One of the best ways to avoid the headaches and grief that come with purchasing a defective used or defective certified pre-owned vehicle is to thoroughly inspect the car BEFORE you drive it off the lot. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, Ken Bensinger recently wrote an article entitled “10 ways to spot trouble” that helps guide the reader with 10 easy things to look for when buying a used or certified pre-owned vehicle.
The tips themselves came from Carey Caldwell, purchasing manager for used-car chain CarMax. Armed with these guidelines, the average used car consumer might be able to sniff out potential used and certified pre-owned car problems before driving the car off the lot. The tips address cars that have suffered severe water damage, significant body work, and finally issues with the operation of the motor vehicle on the road.
Cars that have been submerged in water or have at some point been water logged are notorious for having problems of all sorts. How do you identify these autos after they’ve been dried out? The article suggests doing things like sitting in the car with the windows rolled up and smelling for mildew or musty odors. Finding signs of water damage like silt, water lines, and rust on the bolts that hold the seats to the floor and seat belts is a sure-fire giveaway that the car was at one point or another, water logged.
Significant Body Damage
Automobiles that have had big repairs or been wrecked and rebuilt can have a much shorter shelf life then cars that have been cared for properly and not been in any accidents. The article suggests looking for signs of big repairs in places like under the hood, under the carpet inside the trunk and on the bolts that hold the fenders. Checking the car’s body panels for vehicle identification numbers (VIN) can also indicate when one of the panels has been replaced.
The most obvious of all areas that need to be checked can sometimes be forgotten. By simply starting the car and listening to the engine, you can tell a lot about how a used automobile will function. The engine should idle smoothly without any inconsistent running, grinding or knocking sounds. The test-drive of the used car can also reveal a lot about the health of the auto and whether or not it is a California Used Car Lemon. By driving the car a few miles and checking all the systems like the radio, windshield wipers, heater, air conditioning, and headlights you can spot obvious problems right away. Also checking the odometer and making sure that it is tracking the distance traveled properly is of major importance. “(If it’s stuck,) who knows how many miles are really on this car” Cladwell explains.
Even if the car you’re interested in passes the once-over test, Caldwell still suggests that you have the car inspected at a garage of your choice. Some problems only a mechanic can spot. The average cost of an inspection like this one can be anywhere between $50 to $150, a small investment to help insure that you don’t end up with a defective California Used Car.
Following the steps outlined in the article can help prevent you from making a purchase you will regret, but if you think the car you have already purchased is a lemon and you want your money back or another car, you should contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today for a free, half hour consultation with one of our experienced California Lemon Law attorneys.