Buy a Car – Not a Lemon

When you buy a new used car, you don’t want to get a lemon — you want a vehicle that runs good enough so that you don’t need repairs other than regular maintenance. After all, you are buying a used car because you are trying to save money on your car expense. We here at PaydayLoansCashAdvance put a list together to help you avoid a bad car purchase.

Lemon Law

Know your state’s Lemon Law. Some states do not have a Lemon Law for used or leased vehicles. When you buy a used vehicle, it usually does not come with a warranty. A lemon law typically covers the vehicle only if it has a warranty. The federal lemon law — the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act — protects everyone in the United States by covering anything mechanical that goes wrong with a vehicle.

Contracts

When you purchase a new used car, you may sign a sales contract with a dealership or you may sign something as simple as a bill of sale from a private seller. Regardless of where you buy the used car and what you sign, always look for two words: As is. If the sales contract or bill of sale states that you are buying the vehicle “as is,” this means you are buying it without any type of warranty. The seller does not have an obligation to repair anything that breaks, even if it breaks before you drive it off the property.

Test Drive

Before you commit to purchasing a car, whether you are buying from a dealer or a private seller, always test drive the vehicle. Don’t just drive around the block. You need to drive it far enough for the vehicle to come to operating temperature, as many things go wrong only when the vehicle heats up.

Using a Professional

Preferably, you should test drive your vehicle to your trusted mechanic or bring a mechanic with you to test drive the vehicle. While you, as a layperson, can look for many things yourself, your mechanic has the experience to look for certain things that may not be obvious to you.

Things to Check

Before you leave on the test drive, check all fluids. Make sure you check the water, oil, transmission fluid if applicable, brake fluid and power steering fluid. If you are buying a manual, check the clutch master cylinder.

When you check the oil, the oil should be brown. If it is milky or frothy, the car may have a head gasket problem. Do not buy the vehicle no matter what the seller tells you. If the head gasket had been repaired, the oil should have been changed and would not be milky.

The transmission fluid should be pink or pinkish brown and should not smell burned. If the transmission fluid smells burned, avoid the purchase. If the vehicle had a previous problem that was allegedly repaired, the transmission fluid should have been changed.

Notice the level on all fluids before you leave for the test drive.

Also Check

Once you get in the vehicle and start it, listen for unusual noises and check for vibrations. If the vehicle has a misfire, there could be several things wrong with it, from a tune up to a problem with the ignition, a problem with one of the sensors or a problem with the fuel system. Unless your mechanic can guarantee it’s something inexpensive to repair, steer clear of that vehicle.

Check the brakes before you leave. Put the vehicle in gear and move forward slowly. Press the brake. The brake pedal should not go more than halfway to the floor. Check the emergency brake. If the emergency brake handle comes up more than halfway or, if you have a pedal and it goes more than halfway to the floor, the vehicle may need rear brakes. At the very least, you’ll need to have the rear brakes adjusted if they are drum brakes. If the rear brakes are disc, you’ll need new brakes.

If you are looking at a manual shift vehicle, the clutch pedal should take hold about halfway to the floor. If it goes more than that, you are going to need a clutch sooner rather than later. If it goes all the way to the floor, you’ll need a clutch immediately. Do not buy the vehicle.

If everything seems to be okay up to this point, drive the car for at least five miles. Keep your eye on the gauges. Be aware that some vehicles do not have an oil pressure gauge or a temperature gauge — they have “dummy” lights. If the dummy light comes on, it’s already too late. Return the vehicle and run away as fast as you can.

Ask Questions and Get Documentation

You can ask all the questions you want, but remember — the person is trying to sell a car. That person may not tell the whole truth or may omit some information. Ask the questions and ask for documentation to back up the seller’s statements. If the seller states that the timing belt was recently changed, get documentation. Timing belts must be changed at a certain mileage or time interval. If the vehicle has 70,000 miles and the manufacturer recommends changing the timing belt at 60,000 miles; and it hasn’t been done, you’ll have quite a large repair on your hands.

What to Tell Your Mechanic

If you bring the car to your mechanic because he or she was not able to come with you to look at the vehicle, be sure you tell the mechanic that you are interested in buying the vehicle and that you need to have it fully checked. If you noticed any noises or anything unusual in the way the vehicle ran on the way to the repair shop, mention it to the mechanic so he can check those things.

If everything checks out the only thing left is to haggle price with the seller. Print out this list of tips from PaydayLoansCashAdvance to help you avoid a bad car purchase; and make sure you understand your state’s lemon laws before you go car shopping.

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