Newsflash: new cars may feel pretty good right off the dealer’s lot, but the 20,000-plus mile mark is when you really start to notice them.
Here’s an easy way to prevent shelling out big bucks on a lemon.
- Find a good, auto-selling buddy. Most car dealerships have a car-buying buddy program, and that’s a good thing because a buddy on the road is always a backup for that fender bender. Even better, it means a buddy won’t cheat you.
- Buy online, but know your options. Sites like Cargurus.com, Carvana.com, and Cars.com do most of the legwork for you — they research the vehicle for miles, as well as take care of repairs, financing, etc. Make sure your vehicle isn’t listed on any duplicate car rental sites, such as the unfortunate Manheim or AutoXpert sites.
- Ask the dealer to give you more than one test drive. The good news is, used cars in tempe even the most stereotypical lemon sellers will give you another test drive. If you’re dealing with a giant new car dealership with multiple floorplans, the salesman will at least want to look at your top choice. But if your seller is your banker friend’s friend, the one down the street from you, or a used-car dealership, ask for more than just one. At least double up the test drives and make sure the car has a good smell.
- Be brutally honest with yourself. Your car shouldn’t make you feel sick inside or leave you questioning whether you’re getting ripped off. While it’s hard to spot, if you feel the car isn’t a good fit, it’s worth walking away.
- Be realistic about your finances. There’s no point in paying for a 200-car dealer if you can only afford a few cars. The old saw about a few good cars is the difference between the money you make and the money you spend will apply here. Unless you can afford to go into hock for a week, ask for more than the base price.
- Research your dealer’s reputation. That car dealer, like everyone else, is up to his/her own backroom dealings. What you do know is that new car dealerships are subject to more scrutiny by the Better Business Bureau and federal regulators than other dealerships, so there’s likely a reason for it.
- Don’t get fooled by the most commonly-known lemon in the book. Just because a car dealership has sold so many lemons doesn’t mean the next one will be the same. Unless the dealership’s got serious accounting problems, used cars in tempe the next one will be better. That’s the test you should apply when a dealership starts telling you a car is perfect.