Buying a used car can be tricky at the best of times because there are so many factors that need to be taken into account. On top of that unscrupulous sellers may try to palm off cars that are not what they represent them as. Some common scams that can trap you and tips on avoiding them:

Car Clocking

One of the most common scams in the used car industry, clocking is the practice of tampering with the car’s odometer so that the mileage reads far less than what it actually is. It is a criminal practice done with the intention of fooling customers to think that the car’s value is more than it actually is. Since it is not possible to detect clocking by looking at the odometer, you need to watch out for telltale signs that might indicate that the car has run more than it is being represented.

You should watch out for disproportionate stone chipping damage to the front panels as well as driver controls like steering wheel, switches, and pedal rubbers that have been worn down due to excessive use. Even worn out seat belts and seat squabs could be warning signs. Inspect the service records to get an idea of the actual mileage and avoid used cars for sale in NY with mileage that is unnaturally low.

Car Cloning

Unscrupulous sellers may fit number plates lifted from an identical vehicle to hide the fact that the vehicle being sold is stolen. This technique is also popular with criminals who want to commit crimes or palm off traffic fines to another owner. You can avoid falling prey to a cloning scam by matching the vehicle’s number plate as well as the VIN plate with the V5C logbook. While the VIN plate may be situated at different places in the car depending on the make, any seller who cannot produce the V5C logbook should be avoided.

Cut-And-Shut Cars

Certainly, a more radical method of scamming, cut-and-shut cars are essentially cars that have been reconstructed from two or more damaged cars and presented to an unwary buyer as the car originally made by the manufacturer. The reason why you should never buy such a car is that the structural rigidity is likely to have been compromised, which may be extremely hazardous in case the vehicle meets with an accident.

If done by professionals, the reconstruction can be impossible to discern, however, many cars that have poor matching of paint, paint overspray on the trim or glass, and body panels that are not evenly matched should be viewed with suspicion and their records checked. All shoddily repaired cars may not be cut-and-shut cases; however, it is best that you stay away from cars with obvious damage history.


When you buy a used car, all your senses should be on high alert to the possibility of a scam or misrepresentation. You should preferably buy cars only from reputed dealers who offer you the assurance of a manufacturer or dealer certification of quality and warranties to back them.

Author's Bio: 

Charlie Brown is a freelance content writer.