March 28, 2023

Most people have listened to a woeful friend who bought a lemon for a vehicle. You have probably even heard them use the term, “lemon” to describe the vehicle. Regardless of whether you buy new or used vehicles, you don’t want to buy a lemon. We will outline a couple of cautionary tales about cars and lemons and how to avoid buying one like that. 

Failure to Inspect the Car Fully

Julie is the first tale of woe. She bought a used Ford Taurus a couple of years ago, but she made one fatal mistake that cost her thousands of dollars when she went to buy a car. Julie didn’t inspect the car thoroughly enough because she didn’t know enough about cars to give it a thorough inspection. Less than a couple of months later, the vehicle began sputtering and the belt came off the belt drive. That marked the beginning of a long string of problems with this vehicle. 

Before you would buy a car, inspect it for issues like:

  • Brakes squealing
  • Loud air rushing
  • Grinding noises
  • Unusual sounds 
  • Knocks

Julie might have also prevented herself from buying a bad car by taking along a friend who knows cars. Unscrupulous dealerships have a harder time taking advantage of people who know cars. Beware of a dealership that won’t let you test drive a vehicle before buying. 

Not Asking for the Title Condition

In our second example of vehicle lemons, we have a person called Cookie. Cookie bought a used Honda Civic, but she paid no attention to the title condition upon purchase. That information matters because of how it will tell you if the vehicle has had past accidents. You can obtain a title condition much easier today than you could in the past. Having the title condition will root out potential problems with the vehicle. You can root out repeat problems before they lead to a more serious incident. In our example with Cookie, it led to a string of problems down the road, and because she didn’t know about the past accidents, she couldn’t see that she was buying a lemon. 

Does the Car Have a Window Sticker?

Tommy went to buy a used F-150. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize how all used vehicles should come with a window sticker. The Federal Trade Commission requires that every used car has this sticker on it. It gives you information regarding the past owner and lets you know if you have a warranty attached to the vehicle. Beware of cars that say, “Sold as is.” Under that statement, it means that the seller doesn’t have to take responsibility for issues that you might encounter. The issue has become so common that some states have even made it illegal to sell “as is” cars because many people have been taken advantage of by them. Had Tommy bought a regular car that was a lemon, he could’ve taken some legal recourse against the dealership since they have a legal responsibility to be upfront about the cars they sell. Because it had the “as is” sign on it, he couldn’t do anything about it. 

Each one of these people has experienced a vehicle breakdown, but if you follow a few key guidelines like the ones outlined in every story, you minimize the risk that you would buy a lemon. The right research ahead of time will prevent you from wasting your money or having to spend more on repairs.