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Unread 01-03-2011, 12:05 PM   #1
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Default How to Protect Myself from getting another Lemon?

Hey all, I bought a car in a private sale and the very day I started driving it the transmission went. Bad luck yes, but I let my anxiousness to get back on the road after a long time without a car get the best of me and I take responsibility for that idiocy.

Now, I'm looking to get another car and was hoping for some tips on how to keep this from happening again. I'm under no illusions that I'm going to get a perfect used car, and I'm not really picky about looks I just want a 4 door that runs until I can get up enough money to buy a nicer one.

So, how can I protect myself?

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Unread 01-03-2011, 12:24 PM   #2
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Hi

That sucks to have the transmission go out the very first day.

Begin with a car that has a good reputation
The best advise I can give you is, go to msn.com and look at the used car reliability for the make/model you are interested in. And check out carsurvey.org for the same. This way you get an idea of what to expect during ownership.

Have it inspected
Then have a qualified mechanic check it out. Remember that many things can't be predicated, like an automatic transmission failing. If the transmission is making noise or otherwise acting up, it's a good prediction that something bad is going to happen, but it can appear to be OK and then something just break, or an electronic part fails.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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Drive it before you buy it. Cover the gas for the test drive as a courtesy, but make sure you drive it beforehand. If it's going to screw up it should make it clear.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 02:39 PM   #4
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How should I go about setting up the inspection by the mechanic with the car's owner?

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Unread 01-03-2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murray View Post
How should I go about setting up the inspection by the mechanic with the car's owner?
Pick a repair shop and then call the owner of the car and coordinate a time. Most shops will do a pretty comprehensive evaluation for a half hour or an hour's labor depending on the depth of the inspection. If the seller is a straight up person, they should have no problem with coordinating a time to get the car to a shop considering a positive evaluation will help them sell their car.

If they are against getting their car evaluated, something is probably not right with the vehicle...

Good luck.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 07:52 PM   #6
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If someone refuses to let me put the car in the air and look over every bit of it, i ain't gonna buy that car. Simple as that.

Also, drive it and listen to any abnormal rubbing, groaning, grinding, squeaking, squealing, popping, etc. Or any vibrations.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 08:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wierdo124 View Post
If someone refuses to let me put the car in the air and look over every bit of it, i ain't gonna buy that car. Simple as that.

Also, drive it and listen to any abnormal rubbing, groaning, grinding, squeaking, squealing, popping, etc. Or any vibrations.
And if it has those problems, know if they are common, and know how to fix them. You can often get a car that shifts kind of funny and squeaks on the cheap, and then fix them cheap and come out ahead. My Thunderbird did both of those when I bought it but adding trans fluid and replacing my Upper Control Arms fixed both of those problems for less than $100.
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Unread 01-05-2011, 08:04 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies everyone, very helpful.

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