Look Out for Lemons! How to Pick the Best Used Car for You

Buying a used vehicle is a financially sound decision, but some people fear buying a lemon. Fortunately, if you do your research and learn how to spot potential problems, it can save you from expensive headaches down the road. When it comes to buying a used car, luck has nothing to do with it; By educating yourself, you can pick the best used car for you. Use these tips to determine whether a used car is a good value or potential trouble.

  1. Select models with a good reliability record. Research the reliability history for any vehicles you have in mind. Look up "best and worst used cars" to get an idea of what others are saying. 
  2. Read the window sticker. Every used car must have a Buyer's Guide posted in the vehicle. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it must contain specific information including whether the car is being sold "as is," or with a warranty, and what percentage of the repair costs (if any) the dealer is required to pay. 
  3. Inspect the interior. A mildew smell or discolored carpeting may indicate the car has water damage. A sagging driver's seat or prematurely worn pedals suggest that the car has very high mileage. Frayed seat belts may be evidence of a previous impact.  
  4. Check the exterior. Walk around the car and look for dents, chipped paint, and mismatched body parts. Make sure the hood, trunk, and all doors open and close properly. Look for signs of rust on the exterior and underneath the vehicle.
  5. Take a peek under the hood. At first glance, the battery, engine, and radiator should be grease-free with little or no corrosion. Belts and hoses should be unworn and easy to move. Look for wet spots which can indicate leaks. When the engine is cool, check the oil and ensure that all other fluids are clean and filled to the proper level.

You can rest easy if you purchase your used car at Hometown Auto. We stand behind every vehicle we sell. Our vehicles not only look good, they are in good operating order. Everything we sell is thoroughly inspected so that every customer gets a safe and reliable vehicle.