Avoid These Auto Scams When Buying a Car in 2023
Consumers looking to purchase a car are facing various challenges, including rising car prices, soaring interest rates, and plant strikes that may increase costs even further. With dwindling inventory and dealerships struggling to make a profit, experts are warning about the increase in deceptive practices at dealerships and on car buying websites.
Auto TikToker @chequanxiaoqiao, who has millions of followers on Instagram and TikTok, shares tips and tricks to help consumers spot red flags and avoid potential scams. One of her suggestions is to squat down and touch the inside of the exhaust pipe. If there are black marks on the inner wall, it could indicate a serious engine failure. Another tip is to check the four-digit number on a car’s tires, which indicates the week and year of production. The tire’s production date should be earlier than the car’s production date, as a mismatch could suggest that the car had its tires changed due to an accident.
It’s important to check the age of a car’s glass, particularly by examining the lower corners of the windshield. Additionally, car buyers should inspect the color and condition of the car’s oil. New oil should appear red and somewhat transparent, while dark oil with debris could indicate prior use as a test model.
Gregg Fidan, founder of RealCarTips, recommends being cautious about misleading stickers placed next to the car manufacturer’s suggested retail price. These stickers often include add-ons that are unnecessary or simply made-up charges.
Fidan advises against giving a dealer a deposit to hold a car, except in cases where a dealer trade is being conducted. This is crucial to keep in mind in high-demand and low-supply markets where dealers may request deposits.
By staying informed and vigilant, car buyers can protect themselves from falling victim to various auto scams.