How to avoid buying a lemon

It’s a tale as old as cars themselves… the car buyer and the lemon. So you’ve found yourself the car you want for a price way lower than you were expecting to pay, what could go wrong!? As you’re about to learn with this car, everything that could go wrong, will go wrong. First off, you get your new car home and on the drive you realise that the air conditioning isn’t working and there’s a puddle of oil all over your driveway. That’s may just be the start of your problems. Are you sure that it will start tomorrow when you get up to go to work?

We outline our tips on avoiding this scenario by purchasing a car that won’t give you headaches.

1. Read independant car reviews on the model you’re looking

Doing some independent reading on motoring blogs, forums and across the internet can help you to find out other people’s experiences with a certain model. Sometimes a bit of research can go a long way to figuring out which models give people the most problems and what to look out for on individual models to avoid buying a lemon.

2. Do a VIN check on your vehicle

Imagine buying a car, just to find out that it can’t be registered due to being a write-off flood vehicle or otherwise. Similarly, vehicles effected by finance are technically the property of the finance company until they are paid off. So if the finances of a car are not in order from the previous owner you might end up having the car taken away from you.

3. Get a vehicle inspection from an independent mechanic

Some things can only be checked by a mechanic, like cylinder compression and a number of other things. There are just some things that only a qualified mechanic can pick up on. Save yourself the worry, and get peace of mind by getting a mechanic to identify any potential issues with a car before you’ve even committed to buying it.

4. Test drive it

While test driving a vehicle, make sure that everything is operating how it should be. Make special note of any smoke and check that the gauges are reading moderate temperatures. One other thing is to listen closely to see if you can hear any unusual noises while accelerating, changing gears, braking and cornering.