How to Spot a Reliable Used Car vs. a Lemon

My mother used to say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. The saying applies to every area of life except cars. In the automotive industry, a lemon is something you rarely want to put in the garage. It refers to a car with a lot of issues and problems. Today, we’re going to cover a few tricks that you can use to prevent picking up a car that drags you down. We want you to find a reliable used car that doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth.

How to Spot a Reliable Used Car vs. a Lemon

A Reliable Used Car Requires Research

Look up common issues for your car. For example, if you Google “Common Issues with a Porsche 911”, you’ll find that the IMS Bearing is a known issue with the vehicle. In order to change it, you need to remove the transmission and do a lot of labor in order to replace the part. If you were in the market for a Porsche 911, you’d want to look for a car that has an upgraded IMS Bearing to avoid the thought looming in the back of your head.

This thinking applies to all vehicles. Nearly all manufacturers have known issues, so we recommend doing a Google search before getting invested in a vehicle. The research will assist you in asking the right questions about your reliable used car. 

Check the CARFAX and Request Service Records

Always ask to check the CARFAX! It’s incredibly important to know the history of your vehicle. A CARFAX report will show you if your car has ever been in an accident (or worse, declared “totaled”).

In addition to checking the CARFAX, we recommend that you request all of the vehicle’s service records. If the previous owner was diligent, you’ll be able to see all the minor and major repairs your vehicle has been through.

 How to Spot a Reliable Used Car vs. a Lemon

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Know What the Car Is Valued At

Always crosscheck the current market value of your vehicle with a source like Kelly Blue Book or the TRED instant estimate tool. You obviously don’t want to overpay for something, but a too-good-to-be-true price might also signal issues. Your car should be priced appropriately for its age and level of “wear and tear”.

Tip: If you have a friend who knows cars well, feel free to buy them a slice of pizza in exchange for their second opinion on a reliable used car.

How to Spot a Reliable Used Car vs. a Lemon

You can rest easy by purchasing a vehicle through TRED offers 150-point inspections on all of their vehicles, so you’re guaranteed to avoid a lemon. They also include a detailed CARFAX report and work their hardest to ensure that you’re receiving a reliable used car.

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