Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream Tomorrow. Learn more

Ask Sid

Car Shopping? How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

Q. When car shopping, how can I ensure I’m not buying a lemon?

A.Obviously, you’ll want to read reviews of vehicles you’re considering at and theConsumer Reports website. A lesser-known valuable resource is, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website that compiles data on complaints, recalls and safety defects by vehicle make, model and year.

Before buying a used car, get its vehicle identification number (VIN) and order a CARFAX report; many dealers offer this for free, or you can visit CARFAX online. It’s also wise to have your personal mechanic inspect the car and ask the dealer to document—in writing—anything about its prior history that could void its warranty or performance. Some states allow consumers two or more days to return problematic used cars, but most do not.


Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.