Lemon or Cherry?

April 10th, 2015
Purchasing a New Car

So you’re in the market for a used car, you’ve already narrowed down your selection to a couple vehicles and you’re ready to purchase. Before you buy though, how do you tell if this car is going to be a Lemon or a Cherry for you? Here are a few tips which could prove to be invaluable.


When I go to buy a car I look at it like I’m about to get into a long term relationship. I know, “sounds crazy” you might say but hear me out first.


Before getting into a relationship it’s always important to go on a couple dates first to make sure the chemistry is there. The same goes with a car. You need to go test drive the car before you buy it. What might look great in a picture or sound awesome in a vehicle review might wind up being the exact opposite for you. Until you get in the car, gripping the steering wheel and putting some miles on it you’re not going to know if it’s the right car.


When you get in make sure you check for blind spots, the seats feel comfortable for you, the car controls are easy to use, and check the cars trip computer. Many times the trip computer also calculates average gas mileage. This will give you a real world driving mileage rather than going off of the inflated window sticker numbers.


When I’m inside the vehicle I also like to check for excessive wear and tear. This is usually a good sign that the car was not well-maintained. If the previous owner couldn’t take care of where the site all the time, how would they properly care for what’s hidden under the hood?


I also like to do a visual inspection of the car. I know many people purchasing vehicles aren’t mechanics and may not be gearheads. However there are somethings to check for that you don’t have to be an expert about cars to notice.


I always check the door, hood, and trunk gaps on the car. This is the space in between the different body panels on the car. If they are uneven then it’s a good sign that the cars been in an accident. During this inspection process I also like to open up all the doors, hood, and trunk to check for any paint drips or imperfections. This could be another good indicator that the car was in an accident and the poorly repaired.


Finally, always ask to see the vehicle maintenance records. This is undoubtedly the best way to tell if a car is going to be a lemon or a cherry. If you can establish a regular maintenance schedule for the car then it’s obvious to tell the car was well cared for and the previous owners care about cars.


If you check off that all these items look good and that you feel comfortable and confidant behind the wheel, then go for it. Pull the trigger!



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