Lemon-Free Buying Tips for Used Cars in Harrisburg PA

There are many advantages to buying used cars in Harrisburg PA, such as the lower purchase price, decreased impact fees and lower insurance costs. Despite those advantages, there are some risks to consider: there’s no new-vehicle warranty, and you’re more susceptible to the problems that commonly befall used cars.

Choose a car with some of the manufacturer warranty remaining. Most later-model used cars have a minimum of a 3 yr./36,000 mile limited warranty and longer-lasting powertrain coverage. Buying a vehicle still under warranty means that you could have at least a year of hassle-free driving-;if you confirm the transferability of the warranty before you make the purchase.

Ask about CPO (certified pre-owned) vehicles. CPOs are late-model used vehicles with fewer than 50,000 miles that are thoroughly maintained, inspected and tested. Certified pre-owned vehicle programs are sponsored by the major automakers, and these vehicles come with an extended warranty on parts like the transmission and engine.

Do some research on your chosen make and model before buying. If the car you want has a high percentage of consumer complaints or recalls, look elsewhere. You can find out about safety issues and recalls at the NHTSA’s website, and learn more about a particular vehicle’s consumer satisfaction record through Consumer Reports and JD Power and Associates. Google can help you here as well; just search for “(vehicle model) lemon”. If a particular car has a problematic history, it will be all over the Web.

Examine the car thoroughly. Even if your particular make and model has a good reputation, the specific car you want could have issues. Hire an independent service technician to inspect the car before sale; if the dealer won’t allow it, take your business elsewhere.

Look at the car’s service records. If they are available, the car was likely well maintained, and you have proof that there weren’t any significant issues. If service records aren’t available, be wary. Lack of service records doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad vehicle, but you should wonder why the seller wouldn’t make them available.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you should never buy used cars without getting a history report. Locate the car’s VIN and purchase a report through Carfax or a similar service. Vehicle history reports will notify you of problems such as accidents, title issues, and service history. These reports cost less than $30, and can give you great peace of mind.

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