the automobile’s history report. The history report can be obtained from either Experian Automotive or CarFax. The report can be used to find out about any potential issues with odometer fraud, past accident, fire and/or flood damage, as well as whether or not a salvage/rebuilt title was ever issued for the vehicle.
Reviewing a vehicle’s reliability record is also a good way to lower your risk of buying a troublesome vehicle ahead of time. Consumer Reports notes that vehicle buyers can review the reliability/history charts that typically accompany many of their vehicle profiles in order to gain more insight into how well certain vehicle models have done overall in the past.
Check Over the Entire Vehicle --- But Especially Under the Hood
Of course, it is always a wise idea to look over the automobile thoroughly before purchasing. This means checking the inside, outside and especially under the hood. For instance, taking a close look at the interior of a used vehicle can be quite telling, particularly if you see damaged/frayed seatbelts or melted fibers on the seatbelts -- that could be an indication that an accident occurred that was above 15 miles per hour at least, in which case, the seatbelts should have been replaced.
With respect to the outside of the vehicle, dents, mismatched body panels and chipped windows can be representative of past crash repairs or some other type of problem. Likewise, paint on chrome or rubber trim can also be a sign of previous body repair.
When looking under the hood of a used automobile, you should find the battery, engine and radiator to be fairly grease-free and have little to no corrosion. All hoses and belts should be unworn. If you see melted tubes or wires, that could indicate an issue with overheating or a past engine fire.
If you believe you have purchased a lemon vehicle in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, speak with a lemon law lawyer as soon as possible.