6 Tips That Will Ensure You Drive Away with a Reliable Car
When shopping for vehicles – especially used vehicles – there’s always a concern that you may drive away and the car completely breaks down. It may not happen immediately, but there are times when a vehicle barely makes it a few hundred miles before biting the dust. There are plenty of nicknames for this type of car…jalopy, heap, clunker. However, the official term for a car that breaks down after barely any ownership is called a lemon.
A lemon is every car buyer’s worst nightmare, especially if they purchase the vehicle in “as is” condition. Depending on how long you’ve owned the vehicle, where you bought it, and your particular state, you may or may not have some legal recourse under the lemon law. Of course, the best way of dealing with this situation is to not buy a lemon in the first place.
So, how do you do that?
What best practices ensure that the car you’re getting will actually last?
Here are our top tips on how to avoid buying lemon when shopping for used or new cars for sale in Houston:
#1 – Buy a Brand-New Car
Considering how high inflation is right now, along with vehicle interest rates, buying a new car may be easier said than done. However, this is the singular surefire way to ensure that you don’t buy a lemon.
There’s hard data to back that up. Statistically, about 150,000 cars a year have problems that cannot be fixed. That means that around 1% of all new cars are technically considered lemons. If you want to get the best odds possible that you get a reliable car, a new vehicle purchase is the way to go.
#2 – Research the Car Before You Buy It
The Internet is a wonderful thing. You have limitless knowledge at your fingertips, including which vehicles have been flagged for being lemons. That’s right, if you’re ever looking at a particular vehicle and considering it for purchase, do a quick Internet search to confirm that it is not being mentioned by past buyers as a lemon. Taking a couple minutes to do this may very well save you weeks of agony.
#3 – Go with a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle
If your budget doesn’t allow for you to buy a new car, then the next best thing is to go with a certified pre-owned vehicle. Although not technically new, certified pre-owned vehicles do come with a limited warranty and usually go through a battery of tests and inspections before they’re allowed to be on the lot.
#4 – Get the Vehicle Inspected by an Independent Mechanic
Okay, let’s say for instance that you’re searching the used vehicle market, and you’ve decided to look into private sellers. Although this is certainly advantageous from a price point perspective, you are putting yourself at risk for potentially purchasing a lemon.
The best way to ensure that the vehicle you’re looking at is in acceptable condition is by having it inspected by an independent mechanic. Although this is going to cost you a little bit of money out of pocket, the results of the inspection will give you the assurance you need to move forward with the purchase.
#5 – Ask for Service and Vehicle History
Paperwork tells the story of a vehicle. If you ask for the service and vehicle history of the car that you’re looking at, and the seller can’t provide it, then you may be looking at a lemon. Conversely, if the seller is able to provide a detailed history of the vehicle and the services it has undergone, then you may be in a good spot. An owner that is kept up with the vehicle’s routine maintenance and services is usually a good sign.
#6 – Inspect Closely and Test Drive Thoroughly
As a potential purchaser of a vehicle, the onus is on you to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and test drive it. There are definitely some telltale signs of a lemon that you need to be aware of.
Is the car filthy and disgusting?
When you pop the hood, does the engine and other components look worn or out of shape?
When you test drive the vehicle, does it feel like the vehicle is struggling or that there’s something wrong with it?
Whatever the case may be, you need to thoroughly look over everything about the vehicle. If anything seems problematic or you get a bad feeling, walk away from the deal.
Finding a New or Used Car Near You
If you’re shopping for new or used cars for sale, we can’t recommend enough that you go with a dealership rather than a private seller. Dealerships are more beholden to laws and regulations than private sellers. Dealerships are also much more concerned about their reputation, so it behooves them not to sell any of their customers a lemon.
The best way to get started is by Googling the phrase “new cars for sale near me” or “certified pre-owned vehicles for sale near me.” That should bring up numerous listings of trusted used car dealerships in your direct vicinity.