The pre-owned vehicle market has proliferated and given many people opportunities to enjoy features and luxuries they otherwise couldn’t. Dealerships offering certified pre-owned cars, guarantees, and even financing are quite dependable. Still, there are used car scams, particularly if you’re buying from a potentially unscrupulous seller.
Buying a car, new or used, should be a joyous occasion. The last thing you should worry about is being ripped off or sold a lemon. You can still have a hassle-free car buying experience if you just outfit yourself with some common sense and stay informed of current used car scams.
Here are some behaviors and red flags you should be on the lookout for if you’re in the market to buy a used or pre-owned vehicle.
- The Seller Admits It Needs Something – If you see a used car listing and the seller states the vehicle needs Freon or an A/C recharge, they’re admitting the air conditioner doesn’t work. An AC low on refrigerant likely has a leak. The only way refrigerant will stay in the system, even if you add it, is if the leak is permanently repaired, which can be expensive.
- Odometer Tampering – A used car’s mileage has a significant impact on its value. Some sellers try to change the reading on the odometer. In the past, mechanical odometers could be reversed by putting the car in reverse with the back wheels raised. Nowadays, digital odometers can be manipulated as well. To spot odometer fraud, check for wear on seats, the steering wheel, or brake pedal or look up the vehicle’s Carfax report and service records.
- Title Washing – Any vehicle damaged in a collision, flood, or fire and restored is given a salvage title; purchasing one is always a risk. For example, a car previously flooded out may run well for a while, but parts exposed to floodwaters are likely to wear out more quickly. Scammers may “wash” the salvage title by registering the vehicle in a different state where DMV officials are less likely to notice salvage-title markings. To spot this scam, review its history of title transfers and its Carfax report.
- The Dealer Is Pretending Not to Be a Dealer – The seller might meet you at a parking lot or curb, which is why this scam is called curbstoning. You may or may not be ripped off. However, the title may be in another person’s name than the seller, or the bill of sale may not list an actual name (just “Seller”). You may even be taken to a dealership for someone else to handle the paperwork. There are many reasons someone may try to sell a vehicle this way, but be wary because sometimes they’re trying to get rid of cars no dealership would sell.
- You Hear a Common Punchline – If a used car seller says something like “it ran when it was parked”, this raises a red flag. People who shop for used cars hear this. Such language is often followed by indication the car needs a starter, alternator or something that can be fixed for a reasonable price—considering replacing it would significantly increase the selling price of the car. This would make sense for someone serious about making a sale. The likely scenario is the seller doesn’t want to bother figuring out the cause of the problem or with fixing it.
Avoid Common Used Car Scams – Visit CarWorld Today!
Our buy here, pay here dealership ensures customers get reliable, low-mileage pre-owned vehicles. We don’t put any car on our lot until it passes a rigorous, multi-point inspection that ensures it is road ready. Master service technicians at our on-site service department prepare all pre-owned models. You can, therefore, expect high-quality vehicles at reasonable prices. Working with various banks and lenders, we offer financing options and pre-approval in minutes whether you have bad credit or no credit.