Each year, auto dealers encounter customers who are hesitant to buy a new or pre-owned vehicle because they have a history of being sold a lemon. The majority of people who work in auto dealerships are honest, hardworking and know how much work it takes to earn the trust of a customer looking for a new vehicle.
Even though we hear more about consumers who are stuck with a lemon of a car, there are many dealerships who take in a lemon of a vehicle and didn’t even know it (or at least not until they hear the angry complaints of a dissatisfied customer).
As someone whose livelihood relies on a few good car sales every week, do you know the signs that a vehicle in your lot could be a lemon? Here are some tips to keep you from selling a lemon and saving your reputation as a dealership.
Don’t Forget to Look for Recalls
You may have your ear on the pulse when it comes to any news that’s related to vehicles, but staying on top of recalls is crucial. Depending on the size of the recall and how many vehicles are affected, it can take months for car owners to get their notice in the mail.
If your dealership owns a pre-owned vehicle that is part of the recall, it may take even longer for you to find out the bad news. If you’re not already in the habit of checking recall news on a weekly (or even daily basis), it’s easy to find out up-to-date news on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just take a look at the safety issues and recalls section.
Keep in mind that even if none of the cars in your lot show up on the recall list, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t lemons. It’s always good to be aware of other signs that your car may be a lemon.
Get the Full History
If there are cosmetic flaws such as exterior dents or cracks in the dash, you probably get to the bottom of where they come from, right? It’s standard practice for dealers (and prospective buyers) to run a VIN to get a look at the car’s history before it goes on the lot.
Interested car buyers expect to get the lowdown on a vehicle before buying, and if they don’t get all the info they want, you might be out a sale. Getting the full history of a car can be a little tricky, but don’t forget to look into the car’s maintenance as well.
A vehicle that has had multiple repairs (or at least attempted ones) in a short period may indicate that you might have a lemon in your lot. Even if a car runs well, there could be some underlying serious and dangerous issues with the car that cannot be fixed.
Get a Thorough Inspection Done by a Trusted Mechanic
Some dealerships have in-house mechanics, while others are smaller scale and have a mechanic they go to when needed. If you’re planning on selling a pre-owned vehicle “as is” and at a fair price, it’s still important to have a trusted mechanic give it a thorough inspection.
Most interested car buyers have a mechanic that they take a prospective vehicle to before they buy, so if they spot an issue with the vehicle that you didn’t mention you’re likely to lose a sale and tarnish your reputation.
Despite how careful you are to sell the best cars on the market, a lemon is likely to be on your lot from time to time. While you may have little control over the condition of the vehicles, you can prevent selling a lemon to a customer.