Lemons leave a sour taste in your mouth – and so do cars that fail you after the first couple of hundred miles. You buy something you think is going to last you for many years to come, only for it to conk out a couple of weeks later.
Spotting a lemon isn’t always easy. Sellers do everything they can to conceal the fact that a car is a dud. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs. If there’s sawdust coming out of the engine and black smoke billowing from the exhaust, it suggests that you have a problem on your hands.
In this post, we take a look at some of the telltale signs you’re about to buy a lemon. Don’t fall for it!
The Ad Is Poorly Written
A person’s ability to write good ad material doesn’t necessarily say anything about the vehicle you’re about to buy, but usually it’s a good indication. If everything is handwritten, crossed out or scribbled on, then you might be looking at a dud.
Compare the ad for the vehicle you want to various ads from reputable used car dealerships. You’ll notice that the latter is much more professional and gives you more confidence.
The Seller Tries to Reassure You
Confident sellers won’t try to reassure you with things like manufacturer buyback. Instead, they’ll just explain the benefits of the car. After all, the benefits are real.
Those attempting to flog a lemon, though, don’t believe in what they’re selling, and often, you can tell. They’ll appear to lack confidence and constantly be trying to “prove” that the vehicle is as good as they claim.
The Tires Don’t Match
Non-matching tires aren’t a problem in themselves, but, again, they’re a good indication of the kind of treatment the car’s received over the course of its life. If the owner couldn’t be bothered to make the tires match, what other compromises have they made during the service life of the vehicle?
The Paint Job Is Sloppy
While the exterior appearance of a vehicle is merely cosmetic and doesn’t really matter a great deal, sloppy paint jobs, chipped paint and rust can all offer insight. What’s happening on the exterior of the vehicle is often reflective of occurrences inside too.
The interior of lemons tends to be poorly kept and scrappy. The upholstery might be ripped or the seats may have big damp patches all over them.
The Suspension Feels Off
If you get into a used car and it feels a bit like a bouncy castle, you’re in trouble. Usually, it means that the suspension has gone, and the vehicle doesn’t have enough support to make it over things like speed bumps and potholes.
If there is serious damage, it could result in failure of critical components, like the axle, later on.
You can check the suspension by sitting in the vehicle and seeing how it feels or pushing down on the corners. It should spring back quickly, and you shouldn’t be able to depress it too far.
You Get a Feeling…
Most of all, trust your gut and if you get the sense that something is off… go with that feeling and consider a different vehicle.