15 People Reveal Red Flags To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

List Rules
Vote up the red flags everyone should keep an eye out for when car shopping.

There's nothing wrong with buying used cars. In some ways, it's even better than buying new. But there's a lot to consider before you sign on the dotted line. Are you getting a good deal? Are you getting grifted? What are the red flags to look out for? The answer to that question is getting answered by these Redditors. Read on if you're curious about used car red flags and car salesman red flags.


  • 1
    7 VOTES

    The Steering Wheel Shakes At 40mph

    From a former Redditor:

    Take the car out for a test drive. Get up to 40 mph or so and lightly apply the brakes to start and slow down. If the steering wheel shakes, don't buy the car.

    You'll hear "Oh, it's just the brakes; we'll replace them" or "Oh. it must be the control arms; we'll replace them." If the car made it onto the lot with safety issues like that, the dealer 100% didn't inspect it and there could be a multitude of other issues that will pop up after the 14-day lemon law period expires. I learned this the hard way.

    7 votes
  • 2
    25 VOTES

    The Car Has Cheap Or Weird Brand Tires

    From Redditor u/SerPuissance:

    Cheap weird brand tires. It means that they've spent the bare minimum on the rest of the car and there's probably shoddy workmanship and missing service items from sh*t auto shops. Even if if has service history.

    25 votes
  • 3
    10 VOTES

    The Body Lines Don't Line Up Properly

    From Redditor u/Honsou51:

    Look for body lines that don't quite line up properly. It's a good sign it was in a wreck and patched back up. A good body man will make it like it never happened. But those are few and far between.

    10 votes
  • 4
    7 VOTES

    The Car Has Cheap Aftermarket Add-ons

    From Redditor u/molten_dragon:

    Cheap aftermarket repairs - generally a sign that the person did the bare minimum taking care of the car.

    Cheap aftermarket add-ons (i.e., a big crappy-looking spoiler on a 14-year-old Toyota Corolla) - they're generally put on by people who think they're street racers and treat their cars as such.

    The condition of the car doesn't match its age/mileage. Can be a sign that the person hasn't been taking good care of it.

    7 votes
  • 5
    3 VOTES

    The Shop Doesn't Want To Give You A Pre-Purchase Inspection

    From a former Redditor:

    Ask if you can take it to a shop for them to look over. Most shops do pre-purchase inspections and if they don't want you to take it that's a big red flag.

    3 votes
  • 6
    3 VOTES

    The Price Seems Too Good To Be True

    From Redditor u/AbsoluteZero_:

    The price seems too good to be true, high miles for the year, it’s overly dirty, black oil, brown or burned smelling transmission fluid, rough idle, overly squishy suspension, non-functioning gauges, and RUST.

    Depending on the overall condition, some of those things can be looked past and brought up in the negotiation process. Except for rust. Don’t f*ck with rust.

    3 votes