Car buying tips: Lemon Aid

Car Buying Tips: Lemon Aid

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Not when it comes to buying a car. We’ve rounded up some quick tips to help avoid a lemon when car shopping.

Go the extra mile to check the mileage

Today’s digital odometers aren’t immune to being wound back to knock off a few thousand kilometres (and add a few hundred dollars to the asking price).

Check for regular readings in any service history, which should give a good indication of whether the figure is reliable. You could also have a look for leaks – as a guide, no Japanese car under 80,000km should have oil leaks. Worn and loose driver-door hinges and worn brake pedals are also signs a car has done plenty of kilometres.

Check the WOF

Vehicles for sale are required to have a warrant of fitness less than a month old, otherwise requiring written confirmation from the purchaser that they accept this. But be careful, you may save a few bucks if the car doesn’t have a current WOF, but might get some nasty surprises when you learn of necessary requirements to get the car up to scratch.

Look for Smoke

Check for excessive smoke from the exhaust. Smoke coming from a diesel car is expected but if you are buying a used petrol car, excessive dark blue or black smoke can be key indicators of major problems.

Avoid a nasty shock (absorber)

Test shock absorbers by pressing the corner of the car down – it shouldn’t bounce more than twice.

Check out the Cambelt

Ask if the car has a cambelt, and when it was last replaced – generally these need to be replaced every 100,000kms and should be recorded in the car’s service history if available.

Check no money is owing on the car

If there is, you can become responsible for the debt! You can check the Personal Property and Securities Register. It can be a good idea to double check it hasn’t been registered as a stolen car on the NZ Police website.

Giving you a Fair Deal

The team at The Lending People can help sort you out a fair deal when it comes to finance. We treat everyone fairly, regardless of their situation.

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