Buying a used car? Here are the tips to avoid a lemon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Buying a used car? Here are the tips to avoid a lemon.

Simple tips to avoid buying a lemon car

This time of year, lots of people will be out shopping for cars, thanks to clearance sales and parents out looking to buy for their kids. But Keith King has a warning for anyone about to buy a used car.

It is one of the biggest complaints in to Call for Action - people who buy a used car, only to find out soon after they drive it off the lot that they have purchased a lemon.

When buying a used car, it is important to remember that there is not a three-day right to return a car. Plus, there are no "lemon laws" when it comes to used cars.

Sharon Miller purchased a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser "as is" and without a warranty, only taking it for a test-drive. But the car broke down days after buying it, and now she is looking at a $1,600 repair bill.

"I bought it Tuesday, it died Thursday, and it died again Monday," Miller said. "All of a sudden it's like the brakes will not even work."

When you buy a car "as is", you also buy the problems. Here are some tips to avoid a nightmare from the car buying website Edmunds.com .

  • Know how much you can afford, and look online for cars at that price.
  • Don't fall in love with any car - shop around. There are plenty to choose from.
  • Test drive it at 55 miles-per-hour, with the radio off.
  • Get at least a 30-day warranty.
  • No warranty? Pay a mechanic $50 to $100 to inspect it.

The mechanic who inspected Sharon Miller's car says he would of told her to not buy it.

"The suspension isn't very good. The brake system is totally disabled in the rear," JT Mason, a certified mechanic, noted.

So the price to have a mechanic inspect it could be well worth it, if it helps you avoid buying an expensive lemon.

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