Buying a car is always an overwhelming task. You're making a major purchase that will significantly impact your life for years to come, so it's important to get it right. This is challenging enough when buying a new car, but when you are purchasing a used car, the process can be downright scary. How do you know you can trust the seller?
There are several important things you can do to protect yourself and reduce the risk of purchasing a lemon. The following 10 tips will help you avoid purchasing a vehicle that may cause you more problems than it's worth:
- Buy a certified used car -- Certified used cars are inspected and repaired by a mechanic prior to the sale. They also come with a warranty or guarantee, which will give you peace of mind as well as additional protections under the California Lemon Law.
- Check the mileage -- While high mileage cars aren't as problematic as they were years ago, you still face an increased risk of problems when purchasing a car with 150,000 miles or more.
- Inspect the paint job -- If you notice paint missing from the fender, bumper or hood, it is likely that the car has been in an accident. The same holds true if you notice creases or bumps in the fender. Ask the owner about the accident history.
- Inspect the car's condition -- Look inside the vehicle to see how well the owner took care of it. If it is in disarray, it is likely that the owner was equally remiss in performing general maintenance servicing.
- Working heater and A/C -- Always make sure the heater and air conditioning are in working order.
- Check under the hood -- Look at the overall cleanliness of the engine and make sure all hoses are secured tightly and are in running order. Check for red flags such as oily spots, dark oil, spots under the car, and low fluid levels.
- Research the car's history -- Ask the owner or dealer for the Carfax.
- Look for warning lights on the dash -- When you start the car, check to see if any warning lights come on. This may be an indication that there is something wrong with the vehicle.
- Take a test drive -- Don't just drive it around the block. Drive it through traffic and take it on the highway where you can drive at higher speeds. This will give you a better chance to see if there are issues involving the brakes or alignment.
- Take it to a mechanic -- Always have a used car inspected by a mechanic that you know and trust before making the purchase.
If you've purchased a used car lemon, Howard Silver can help. Mr. Silver is a California Lemon Law attorney with more than 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of victims in the Los Angeles area. He will work tirelessly to help you resolve your problem as quickly as possible so that you have the means to secure a more reliable form of transportation.
Please contact The Law Office of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free used car lemon law consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernadino Counties, and throughout California.