Tips for Buying a Used Car

Posted by sally on April 30th, 2012

Thanks to We Buy Cars for this guest post. We Buy Cars has been buying used and junk cars for cash for over 30 years.

Buying a car should be a simple and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, there is a process to it and if the right steps aren’t taken you could end up on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Let’s start with what you should do before you head out to the lot.

Doing your research ahead of time on the vehicle you’re eyeing is a MUST. While a cherry red sport coupe may be catching your attention, a simple online search can tell you a different story. Car forums often contain posts by actual owners, and they give the best reviews and can even clue you in on common issues with the vehicle.

Did you find a car that you want to check out in person and test-drive? If you’re buying from a private seller, ask to take the car to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. If it’s a dealership they’ll be more hesitant. Go over these points and use this as your inspection check list:

  • Start the engine when it’s completely cold. Some cars are harder to start when they are dead cold and, when doing so, will reveal chronic problems.
  • Check the tires for uneven tire wear. Balding on the sides or in the middle could indicate the need for a front-end alignment or a more costly suspension repair.
  • Check for body work. Stand away from the vehicle and look at its panels and seams. Does everything line up correctly? A refrigerator magnet will find spots where plastic filler was used.
  • Check if the car was repainted. Open the trunk, hood and doors and look for over-spray or spots where the colors don’t match with the rest of the car.
  • Check the radiator fluid. If the fluid is foamy or has oil droplets in it, most likely there is a defective head gasket. Worst case scenario there could be a cracked block or cylinder head.

Once you head out for the test drive, evaluate these points:

  • Acceleration from a complete stop
  • Unusual engine noises?
  • Passing acceleration (How does it shift?)
  • Hill-climbing power
  • Braking
  • Cornering
  • Suspension (How does it ride?)
  • Rattles and squeaks

To dive in deeper into the vehicles history, write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which is located on the driver’s-side door pillar. This number will allow you to check the title through and get details on any past accidents, flood damage, odometer issues and any other major problems.

Your fastest and easiest way to go is with a certified pre-owned vehicle. These cars get a full inspection and usually come with a type of warranty. This peace of mind does come with a higher price tag, but it is worth it. These steps will not only get you in the car you want, but one that should last you for a while.

Cash for Clunkers Extended

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on August 10th, 2009

It looks like the “Cash for Clunkers” program was wildly successful – so much so that it was set to run out of funding a week after it launched. An additional $2 billion has been approved for the program; there’s no telling how long that funding will last.

Jack Hidary, who contributed to the development of the program, wrote an interesting commentary for CNN about the U.S. program and similar programs around the world. He points out the reasons why he thinks that Cash for Clunkers is good for the country, such as shoring up auto industry-related jobs (and even those that aren’t directly related to car manufacturing), improving the trade imbalance, lowering oil consumption (by upgrading to vehicles with better fuel efficiency), and improving safety (since people may be trading in vehicles without airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc.).

Cash for Clunkers Program in Full Swing

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 27th, 2009

If you’ve been wanting a piece of the government’s economic bailout, now’s your chance. The Consumer Assistance Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (also known as “Cash for Clunkers”) is in full swing. CARS, as it is known, has a pool of $1 billion to help consumers trade in their cars for more fuel efficient vehicles (or, depending on your level of cynicism, a $1 billion handout for the auto industry). People who participate in this program can get a $3,500 or $4,000 discount when they trade in their old vehicle and buy or lease a new one. The program started on July 1, and will end November 30 or when funding runs out (whichever comes first).

As with any government program, there are a number of hoops to jump through and caveats to consider. The trade-in vehicle has to be less than 25 years old and get 18 MPG or less. It has to have been registered and insured for a full year prior to the trade-in, and the discount applies only to new vehicles (not used). The amount of the discount you receive depends upon a number of factors, but primarily relies on the increase in MPG from your old vehicle to your new vehicle.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new car, or if your lemon isn’t protected under your state’s lemon law or applicable federal law, this just may be the time to do it. For more information, visit the government’s website, and review Edmunds’ information on the program.

Why I Practice Lemon Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on January 9th, 2008

There is a recent article NY Times entitled The Falling Down of Professions. In a nutshell, the article describes the unfortunate experience of many young lawyers disappointed in the professional choices they make. They work long hours at large law firms, receiving substantial salaries and bonus, and nonetheless remain unhappy about their professional choices. What the article does not do is answer the more difficult question — what are they all so unhappy about? How can it be changed?

I can answer that question, because I’ve been there myself. Before launching my own practice focusing on automotive defects and lemon law, I practiced law at several large firms in Manhattan, Boston and Connecticut. And I hated every minute of it. I hated the meaningless assignments, the daily drudgery, the lack of control over one’s time, the lack of free time, the backstabbing politics….the list is long. I was terrified that I’d made a wrong professional choice, that I had acquired no useful skills, that I was wasting my life in a useless, cruel profession.

Then one day I visited my dentist. I asked him why he liked what he does. His answer was surprising: “I like being my own boss, I like having a staff, treating my own clients, in the way that I like; I like helping people, I like the freedom this profession gives me,” he said, and continued, “whoever wants to work for another dentist?”

It became clear to me then that my experience as a lawyer practicing in a large firm gave me none of the benefits that this man found so essential to his daily routines. So, in my case, I had all the problems associated with the profession — the long hours, the difficult problems etc — but none of its most fundamental benefits. Plus, of course, the practice of law has changed tremendously over the last the last 25 years. Gone are the ideas of apprenticeship, of committing to an enterprise that has a common goal, a history and an interest in growing in the future through training younger associates. The modern law firm is a business. It makes money by billing out at high hourly rate and making a margin on each our of its associates’ time.

And so I decided to change the way I was practicing law and launched my own practice in the Spring of 2006. Focusing on lemon law and auto warranty allows me to run my own practice, help my own clients, many of whom are desperately in need of legal advice, and make a living.

New York Times Article

Welcome to the Lemon Law Blog

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on December 15th, 2007

Welcome to Lemon Justice!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and welcome you to the Lemon Justice blog. My name is Sergei Lemberg, and I’m an attorney practicing in the area of lemon law and licensed to practice law in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

I became interested in lemon law because I wanted to help people – people who feel like they can’t speak for themselves or fight for their rights.

One of the areas that immediately caught my attention was the Lemon Law. There are times when people buy cars, trucks, RVs, and motorcycles that simply are defective. They take their vehicles in for repair time and time again, and they still don’t run properly. In the meantime, they’re often without transportation and feel like they’re banging their heads against a brick wall. They can’t seem to get a straight answer from the dealer or manufacturer. In other words, they feel stuck with a Lemon Auto.

Unfortunately, people often don’t realize that every state has a Lemon Law, and that Lemon Laws can help them get refunds, new vehicles, or cash settlements. They often don’t understand that an attorney can be an enormous help in getting rid of their lemon cars. And they don’t know that getting an attorney’s help doesn’t cost a dime. Lemon Laws are written so that the vehicle manufacturer or dealer pays for all attorney fees – not the consumer.

I’ve created this blog so that I can discuss Lemon Law, give you tips about what you should do if you think you have a Lemon, and keep you up to date with the latest news about Lemon Laws and vehicle defects. I hope you find the Lemon Justice blog informative, and that it empowers you to take steps to get your Lemon out of your life.

If you think you have a Lemon, visit our Lemon Meter. In less than five minutes, you can see whether or not your vehicle qualifies as a Lemon under your state’s laws.

All the best,