In the automotive world, repairs can quickly become expensive and leave car owners without the ability to drive their investment for days, weeks, or even months. If you’re about to buy a car, then it’s likely you want to avoid all of this. The thought of buying a car that has a myriad of issues, otherwise known as a “lemon”, is all it takes for most buyers to re-consider even making the investment. However, you’re not out of luck. Take a look at the following tips to avoid buying a lemon so you can invest a car you can feel good about!

1. Don’t Buy a Flood Damaged Vehicle

If the used car you like has been in a flood but seemingly works well, you still shouldn’t buy it. You’re almost guaranteed to have issues down the road, which may require you to buy a new car completely. It’s simply not worth the “savings” to buy a vehicle like this (unless it’s for certain parts).

2. Take it to a Mechanic

Although the seller (or car lot) may tell you that the car is in good working order, this isn’t necessarily true. Hidden issues could result in you heading straight into an automotive shop once you make your purchase. Although you will pay a small fee for taking the car to a mechanic, the peace of mind is well worth it. The last thing you want to do is buy a vehicle that’s going to cost thousands more than you anticipated, just in repairs.

3. Inspect the Body

During the day when there is a lot of sunlight, take time to inspect the body of the car. Do the doors shut all the way? Does the trunk close properly? Are there signs of mismatched paint? Are the pedals worn out? Be detailed to ensure you aren’t surprised when it’s too late.

4. Check the History of the Title

You don’t have to be a super spy to learn the history of the car you’re considering buying. All you have to do is write down the VIN and type it into a website like CarFax to see the history in full. The report you’ll get will tell you if the car has been salvaged, in a flood, or if it was registered as a taxi or fleet vehicle.

5. Ask for Maintenance Records

While not all sellers will be able to offer this, it’s important to ask. By being able to see records from past maintenance appointments, you’ll know whether or not the vehicle was well taken care of.

Spending Money Wisely

A new car, even if it was used, is a big purchase that should be deeply considered. While many states offer “lemon laws” to help protect you, it’s still important to do your research to ensure you don’t buy a lemon. The tips above are some of the most useful and may save you quite a bit of time and money! Make sure to take advantage of them any time you’re buying a used car, whether from a private seller or dealership.