A Used Car: Signs of a Money Pit

jalopy 300x225 A Used Car: Signs of a Money PitAre you looking for a new car and trying to save some money?  Perhaps, you are perusing through the Classified section in the newspaper, Craigslist or a Used Car lot.

When purchasing a vehicle, probably the last thing on your mind is getting a lemon.  You are more focused on buying something that’s going to get you from point A to point Z, inexpensive, good gas mileage, and the exterior looks good…and getting a good ‘deal’ at a great bargain price.

Enter the unscrupulous seller.  Their goal is to capitalize on disguising problems and accentuating marketable features to make a quick sell.  A sleek, black car with low miles, great gas mileage, and lots of horse power may look good, sound fine and appears to be a good investment.  What happens when a buyer takes the vehicle home may be an altogether different story.

You leave the lot and the tail pipe falls off. Or, you start the ignition and observe that the muffler is missing.  The exhaust fumes are unbearable, and the smoke that comes out is ghastly. Further down the road, the brakes squeal.  Worse yet, they don’t work at all, and a black or green puddle is left beneath the parked vehicle.  When you exit the car, the door falls off.  You lift up on the handle, and it breaks too.  Sound like a nightmare?

This scenario happens more than one might think.  An unscrupulous seller breaks laws and rolls back the miles on an odometer.  The power locks, seats, doors, and/or windows don’t work after a couple of uses.  Paint begins to bubble and crack because of poor painting or touch-ups.  Cosmetic damage sometimes hides bigger, internal problems too.

As a consumer, you can best protect yourself from buying a lemon by doing your homework.  Know the Kelley Blue Book, which lists the retail value of the vehicle.  Knowing the price could be a negotiating point when making a purchase.  Look for scratches and dings, to help further reduce your costs.  Most importantly, have it looked at by a reputable mechanic you trust BEFORE signing an agreement to purchase.  Carfax is another resource for learning more about a used car’s history.  What is not readily visible to the naked eye is accident damage corrected through vehicle repair, flood damage, how well a car has been maintained, number of previous owners, etc.  Taking these precautions can save you a lot of aggravation down the road.

If a salesperson seems anxious to make a quick sale that could be a bad sign as well.  You may be told that someone has already made an offer and that the vehicle cannot be held and that you have to buy now.  This may very well be or it’s likely that the salesperson is bluffing.  The best defense is to make sure that you are getting a good value and to not be pressured into impulse buying.

For more suggestions on making a Used Vehicle purchase, visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0055-buying-used-car.  Use caution in your Used Vehicle purchases, one impulse buy could land you into a money-pit nightmare.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/41943909@N03/4426057668/”>Link576</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

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About Kristal Heffley

Ad Review and Social Media Specialist of BBB serving Northern Indiana. Kristal spends a great deal of time learning, writing about, and educating the public on scams of the day. She also is quite the social-media enthusiast and community partner. You can follow her posts, i.e. BBB serving Northern Indiana on Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and of course, our blog.