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Navigating the Traps: What to Watch for When Buying a Used Car from a Dealership in Wisconsin

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | Oct 23, 2023

Buying a used car can be an excellent way to save money, but it can also be a risky venture, particularly if you're purchasing from a dealership. Wisconsin, known for its picturesque landscapes and thriving automotive culture, hosts a range of dealerships that offer a plethora of options. However, amidst the excitement of purchasing a used car, several potential pitfalls can lurk beneath the surface. Here's what to watch out for to ensure a smooth and satisfactory purchase.

  1. Overlooking Vehicle History Reports: One of the most common mistakes buyers make is failing to thoroughly check a vehicle's history. In Wisconsin, this is crucial due to the state's unpredictable weather conditions, which can lead to various vehicle issues over time. Request a detailed history report to gain insights into the car's maintenance records, accident history, and any potential red flags. This step is pivotal in uncovering crucial information about the vehicle's past and can save you from potential future headaches.

  2. Neglecting a Thorough Inspection: Despite a dealership's assurance, always conduct a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle. Pay particular attention to the engine, brakes, tires, and suspension. Look for signs of wear and tear, leaks, or any hidden damages that might not be immediately apparent. Additionally, considering Wisconsin's harsh winters, checking for rust and corrosion is essential, as these can severely impact the vehicle's longevity and performance.

  3. Ignoring Warranty and Lemon Law Details: Familiarize yourself with Wisconsin's "Lemon Law", which provides consumer protection for those who purchase defective vehicles. Verify the warranty details of the used car and understand the extent of coverage it provides. 

  4. Negotiating Without Research: Wisconsinites are known for their bargaining skills, but negotiating without proper research can be detrimental. Research the market value of the specific make and model you're interested in, considering factors such as mileage, age, and condition. This information will empower you during negotiations and prevent you from overpaying for a used vehicle.

  5. Underestimating Financing and Additional Fees: While focusing on the car's price, don't overlook additional costs such as taxes, registration fees, and dealership charges. Familiarize yourself with Wisconsin's tax regulations and anticipate these additional expenses. Understand the terms of any financing options and carefully assess the interest rates to ensure they align with your budget and financial goals.

  6. Disregarding Customer Reviews and Dealer Reputation: In the age of online reviews, it's vital to research the dealership's reputation and customer feedback. Look for patterns in customer experiences, both positive and negative, to gauge the dealership's credibility and reliability. Avoid dealerships with a history of unresolved complaints or dubious practices.

By being mindful of these potential pitfalls, you can navigate the process of purchasing a used car from a Wisconsin dealership with confidence. Conduct thorough research, seek expert opinions when necessary, and trust your instincts to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and preferences. Remember, a cautious approach can lead to a successful and gratifying purchase, ensuring your new wheels serve you well on Wisconsin's roads for years to come.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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