A recent investigative report out of Atlanta, Georgia draws attention to a consumer safety issue that has not received much press. An investigative reporter for Channel 2, Jim Strickland, unveiled that there is a lot more to discovering the safety of a used car than just checking the accident report.
Carfax, founded in 1984, has become the go-to source for used car information, as their reports detail a wide variety of information about the vehicle you are considering purchasing. People tend to pay the most attention to the accident report, letting them know if the vehicle has been badly damaged or totaled, indicating structural damage might have occurred that renders the car unsafe for the new driver.
But Strickland discovered another very important thing to learn about a car: where it originated from and where its past owners lived. One vehicle in particular was almost completely rusted through, despite no indication on the Carfax report that it had ever been subjected to flood conditions. It had, however, come from Ohio, an area known for using salt on the roads and having a lot of precipitation, both contributing factors to rust.
When buying a used car, there a number of things you should do to protect yourself:
- Get the Carfax report on the vehicle.
- Check the owner history to find where the car has been.
- Insist on having an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchase.
- Don’t be pressured by salesmen into making a quick decision.
- Ask friends and family about the reputations of local car lots.
Unfortunately, we don’t always learn about the problems with a vehicle until after we’ve been in an accident. Not all used car lots are scrupulous in providing the necessary information to the buyer, and though there are “lemon laws” in most states, these only protect you for a certain length of time. Particularly shady dealers can be adept at fixing the car just enough for it to make it past the lemon law timeframe.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, and you suspect negligence on the part of the car manufacturer or the person who sold you the car, never hesitate to contact a lawyer with the necessary experience to get you the answers you need.