Are you in the hunt for a used car or truck?

If so, your number one goal is of course to avoid driving off with a lemon.

Unfortunately, countless people end up doing just that.

Yes, someone selling a car privately (perhaps off a lot too) will tell you that the used car or truck you’re about to purchase is a gem. Unfortunately, that gem soon turns out to be a dud after you’ve had it for a short period of time.

That said how can you best protect yourself against getting stuck with a real loser?

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Do Your Research Before Purchasing a Vehicle

So that you can lessen the odds of driving off with a clunker, remember these three tips:

  1. Internet research – First and foremost, use the Internet to research any and all vehicles you have an interest in. For example, when searching for a license plate lookup, the worldwide web is a great place to start. You can learn a fair amount of information about any used car or truck that grabs your interest, notably about its history. One of the things you would certainly prefer to know about a used vehicle before considering buying it is if it has been in an accident or two. If it has, even repairs made to it may not have been enough to prevent long-term damage to the under carriage etc. Try and find out as many details as possible about the specific car or truck when using the Internet;
  2. Take it for a spin – Would you buy a new or used home or apartment without taking a look inside? Unless there are extreme circumstances where you can’t get in to see it ahead of time (might be moving from far away and on a tight deadline to get in etc.), you of course would prefer to see it inside and out. The same holds true for any used vehicle you are thinking about buying. With the owner’s permission of course, take it out both on the local roads and also the highway. In doing so, you can see how it performs (see more below) moving in and out traffic etc. To not do this is taking quite a big chance, one you may ultimately end up regretting. Also question the owner as to the previously mentioned possibility that the vehicle has been in an accident or two. Not only is this important for performance, but also if it has had notable dents removed, been repainted etc.

Are You a Professional Mechanic?

  1. Check under the hood – Finally, unless you consider yourself a professional mechanic, make sure you have a real mechanic check the vehicle from front to back. While some issues may of course go undiagnosed, a proven mechanic can tell you in pretty short time if you may be possibly getting your hands on a lemon. Also ask the current owner of the vehicle when things such as spark plugs, brakes, batteries etc. were last replaced. Other matters you should be able to tell such as looking at the condition of the tires, the fluid levels etc. If you truly want to get the best vehicle possible, more than just your set of eyes should look at it.

When it comes to buying a used vehicle, it is important that you do your research, allowing you to take some time to think things through properly.

The worst thing you could do is rush into purchasing a used car or truck, something that your wallet or purse may end up regretting down the road.

So, will you do all you can to avoid driving off with a lemon?

If you have bought a real clunker in the past, what did you learn from the experience to help others out?