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Red flags to look for when buying a used car

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Consumer Protection

When you go to the dealership and buy a used car instead of a new car, you’re probably looking to make a sound financial decision. You know that new cars lose a lot of value as soon as they drive off of the lot. You hope that you can buy a used car that will be nearly as good for just a fraction of that price.

Unfortunately, some car dealerships may try to manipulate you into buying a vehicle that is going to turn out to be a lemon. They could even defraud you by trying to hide issues with the car and making it appear to be a much better purchase than it really is. Below are a few things that you should look for, and you want to walk away if you see these red flags.

A smell

First off, it can be helpful simply to consider the way that the car smells. As well as the dealership probably cleaned it, you may still smell mildew or mold that could tell you that there was flooding and water damage in the past. Even if things look good now, that’s a significant risk.

Hidden rust

Next, make sure you look under the vehicle and around any plastic trim pieces for hidden rust. This is especially true. If it looks like the paint has recently been touched up, perhaps to hide any exterior signs of extensive rust damage.

An open recall

On top of that, many cars have an open recall that the previous owner never addressed. If you buy a new car, you deserve to know if there’s already a recall that has been issued. You certainly don’t want to purchase the vehicle and then find that you already need to take it in to have these issues rectified.

Excessive wear and tear

Finally, just look for signs of extra wear, such as spongy brakes. This could mean that the person who owned the car before was rather hard on the vehicle or did not do the necessary maintenance. Even if the dealer claims to have all of the maintenance records, trust your gut and consider what the car actually feels like as you test drive it.

If you do feel that you’ve been defrauded by a car dealership, then you need to look into all of your legal options.

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