Have you heard the term lemon used to describe a car? Maybe you’ve sensed that a lemon is not an ideal vehicle to have, but don’t fully understand what the slang means. Maybe you’re wondering if your car is a lemon. Shown below are some details that will help you know what lemons are in the car industry and how you can spot one.
What Is A Lemon?
A lemon is a car (bought new or used) that is later discovered to have multiple manufacturing issues. While lemon is a cute name for this, the realization that one’s car is a lemon, is anything but adorable. The experts behind https://www.motorsonwheels.com/ say that manufacturing issues can affect the use and value of your vehicle, and even more importantly, the safety of it. Sometimes the flaws in a lemon are so great that it is unable to perform the tasks you purchased it for, namely getting you where you need to go.
Okay, so we’ve established no one wants a lemon for a car. How can you know if the car you’ve bought, or are thinking of buying, is a lemon? There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from the dreaded realization that you’ve bought yourself a lemon.
Do Your Research
Due-diligence is key when it comes to making any major purchases, particularly ones that can put you or your loved ones at risk. People spend a lot of time in their respective cars. In fact, Americans spend an average of 10 hours and 50 minutes per week inside these motor vehicles. To begin with, do a quick online search of the make and model you are looking at. If there are consistently cited problems from other consumers, this is something you need to keep in mind as you shop.
Read The Sticker
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that each used car sold must include a buyer’s guide. By law, this guide must include whether the vehicle is being sold as-is (which means that the dealer offers no guarantees regarding the condition of the vehicle) or with a warranty.
If the car is being sold under warranty, the guide must include the percentage of repair costs the dealer will cover as well as a list of all the electrical and mechanical systems in the car and the potential problems with them. Make sure you receive a copy of the original buyer’s guide that was released with the car. The buyer’s guide is a part of your sales contract and must include any changes negotiated in the coverage provided by the warranty.
Thoroughly Examine The Exterior Of The Vehicle
Not just a quick look, take the time to carefully inspect the outside of the car you are considering buying. You should be able to see if the vehicle has had any major body repair work done. If there are gaps between the doors, panels that don’t match, or areas where paint has been reapplied are all indicators that parts of the original car have been replaced. This could signify a lemon.
To be even more thorough, you can run a magnet half an inch or so along the exterior of the car. If the magnet has no pull in places (as in, the magnet will not stay in place if you let go), this is an indication that body filler has been used to cover up rust or denting.
Other key areas of focus during the exterior examination include the doors, the hood, the trunk, locks, and windows. Don’t just look at these things, use them. Measure between each wheel and the body of the car. If there’s a noticeable difference in distance between any of the wheels and the body of the vehicle, this suggests that repairs were made to the car after a serious collision.
Study The Car’s Interior
Open the car and get in. Don’t just sit in your preferred seat. If you’re usually the driver, still sit in the back and passenger seats. Make sure that you close the doors and windows while you do this so you will be able to notice any unusual smells. Turn on the air conditioning and heat as well to see if any strange smells are coming from the vents.
In particular, water damage is fairly easy to spot. A musty odor (or an absurdly strong air freshener), mildew, water stains, mismatched carpets, and places in the seats that have been cut and sewn over are all indicators of previous damage. You can also run your hands along the interior, looking for any damp places. As you do this, pay attention to the underside of the seats as this is a harder area for a seller to dry.
Compare the roof and door material. Pay special attention to whether or not the same amount of wear is visible across the interior. Take a look at the gauges and electronic elements of the car. If there’s any moisture trapped behind the plastic, this is a good indication of flooding. Use a flashlight to look beneath the seats, the dashboard, and in the console.
Request And Read The Vehicle’s History
Never purchase a car without first reviewing the vehicle’s history from a credible source. Many websites can provide such a report with just the car’s VIN number. Things like previous accidents and the damage caused, fire damage, flood damage, and odometer stats will be included in these reports. Being aware of your car’s life before you came along can give you a good indication of any potential problems a vehicle could have.
Ask Your Mechanic To Take A Look
Ideally, your mechanic will be a third-party who regularly does automotive diagnostics. Typically this will cost around $100 but could save you hundreds if not thousands in the long run. More than money, having an experienced professional take a look at the vehicle could prevent potential pain, suffering, or injury.
There you have it, some simple (though admittedly time-consuming) ways to find out if your car is a lemon. It’s a big red flag if the dealer or private seller has any issues with the above requests and examinations. Buying a car can be fun and exciting, but it is also something that could have serious repercussions if you do not take the time to make sure your vehicle is in good and safe condition.