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Guest post: How to spot a lemon in disguise when buying a used car?

Lemon Car. Picture courtesy of

There is nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on a second hand car and finding out that it’s a lemon! The best way to avoid this happening is to make every effort to ensure that you do not let other people’s problem become your problem. Here are some ways of spotting that lemon before you get it home and need to start pouring money into it


The fact of the matter is that it may actually not be a lemon, it might just be that the model of the car is a bit of a trouble maker. Doing your research extensively before you decide to purchase any car will assist you in making the right decision for you. Some make and models have defects that are just a natural part of the car and may make them susceptible to issues, so it pays to be informed.

Take a Mechanic

Your trusty mechanic will be your best defence against the attack of the lemon, so make sure you take him or her along with you to look at the car. If you don’t have a friend that is a mechanic then at least pay your regular mechanic to meet you there and check over the car for you. He/She will be able to tell you exactly what condition the car is in, by checking things that you may not know how to check.

Check All Panels Are Original

One way of knowing if the car has been in an accident is to check if all the panels on the car are the original ones. If you find that there are obvious places where the panels are not the same, it could indicate that the car has been in an accident, which means that you have no real idea about how bad the damage was. There could be internal damage that does not show up easily.

Check Inside

Apart from checking if everything inside is in order, that the seat belts are not frayed and that it is clean, you will also need to have a good smell of it. The smell of mildew present could indicate that it has been in a flood, which could mean that there are issue with the electrics or other things in the engine. If you suspect that it has water damage then you might want to get your mechanic to have a good look at the engine and look for any sign inside the bonnet. Additionally, if concerns arise post-purchase, lemon law calculator can be a handy tool to estimate potential compensation.

Check Under the Hood

While the mechanic is looking under the hood he will be able to see if there are any marks where there has been water, or evidence of corrosion. Check the oil and see if there is any grit or particles in it. This could indicate that there is a small engine leak somewhere, which if not fixed could cause be very costly down the track. If you have accidentally bought a lemon and you aren’t in the best financial situation, you may be able to get a bad credit car loan so that you can buy another car that won’t end up financially ruining you.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I agree with the first two point of this article. It is essential to research the vehicle even before you step foot on the lot. It can save you a major headache. Also taking a mechanic or someone that understands cars and can give you advice will help you in your decision. Thanks for the post.

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