Dealer scams are various and getting trapped has become easier than ever. However, there are some steps you can take that will significantly decline the chances of your becoming a dealer fraud victim.
The first thing you should always do is taking a test drive. This will give you a good feel for any problems that you might have with the car. If the suspension feels a little off, or you feel something is not quite right with the car, keep looking if you don’t think it will be a quick fix for you. Used cars tend to have different warranties than new cars, so you should find out for yourself whether you want to sink money into this car or not.
The next thing you should do is taking the car to a mechanic of your choice. Most dealers or private sellers will allow you to do this, and you should do it as a standard part of the buying process. This will enable you to know how the car is running, whether it needs repairs or not, and finally how much you will have to spend.
Always get a Carfax report on your car if possible. It will enable you to identify any flooded vehicles, salvaged vehicles, prior major accidents, rolled-back odometers, etc.. This will give you a complete idea on the car you are going to buy and will help you avoid dealer fraud.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Sometimes you just need a car to get you through the winter, so it might not be a total shock if the thing junks out on you in spring. However, if you are buying a late model car, you should do everything that you can to protect the investment that you will make in it.
Of course this is not the exhaustive list of the things you may do, but the above mentioned steps are the basic ones for avoiding car dealer scams.