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When Life Gives You Lemons: Identifying a Lemon Car

How to Know When to Walk Away From Used Cars

buying a used car

You’re in the market for a used car, and you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the right one for your commute. It’s important to find a vehicle that’s reliable and has working features like air conditioning and a sound system. So, how can you be sure the used car you buy isn’t a lemon? Take a look at these telltale signs of a lemon car to get the most out of your money.

Wait, What Exactly Is a Lemon Car?

A lemon car is a car, truck, or SUV that has several defects that affect its safety, value, and performance. The worst part about a lemon is that you don’t know you have one until after everything is signed and your car is paid for.

In fact, most lemons don’t show their true colors until about a month after you’ve owned the car. Even worse, over half of lemon cars sold are from a dealership, and most owners end up spending at least $5,000 on repairing faulty equipment. Many states have laws in place to protect consumers from purchasing a lemon car, but some don’t.

Foul Odors Are a Bad Deal

The first thing you do when you see a used car is assess it visually. Of course, you need to eye the details, but it’s also critical to use your sense of smell. It’s more than just smelling if the prior owner was a smoker, because an unpleasant smell could mean you’re looking at a lemon.

Does it smell like something is leaking or burning? That could show tremendous problems in the future. Most scents are easy to identify, but get under the hood or find a mechanic to help you find the problem before you give any money to a dealership.

Get a Good Warranty or Find Another Used Car Dealership

Does the price of some used cars in Kansas City seem too good to be true? Lemon cars are often offered at extremely low prices, but come with a warranty that looks like it has you covered when something goes wrong with your car. However, these warranties are usually filled with details that make them difficult to use.

When you’re about to sign the paperwork for your used car, always read the fine print on the warranty and everything else. Better yet, choose a buy here pay here dealership that has a reputation for selling quality used cars.

Mismatching Paint Colors Could Mean Hidden Damage

After the body of a car has been damaged, the only way to get an exact match to the paint color and fix all the damage is by paying a professional. If you see mismatched paint, faded spots, or newer spots, then it might mean the used car you're looking at might have some serious damage the seller is trying to hide.

While you're checking out the body of a car, look at the tires. If the tires are different brands, look worn, or are the wrong size for the vehicle, then it’s a good indicator of how the car was taken care of.

Mismatched or incorrect tires cause extra wear and tear on a car, and most likely mean the previous owner didn’t have enough money to maintain the car properly. Worn down tires can also mean there is a problem with the brakes or steering.

Your Buy Here Pay Here Dealership Should Have Suspense

If you know little about what makes up the inside of a car, your suspension is key to making used cars feel comfortable and safe. It keeps your ride smooth and you in control of your car. Without your suspension working properly, the friction between the road and your tires is reduced, which results in decreased stability and handling.

It’s also one of the most expensive repairs on a car, and most sellers are hard pressed to dish out the extra money to fix it. Fortunately, there is an easy way to test a used car's suspension before you even get in the driver’s seat.

All you have to do is push on the bumper twice, and if it bounces back, the car has decent suspension. If the bumper is stiff or you can’t even push it down, the suspension probably needs to be fixed.

When You Can’t Roll Down the Window, Walk Away

If you’re shopping for a used car on a budget, it might not seem like a big deal when you can’t roll down a window in the backseat. However, if you notice that windows and locks are working like they should be, it may signal a problem with a used car's electrical system.

When there is something wrong with a car’s electrical wiring, it’s time-consuming and expensive to fix. Plus, you’re compromising your and your passengers' safety. Roll all the windows up and down completely and test every lock.

Find Service You Can Trust at Kansas City’s Premier Buy Here Pay Here Dealership

At Auto Bank Kansas City, you’ll always find an extensive selection of quality used cars, trucks, and SUVs. We always have the best automotive experts available to answer your questions, and we are dedicated to helping our customers find the right used cars in Kansas City for their lifestyles.

Whether you need an SUV to tote your family around or a gas-saver for your daily commute to work, you can find what you need at one of our two convenient locations. For our Truman Road dealership, call us at (816) 241-7880 and to shop used cars at our East Front Street location, contact us at (816) 231-9300. Let Auto Bank KC help you fall in love with your next vehicle!