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How to avoid buying a lemon when you;re shopping for a new car

Buying a Used Car? Avoid Buying Lemons

Updated on March 29, 2022

 Personal Finance

Many people each year think of buying a used car instead of going for new for a whole host of reasons, the main one being price. As soon as a brand new car leaves the lot it can lose thousands of dollars in value before you even get it home! When buying used cars there has always been a risk that no matter how much knowledge you have, the vehicle you are looking at is not as it seems. In many cases people who are buying used cars have all of the information they need to make an informed decision, however there are exceptions to the rule that leave people with lemon cars that will make little to no money should they wish to resell. Knowing what to look for is the key to getting a good, dependable car that will meet your needs without any surprises along the way to avoid unexpected car repair loans.

Look for Later Models

When you are searching for your next vehicle, car buying experts advise you to look for later models that have lower mileage. This is to avoid issues with warranty and wear and tear. The warranty is usually based on mileage which can cover the vehicle to anything up to 200,000 miles! Thankfully because of new cars losing value so quickly, you should be able to pick up a bargain by way of a later model that gives you almost the same amount of quality as a new vehicle. And you won't have to pay through the nose for it. If you do chose a late model then check whether the warranty can be extended further. This will cost extra from the dealership, but is definitely worthwhile should a factory fault occur.


Once you have decided which type of car you want (if you haven’t already) this will make buying a used car easier. Decide exactly what you need and want from your used vehicle and make comparisons. Think about whether you want a four-wheel drive, what engine size, fuel efficiency and, of course, seat capacity. Stick to these guidelines so that you are not talked into buying something you later regret.

Look at the Vehicle History

To avoid buying lemon cars you should look for cars that have a full history. Steer clear of vehicles you are looking at that do not have any history from the previous owner(s). If there is a long list of repairs that have been needed, then it is something you will want to avoid like the plague because you'll be the one that continues keeping up the regular maintenance. Don’t forget that luxury cars are likely to be more expensive to take care of should something go wrong, so bear this in mind when you put it into your car buying specifications. Also, you should consider the cost of insurance as this can vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. You don't want to be stuck with a car that you cannot afford to insure.


Once you have decided that buying a used car is the route you want to go down and have made your shortlist, you should then start making comparisons. Of course the end goal will be to stay within your budget. Going slightly over budget for a car that has better specifications if you are not looking to re-sell may be worthwhile for reliability and longevity. When buying used cars it is important to inspect both the inside and the outside. You should avoid buying lemon cars by looking for scratches, signs of rust, dents and other types of wear and tear no matter how small. You should then take the cars on a test drive. Don’t just take it around the corner take it around a good few roads as well as on the highway as this will help you to see how it performs in different conditions.

Take it to a Mechanic

As well as looking at the vehicle yourself when buying used cars, bring someone with you such as a friend or family member. They will be able to be the voice of reason and may spot problems that you have overlooked. They may have more expertise as a source of information and you will be more likely to be focused on buying a car than being thorough. Being too quick to make a decision could land you with a lemon before you know it, so listening to your friend could save you thousands. You can even get a professional mechanic to look over the car title loans before you decided to part with any money. It may seem like an unnecessary expenditure to begin with, but could save you shelling out in the near future.

Check Vehicle History Online

In the past people were able to hide certain problems with vehicles resulting in issues being found only after purchase. Look online to ensure that there has been no vehicle recalls and if so, what work has or has not been undertaken. You or a dealer can access a CARFAX report about any problems that are common with their vehicles; however they are not required by law to report them to customers. Look online for these details before buying a used car to avoid later disappointment. Besides the history from the manufacturers the internet allows potential buyers to check if there have been any fraudulent attempts to change mileage, the damage the vehicle has been through and much more. If you are buying a vehicle that had a salvage title in the past you could find that there are problems that may not be noticeable right away. In order to do this you will need the VIN number from the vehicle. This will be located nearby the windshield on the driver’s side on the top of the dashboard. It takes just minutes to find out whether the information you are being given ties in with that kept online.

If anything doesn’t add up the chances are this is one of the lemon cars being sold each and every day. Follow this used car buying guide to ensure you are not one of those people. At CASH 1 we like you to save money and prevent any unexpected financial emergencies. If you find yourself needing to learn how to pay for car repairs with no money, feel free to investigate our payday loan requirements or auto equity loans requirements and see if they are the short-term financial solution you need.