10 red alerts can make you walk away from buying an used car

Feb 18, 2019

Be careful with these red alerts when buying an used car.

Buying an old car will be a smart financial decision if a new car purchase is beyond your financial capability. Identifying the old car condition you intend to buy will help you make the right decision.

Not all used cars are still in good shape, so take a look carefully. Here are 10 signs that will make you walk away from the old ones that are too shabby.

10. Excessive rust

Most parts of old cars can be repaired or replaced. However, the actual question is whether we should do it or not. Although the rusted body panels can still be replaced, it may still cost you lots of money and time. Frame rust means the bedrock of the car has been rotting. Replacing the car’s frame, even if only replacing parts of it, is very expensive and may be weakening the overall car structure. Some older cars could not avoid being rust, however, you should avoid excessive rust with loose metal pieces that may be flaking off or in key areas.

rusted car

Although the rusted body panels can still be replaced, it may still cost you lots of money and time

9. Moldy car trunk

Buying car with molded trunk will not only cause unpleasant smells, but may also be a sign of bigger problems. Avoid used vehicles with molded furniture as this can be a sign of a possible flooded damage. Most insurance companies evaluate the flooded vehicle as a total loss because water will damage to almost every system, from machinery to electricity and even carpet. Cost of repairing a car damaged by flood can even be greater than the buying a new one.

8. New or improper paint layer

New or improper paint may be a sign that the vehicle has been repaired, which may resulted from an accident. Some of the damages to the car following an accident can be repaired, but some will make the car owner to find a way to camouflage the vehicle to deal with the buyer. Take a close look at old cars with new or mismatched paint in their parts.

car paint

New or improper paint may be a sign that the vehicle has been repaired, which may resulted from an accident

7. Indicator lights

Be a test driver for one to two weeks to check the engine lights. As the car runs, you may easily overlook the warning lights on the dashboard. Sometimes these lights does come on as the gas cap is not tightly closed enough.

Experience shows that if the dashboard looks like a Christmas tree, it is a "red alert" that you should take a careful consideration when buying it. The warning light may be a minor problem such as a gas cap that is not properly closed but may also be a telling signal for bigger problems. If you really like that car, ask a reliable independent mechanic who can tell you what the actual problem may be.

6. New carpet

Another sign of a possible flood-damaged car is that the carpet does not fit the drapes. Unscrupulous sellers can replace carpets to eliminate suspicions about the vehicles that have gone through flood damage. So, if you see a new carpet, find out more about it. In addition, there are many other ways to check if the vehicles has ever been flood damaged, such as water in the engine compartment. If you suspect that the car has been in a flood, it's a good idea to look for a better car.

5. The seller has strange expression

Any car dealer will show you that their car is the best, so you need to be careful with the seller trying to control every aspect of the test drive or not willing to offer a test drive. When having a test drive, you should try to drive at different speeds and in different situations (on the freeway, speeding on the highway, stopping or going into the urban area) or on a number of different routes. Be careful with sellers who try to control your routes or disallow you from using certain features such as radios, air conditioners or heaters throughout the test. Maybe, they are trying to hide their car’s serious flaw.

4. The vehicle inspector introduced by the seller

Asking an independent mechanic to test the car would be meaningful. Normally, you will spend about $ 150 for the test but this is worth because it can help you avoid the poor quality vehicles. Straight and honest seller will be willing to have the car checked. If the seller refuses to let you have your check or insist you to the mechanic whom they recommend, look for another one.

3. Too low price

Be wary if the car price are too low. Buying a car at too low prices could probably a killer deal. You can someone finds a good quality second-hand product at an inexpensive price despite your low chance.

A cheap car can mean that the seller is trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible and hope that little saving money can blind you to the car’s problems. So, stay away from cars that cost far less than similar models on the market unless you are willing to use your savings on repairs.

2. Vehicles without papers or fake papers

Using the car does not make you the owner of the vehicle. Therefore, according to experienced car dealer consultants, old car owner are required full documentation to prove its legitimacy and complete ability to sell it. If you are thinking about negotiating on an undocumented vehicle, stay away from the vehicle. Also, be careful with fake ownership papers. A valid vehicle certificate will be stamped by a competent state’s authorized agency. When checking the papers, make sure the identification number and vehicle name on it match the number and vehicle name of the sellers. If you buy a fake car, you are not the car’s legal owner, meaning you have thrown your money away.

fake driver license

Be careful with fake ownership papers

1. Recalled vehicles

Car recalls are issued by the manufacturer when the vehicle has a problem. Many vehicles that are recalled by the defects that may affect their safety. Repair recalled vehicle are made at the manufacturer’s expense, so people who haven’t been on recall list may have neglected some maintenance issues.