Ten Tips to Avoid Buying a Lemon

buying_carBuying a used car shouldn’t be a leap of faith. Here are our top ten tips to keep in mind when shopping for a used car, says Geraldine Herbert.

1) Determine what your price range is and draw up a budget; don’t be tempted to exceed it.

2) Consider how you would use the car, long commutes, journeys around town, city centre driving.

3) Buy from a reputable car dealer, You will be assured of the best possible service and this will help to safeguard you from buying a “lemon”

4) Ask for a full service history this way you will know what kind of maintenance and repairs were done. Also check the registration document and service record – does everything match up?

5) Consider the total value of the car, what are the insurance implications, work out the average mileage you travel per month, the car’s fuel efficiency, petrol versus diesel, and the ever-escalating cost of fuel, age, mileage will all affect servicing and maintenance costs

6) Do some research and compare prices as prices will vary depending on age, mileage and the condition of the car

7) View the car in the daytime – Be aware of what features the car should have. Check for dents and marks everywhere and ensure all functions are working, lights, wipers, air conditioning, the radio etc. Check for consistency in paint work, mismatched parts, paint and panels which could suggest that the car had been involved in an accident. Look for obvious signs of age, a worn steering wheel and pedals is a good indication of use and age.

8) Test drive it to make sure it fits your needs ( Click here for tips on how to test drive a car)

9) If you are still interested at this stage check the car’s history to see if the vehicle has been involved in an accident or if there is outstanding finance owed on it, many websites offer this service, e.g. motorcheck.ie

10) Finally, get a professional mechanic to give it the once over. A mechanic will instantly spot a dud and most can identify trouble merely by the sound of the car engine.


Geraldine Herbert

15th July, 2015


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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