6 Ways To Spot a Lemon


Cars that have been classified by the government as “lemons” have defects that result in significant safety and performance issues. Most of the issues are difficult and costly to fix, rendering the car useless. Such issues are more pronounced when it comes to used and salvage vehicles, as they often have some damage. In this way, buying a lemon can lead to repairs and a lot of other expenses, with a low probability of resurrecting the vehicle, making it a bad investment. To help avoid throwing your money down the drain, this post discusses six ways to spot a lemon, including a VIN Check. Take a look.

1. Run a VIN Check

Running a VIN Lookup discloses the car’s history, odometer readings, ownership history, title history, and if the make/model was classified as a lemon. At ClearVIN, we help you run a detailed VIN check by providing comprehensive car history reports in a matter of seconds. To ensure transparency and accuracy, we draw data from established sources, including the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

2. Check Battery and Other Parts

Get under the hood of the car to check for wet spots that indicate fluid leaks. Check to see if the battery, engine, or radiator are leaking. Wires, lines and the firewall must not be burnt or melted. Watch out for worn belts and hoses that indicate extreme wear and can result in repair and maintenance issues. Make sure the transmission fluid is red or reddish brown, and doesn’t smell burnt.

3. Evaluate the Vehicle’s Reliability Record

Various consumer reports publish reliability records for different models on a yearly basis and also provide info on the best and worst used cars to buy. Many reports provide info on car features and will help you make an informed decision. A more detailed report will provide a comparison of models and how they hold up in different areas. Going through these reports will help you identify issues that plague different models, enabling you pick the best option that suits your needs.

4. Survey the Interiors

When checking the interiors look for potential issues such as worn pedals, missing knobs damaged dashboard, and worn seat belts. Check the carpet color as discoloration can indicate flood damage. Out of shape driver’s seat can mean high mileage which should be alarming, especially if the dealer claims a lower mileage.

5. Check Tires for Uneven Wear

A car’s tires can reveal a lot about vehicle usage, potential problems with other parts, and the damages the vehicle has sustained. For example, extensive wear near the sidewall signifies rough usage that can give rise to other issues. Uneven wear along the tread circumference can mean issues with different parts including steering, suspension, and brakes.

6. Check for Recalls

While buying a used car always ask the dealer for a list that includes all recalls as provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can also request the seller to provide the Technical Service Bulletin that includes info on the issues with a particular model and ways to resolve them.

Final few Words

Individuals buying a lemon may end up spending more money than the car’s value to address repair issues. At ClearVIN, we’re dedicated to help buyers get all the information they need about the car of their choice. We provide comprehensive car history reports and can help you whether you need to run a Kawasaki motorcycle VIN check or need details about any other vehicle of your choice. A report can be retrieved by license plate search as well. For bulk access that will be useful for those involved in business, we offer an opportunity to run a dealer VIN check.

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