When you're shopping for a used car in New Jersey, you should thoroughly research your purchase before making a final decision. This includes everything from determining the market value of a particular model and assessing the total cost of ownership to test driving and inspecting the vehicle itself.
Many drivers may not be aware of the importance of inspecting the vehicle, but doing so can help them spot and avoid a "lemon." Lemons are cars that have sustained significant damages or undergone repairs that drastically reduce their value, but many private sellers and some used car dealers may try to pull the wool over consumers' eyes to make money off their cars. Not all dealers are out to deceive car shoppers. New Jersey State Auto Auction, for instance, guarantees the quality of their vehicles, which are all CARFAX certified, so drivers know they're getting behind the wheel of reliable vehicles.
However, it is always a safe bet to give a car a once over, just in case something is wrong that may have gone unnoticed. The Wall Street Journal recommends looking for mismatched paint and checking for uniformity along any seams in the car's body. This can indicate major repair work was done. You should also check for signs of flood damage inside the engine. Look for water lines under the hood that could hint the vehicle has been exposed to water damage. This can not only impact the value of the car, but has likely caused a significant amount of damage and rust.
The best way to ensure a vehicle is in the condition the seller claims is to have a trusted independent mechanic inspect the car before you make a purchase. This typically costs between $75 and $150, according to the news source.