Free lemon check for used car

More than two severe rebounds indicate worn shock absorbers or struts. Also, drive the car over a bumpy road at about 30 mph. A car that bounces and slams at moderate speeds over common pavement may have a worn or damaged suspension. Check the Tailpipe A puff of white smoke upon start-up is probably the result of condensation and not a cause for alarm. Black smoke after the car has warmed up indicates an overly rich air-fuel mixture--usually due to a dirty air filter, a faulty oxygen sensor, or mass-air meter which measures the amount of intake air.

Blue smoke indicates oil burning—a bad sign, requiring expensive repairs. Billowing white smoke indicates water in the combustion chamber, usually because of a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head, or even a cracked block--all expensive repairs.

Step on the Gas While driving, does the engine rev excessively before the car accelerates? This is a common sign of a misadjusted or worn-out clutch, or a damaged automatic transmission. A clutch adjustment is a relatively inexpensive service, but a damaged clutch or automatic-transmission repair can be extremely expensive.

Listen for knocks and pings while accelerating. These indicate bad ignition timing or an engine beginning to overheat. Check for Recalls and TSBs Check to see if any recalls were issued and if recall service was performed.

CARFAX Vehicle History Report

Ask the seller for documentation on recall service. If any recall work has not been performed on a car that you're considering, it should be done as soon as possible. Automakers are required to perform recall service free of charge, regardless of the vehicle's age or how long ago the recall was issued. There can be delays in performing the work due to parts availability, such as with the large Takata airbag recall, that could give pause before choosing a specific model to purchase. Technical Service Bulletins, or "TSBs," are reports a manufacturer sends its dealers about common or recurring problems with a specific model, and how to rectify them.

Because TSBs aren't typically safety related, manufacturers are not obligated to notify owners or pay for the repairs, though an automaker may pay for some or all of the work—if an owner asks them to. Check for any TSBs that were issued for the model you're buying and if the seller had any necessary repairs performed. But they aren't perfect. In fact, we've found vehicles with clean reports that have had notable damage.

To access this information, provide the vehicle identification number, or "VIN," which is on the top of the dashboard, near the driver's side roof pillar to the services. Some used-car stores and online marketplaces can provide history reports for free, otherwise there is a significant cost. Ultimately, a vehicle history report is a useful aid, but the best protection is having the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic and body shop. Visit a Mechanic Before you buy a used vehicle, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic that routinely does automotive diagnostic work.

If you're an AAA member, you could use one of the organization's recommended facilities.

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In addition to doing the basic diagnostic, ask the mechanic to put the vehicle on a lift and inspect the undercarriage. Kinked structural components and large dents in the floor pan or fuel tank can indicate a past accident. Welding on the frame suggests a damaged section might have been replaced or cut out during repairs. Likewise, fresh undercoating could be hiding recent structural repairs. A dealer should have no problem lending you the car to have it inspected as long as you leave identification. A private seller may be more reluctant, however.

4 Ways to Check Vehicle History for Free - wikiHow

You should offer to follow the seller to the shop where the inspection will take place. The law can protect you if your carriage turns into a pumpkin. Part of buying smart is knowing what protection you have before you need it. State laws vary greatly in the degree of consumer protection they afford. In California, it's illegal for a dealer to sell a car with unsafe tires, damaged glass, nonfunctioning lights, or ineffective brakes. Other states offer varying amounts of protection. Check with your state attorney general's office or local consumer-protection agency to learn about the laws in your area.


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If You've Bought a Lemon. From a dealer. The state attorney general's office can explain how your state laws protect you. If you suspect that you've bought a rebuilt wreck, contact the National Association of Consumer Advocates , which maintains a list of attorneys who specialize in such cases. If you have a problem with a car covered by a warranty or service contract, and the dealership refuses service, you have several options.

For service agreements administered by an automaker, contact the company's local representative.

These representatives are authorized to adjust and approve repairs independently of the dealership that sold the car. For more information, call NADA at or visit www. If the dealer is willing, consider using a dispute-resolution organization to mediate your disagreement. Some service agreements require this as a first step before suing the dealer or manufacturer. Pay attention to the wording of the sales contract before buying to determine if you may sue, or if you must submit to arbitration. From a private seller. Your options are much more limited. If the seller has made any written guarantees about the condition of the vehicle, you can use them as the basis for filing a lawsuit.

The clerk of your local small-claims court can tell you what the exact dollar limit is in your state and provide information on how to file suit. For 80 years, Consumer Reports has been testing products and working to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace. Sign In. Become a Member. Remember Me.

Get a Free Car History Report To Avoid Getting a Lemon Car

Not a member? Need further assistance? Please call Member Services at How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car. Our expert tips will help you steer clear of a car with hidden problems. By Consumer Reports. Last updated: May 23, Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. In order to commit to the car, I need to see a detailed vehicle history report. This would really ease my concerns. Would you be willing to provide me with one? A dealer is unlikely to run these reports on a number of vehicles.

Assess the dealership's response. If the salesperson willingly runs the VHR for you, thank the salesperson!

These red flags indicate that the dealership is hiding something about the car's history. Walk away from the sale or pay for a complete VHR.

FREE Carfax Report | FREE VIN Lookup

Method 4. Search for the National Insurance Crime Bureau. You can access this database at www. When you hover your cursor over the the tab, a drop-down menu will appear. Enter the required information. Type in the VIN number. Click "Submit. VinCheck keeps 5 years of history that will help prevent fraudulent vehicle transfer.

You are allowed 5 searches from the same IP address. Is it possible to check the history of a vehicle with the license plate number? Some sources will conduct a search based only on the license plate. However, because license plates can be transferred, a search based on the VIN is likely to be more accurate for verifying the car's history. Yes No. Not Helpful 5 Helpful Not Helpful 20 Helpful I want to find the current owner of a vehicle I formerly owned, but don't have plate or title s. What can I do?

Without such data, one cannot easily identify the vehicle, let alone its owner. Repeat until you find the current owner or reach a dead end.