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henderson, auckland

09 837 1723

How to spot a lemon when buying a car

Car Service Henderson – How to spot a lemon when buying a car, that is the question. Buying a second-hand car is something almost everybody does at some point in their life. When you do, the goal is to spend your hard-earned cash on something decent and not lumber yourself with a defect-riddled lemon.

Unfortunately, lemon cars are certainly out there, whether you’re looking to buy privately or through a dealership.

To avoid buying one, it’s important you don’t rush into a decision. Follow these steps to protect you from making a purchasing choice you’ll regret.


Do your research on the type of car you want and your budget.

Once you start actively searching for a vehicle, look for one that has low kilometres and has been well kept.

Be vigilant and ensure the car is currently registered and has a WOF (Warrant of Fitness) in place.

Check For Recalls

When you know what make/model you want, check for any recalls that may have affected the car in question.

From here, ask the seller for any recall service documentation and, if the recall work has not been performed, it should be actioned as a priority.

Conduct a Pre-Purchase Inspection

A pre-purchase inspection allows for a third-party expert to evaluate the condition of the used vehicle you are considering purchasing.

Pre-purchase inspections often include a full interior and external check as well as a road test and often a car history check.

Check the Vehicle’s History

A vehicle’s history check is critical, and the report can alert you to odometer fraud, past damage and any money owing on the car.

Review the Exterior and Interior

It’s always important to review the car yourself.

Check by doing a walk around the car and look for any dents, mismatched body panels and check out the quality of the cabin.

Check to see if there is a sagging headliner, dashboard cracks, frayed seat belts or worn pedals (which may indicate the vehicle has very high mileage).

Do a Road Test

Although a pre-purchase inspection will usually include a road test, it’s important that you take the car for a drive and monitor how it feels to you.

Take note of whether you can feel any shaking in the steering wheel, clunking, engine noises and overall smoothness of the drive.

As the person who will likely spent the most time behind the wheel, it’s crucial that the car feels good to you.

In conclusion

Purchasing a lemon car is something that can have a hugely negative impact on your life.

By ensuring you follow the above steps you are protecting yourself financially and, by avoiding a potentially dangerous vehicle, potentially making a life-saving decision.

Once you bought a car and need it to be serviced, drive in or give us a call on 09 837 1723


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