10 Red Flags for Used Vehicles

car for sale sign on a used vehicle

Used car buying isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, you can find reliable pre-owned vehicles at fair prices if you know what — and who — to avoid. Which is why we’re here to show you how to check the car condition before buying. Do you know what to look for when buying a used car? Do you know what questions to ask when buying a used car? If you’re shopping for a used car near Elk Grove, be prepared! Check out Kareem Auto Sales Inc’s list of 10 red flags for used vehicles below.


1. Automotive Recalls

Automotive recalls is one of many reasons it’s important to do extensive research before buying a used car. Manufacturers issue recalls if a model is defective or unsafe in any way. If you suspect a used car for sale has outstanding recalls, visit safercar.gov and enter its VIN to check its recall history.

2. Extremely Low Price

The saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. While it’s possible to find great used cars at low prices, it’s a smart idea to always proceed with caution. If a car is priced well below its market value and the seller can’t wait to get rid of it, it’s likely in need of repairs.

3. Incorrect or Missing Title

If a seller doesn’t have the title for the car they’re selling, walk away and don’t look back. Without the car’s title, they don’t have the legal right to sell it. If the seller does have a title, make sure it’s legitimate; it should have the state seal, anti-counterfeit marks, correct VIN, and the seller’s name.

4. Suspicious Price Adjustments

Are there vague charges listed on the car’s window sticker at the dealership? The dealer may call them “Market Value Adjustments” or “Adjusted Dealer Markups.” In some cases, these adjustments are made legitimately for features like a sunroof or navigation, but in others, they’re just cash-grabs. Ask for more info on each charge listed.

5. Pushy Seller

This applies to a variety of situations. If a seller refuses to play by the rules, they could be trying to hide some negative aspect of the car. Don’t waste your time dealing with sellers who refuse to consent to a full-fledged inspection or test drive — or those who do consent but try to control the situation.

6. Sketchy Interior

It should go without saying that stains, tears in the upholstery, or cracks in the trimming are signs the car hasn’t been treated well. But what about new carpet? To some shoppers, that’s a plus — however, it could be a sign the car was flooded, especially if nothing else was upgraded. Check the title for more info.

7. Mismatched Exterior Paint

Does the car have splotches of paint that don’t match its other body panels? If so, it’s best to walk away. Mismatched paint is a sign of rust, damage, or repairs. Chances are the seller is trying to cover up flaws, and it’s best to move on and find a better car.

8. Unnecessary Finance Charges

True — one of the benefits of buying used from a dealership is access to financing. However, it’s crucial to always read the fine print. Ask questions and make sure you know how much you’ll pay a month and for how long. You may also be offered extras such as glass etching or paint sealant — which increase your car loan amount. Do your research ahead of time and decide what’s important. And if you need it, our finance center team is here to help answer any questions you may have.

9. Not Enough Paperwork

Responsible owners document the life of their car. If a seller doesn’t have service records and the car’s price is low, they’re probably trying to pass repairs on to you. Sellers with the proper documentation tend to mark their vehicles based on market value and have the records to back up the car’s worth.

10. General Signs of Defects

Use your best judgment; if a car looks or feels wrong, don’t buy it. Look out for excessive rust, a worn tailpipe, or illuminated dash lights. During your test drive, pay special attention to how the car handles and sounds. If something’s off, ask the seller and double-check the title and history report. At the end of the day, it’s best to follow your intuition.

Shop High-Quality Used Cars at Kareem Auto Sales Inc!

Find out why car shoppers from Roseville to Folsom choose Kareem Auto Sales Inc for reasonably priced used cars, trucks, and SUVs. Contact us to schedule a test drive with one of our used cars in Sacramento, to check out our pre-owned specials, or to learn more about popular models for you to choose from! Whether you choose used or certified pre-owned, we have just what you need here at Kareem Auto Sales Inc. You can also find out whether you should get an extended warranty or not. And if you’re deciding whether to get gap insurance for your vehicle, learn more about what it covers with us. We can even help you test for a bad battery!

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