Buying a Used Car? Recognize the Red Flags! Three Tips on Getting a Good Deal

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Did you know that about 75% of all cars sold in the U.S. are used cars? Like many people searching for used cars, you want to avoid getting what is known as a lemon car. A lemon is a car found to be defective only after it is purchased. Although there are laws to protect you if this happens, you generally want to avoid that hassle and manage to get a good deal at the same time. Here are three tips for making a used car purchase and not getting ripped off.

1. Vehicle Registration Number Research

You’ve seen all the ads for companies that will give you a history report of your car, and to be realistic, it’s worth getting even if you have to pay for it. Once you have the vehicle registration number, enter it in and find out what sort of history it has. A report will let you know whether the car has a clean title, has been in accidents, or has had previous damage.

2. Red Flags in Your Research

One thing to look out for? Flood damage. An incredible 50% of flood damaged cars end up back on the roads even though these vehicles almost always have damage to the microelectronics, and mold problems as well. Make sure every part of your car is checked. Research shows that 5% of airbags that have deployed after an accident are not properly replaced. Another issue? Odometer fraud, known as spinning, occurs when someone reselling a vehicle illegally turns back the odometer by thousands of miles. By obtaining a history report of your car, you can look through mileage updates and see if anything is off.

3. Should You Buy Online?

There are many used cars websites that offer a wide variety of vehicles you can check out. However, we would recommend great caution when purchasing anything you lack the ability to test drive first. Even if everything is technically okay with the car, you want to get a feel for its braking, suspension, engine noises, et cetera. Car finder websites, though, can at least be a good resource for finding low priced options. Used car shopping tips? Many times popular vehicles sell for much more than similar operating, but less well known options. The Toyota Camry, for example, can sell for thousands of dollars more than a comparable Mazda 6.

Have you gone used car shopping lately? Tell us about your experience in the comments

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