Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

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Good Buy or Goodbye: Warnings Signs to Always Keep in Mind at a Used Car Dealer

Let’s be honest, buying from a used car dealership can be pretty intimidating. These were cars that didn’t exactly fit the bill the first time around, and there will always be a big question mark as to why. You also have the exaggerated stigmata of shady used car dealers rubbing their hands together manically as they push you into being stuck with some lemon in the back of your mind. That being said, the prices really are just too good to pass up.

The good news is there are plenty of warning signs that even the everyday driver can recognize while bowering a used car dealership. From the exterior appearance of the used car to the overall attitude of the dealer, you will find signs around every corner that will help you indicate a quality vehicle from a covered up junker. If you notice any of these signs, then it probably means it’s time you turn that good buy to a goodbye.

Thankfully, at McCluskey Auto, we are a used car dealer that you can trust, and we are eager to help you prevent working with a less than reputable used car dealer. So, here are a few things to look out for.


Careless Bodywork or Paint

Always check a used car in a well-lit area in order to properly assess its overall appearance. This is where you will be able to locate the most signs that this car has been in an accident. Paint is the first thing you should notice, and if you see excessive chipping, discoloration, rusting, or a brand new coat especially under the vehicle, you should really start to rethink this option.

As for bodywork, you can check around for unrecorded dents, strange markings, welding, panel gaps, and missing screws. The body should never look too fresh or too worn without an explanation. This shows that the dealer either doesn’t care enough to present it accurately or is overcompensating to hiding something.


Suspected Repairs

Quickie repairs are never a good sign. This is especially true when you notice any brand new parts. New parts should always be viewed with caution unless the exact reason has been recorded and stated to you. Sometimes they are just trying to flip a car honestly, but in most cases, they could just be covering up an unattractive past.


Mismatched or Worn Out Tires

Tires are way up there on the list of most essential car parts. Without them, your car is useless because they control everything and bad tires will always lead to a bad ride. If you notice things like tires of different brands, tires of varying condition, all brand new tires or any worn out tires on the used car it could be a big red flag that something went on with this vehicle.


Car Was Prepared in Advance

If you get in a used car and it seems to have already been started or warmed up not long ago, this can be a red flag. How a car starts up after sitting for a while can be a huge indicator of underlying issues that could never be identified otherwise, and if a dealer is attempting to keep that vital information from you than this vehicle is probably just not worth it.


Unimpressive Test Drive

Many factors can make a test drive go bad. The smoothness and straightness of the ride should be the first thing you notice and always test the braking, acceleration, and turning of the vehicle. Also be sure to check for any unappealing sounds and smells. If anything at all felt less than appealing, then don’t feel bad about seeing if another car suits you. You always have the right to leave or change your mind.


Warning Lights

You can’t get a more literal warning sign. If you see any warning lights come on during your test drive, which again you should ALWAYS take, then you really might be better off looking for the next option. Here are a few warning lights to take seriously:

  • Check engine
  • Battery alert
  • Coolant warning
  • Oil change
  • Brake system
  • Service vehicle
  • Transmission temperature


Pushy Without Passion

Dealers can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. Everyone is different and desires their own type of car buying process, and the best used car dealers are ones that are intuitive enough to notice these desires. Knowing whether to push forward or pull back is all a part of being a dealer that a driver can trust. If a dealer is too in your face or too elusive, it will just make your car buying process more difficult.

A sign of a dealer is one that doesn’t seem to have any passion for the automotive world because this is a sign that they care more about the sale. A good used car dealer will always be informed and resourceful enough to answer all of your questions and concerns in a way anyone could understand.

Another sign of a bad dealer is one that is overly pushy without showing any patience. Rushing to get the deal done only causes everyone to become overwhelmed and is nothing less than suspicion.


Refusing Vehicle History Report

If a used car has nothing to hide there is absolutely no reason to refuse you a vehicle report. It is important to know exactly what kind of accidents or repairs this vehicle has had if you are going to invest a large amount of money. This is also a reminder to always check the VIN before giving even a penny of your hard earned money towards a used car dealer.


Negative Response to Independent Inspection

Similar to refusing a vehicle report, showing negative emotions towards an independent inspection is practically them waving a big red flag in your face. You should have the right to have a vehicle inspected, and if you are being refused that you should go somewhere, that is more accommodating.


McCluskey Auto: A Reputable Used Car Dealer

McCluskey Auto offers used car dealer pricing, with a luxury dealer environment. When you check out our used car dealer you will see almost instantly how transparent and hassle-free we will make the car buying process. No games, no worries, and most of all no time wasted. That being the case, we also want you to get the most out of your used car and the time you spent shopping for them.