#1 When buying any car, run your own CarFax report; don’t just rely on the auto dealer to do the right thing – they may, they may not. Many dealers alter reports to make a sale, and proving liability for fraud in a case like this is virtually impossible.
#2 Get a certified mechanic to inspect the vehicle. Most mechanics will gladly inspect vehicles for an hour’s fee. Most significant problems with the car will be obvious to a trained eye; don’t rely on the dealer’s mechanic to provide advice to you.
#3 Check the vehicle’s VIN with your state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles; many states allow consumers to search vehicle information free of charge, and if there is a lemon history to the vehicle, it WILL show up.
#4 If the vehicle is a recent make and model, visit a dealer for that manufacturer and ask for a Warranty Repair History for the vehicle you are looking to purchase. Most will provide it. The history will show you what work had been done on the vehicle while it was under the manufacturer’s warranty.
#5 Use your judgment! Unscrupulous dealerships will hide, obfuscate, and say anything to make a sale. Do your research before buying your car, and don’t count on the dealer to take it back if problems develop – many won’t!