Woman screaming while sitting against wall after being frustrated by her car buying experience

Used Cars for Sale: 5 Horror Stories You Won’t Soon Forget

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable car, you might be looking around for deals on used cars for sale near you. If you’re spending time scouring Craigslist or other sites, you might come across some offers that look too good to be true. There are countless horror stories that start just like that— tales of love and loss, comedy and tragedy, victory and then defeat. Before you hastily pull the trigger on anything, arm yourself with the knowledge of past used car buyers, lest you be doomed to make their same mistakes. Be warned, we will be using fake names in order to protect the identity of these unfortunate souls.


A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Lies

The story of Dan is a cautionary tale, a lesson about jumping the gun and the dangers of long-distance car shopping. It began when he sought out a used truck online, and found what he thought to be a reputable dealer through an advertisement. Dan lived in Florida, but the dealership in question was multiple states away in Pennsylvania. Now, Dan wasn’t a fool, not by any means. He had the foresight to research the different types of wear and tear damage native to Pennsylvania, and it should have served him well. You see, Dan’s only mistake was trusting a dealership a thousand miles away, one that on the surface seemed perfectly respectable. When he contacted the dealer Dan asked about corrosion damage, something he knew to be a regular problem in areas with heavier winter weather. The dealer assured him that the truck he was considering was rust-free, even going so far as to send multiple pictures of the vehicle’s underside. Dan was so satisfied with these pictures that he wired the money without any further questions. However, when the truck arrived, it became clear that the pictures he had been sent were not of the same truck that he had just been given. When all was said and done, the corrosion set Dan back almost $5000, so you can bet that he’ll never buy another car without seeing it in person first.


*Engine Not Included

Nate wasn’t looking for anything incredible. He wasn’t worried about the prospect of putting a bit of work into a car, it seemed to him like a reasonable trade-off for the benefits of buying used. So, free of reservations or concerns, Nate took a trip to a local auto auction. The crowd seemed eager for one car specifically; it looked so clean he felt like if he didn’t know better, he might question its status as a used vehicle. As bids started to climb, he felt more and more enticed, and after your typical fast-talking auction house rigmarole, Nate was the lucky one signing the paperwork for the vehicle that had been in such high demand. He thought that he was prepared for the added risks of buying a used car for sale at an auction and that any flaws with the car would be both minor and manageable. However, after being given the keys and having the car towed back to his home, Nate was treated to a shock. When he went to get a closer look at his new purchase and turn on the vehicle, it didn’t start. Upon opening the hood, he discovered the problem fairly quickly: nothing. By nothing, we mean there was nothing under the hood. The transmission, engine, radiator, battery, and dignity had all been stripped from the car. Of course, the auction claimed no responsibility, he had bought the car as-is, so he was left with a life-sized Hot Wheels car. It just goes to show the importance of getting a vehicle inspected by a source that you trust.


The Sunnyvale Special

Jerry was a practical man: the kind of guy who knew to test drive vehicles before making a purchase. So when he found a car that he liked at an incredibly affordable price, he figured if the test drive went well then it was worthy of his attention. After driving the car around for a while and finding no noticeable problems, he made the measured decision to purchase the vehicle. After proudly driving home to show his girlfriend the new car he invited her for a ride. When he opened the door to let her in, though, the door fell to the ground, almost entirely detached from the vehicle. It was clear the car had been in a major accident, and the dealer had simply glued the door in place and hoped for the best. When he called to complain about their dishonesty, he was met only with mockery at the fact he had fallen for their deception. Jerry assumed that the doors of the car he was buying would be fully attached, and that isn’t an unreasonable assumption. But when a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, so you need to be much more thorough in your inspection to avoid situations like this one.


Recalling A Deadly Situation

Jen’s story is a frightening one, for several reasons. What happened to her could happen to any recent used car buyer, and at any time. A short while after Jen purchased her used car, she was nearly killed when her airbag spontaneously deployed while she was driving on the highway. When she contacted the dealership they were stubborn and unhelpful, and even though she was able to provide evidence of multiple recalls on the vehicle in question, still she was unable to get her money back. It may seem unnecessary to spend extra time researching the finest details of a car before buying it, but one hour is an even trade for safety and peace of mind.


Patrick’s Lament

Patrick was never interested in cars, instead, he filled his head with stories about superheroes and space treks, living in the clouds. He got his license a few years later than most and a car along with it. Within a week of buying the vehicle, three out of four wheels were low on air. Patrick thought nothing of this after all the car had belonged to a friend’s grandmother, and she probably hadn’t been driving it much; a few parts were bound to need some maintenance. So he brought the car to a mechanic, and during a conversation he pretended to fully understand he managed to decipher that something involving the transmission of the vehicle was being kept in place by a string. In the days that he waited for his car to be repaired Patrick could only imagine what kind of grandmother his friend must have had. Once he got his car back, it drove significantly better than before— for a week and a half, until the new tires started to deflate. Luckily he was able to avoid paying for repairs to the wheels due to the fact that the car finally gave out as he pulled onto his street the very same day. Whether the grandmother’s tinkering was what damned the car or what was holding it together, we’ll never know, but she was probably a pretty interesting lady.


Where are all the Good Used Cars For Sale?

Hopefully, nothing like one of these vehicular nightmares ever happens to you, but if luck would have that it does then maybe having heard these stories will give you the foresight necessary to avoid repeating history. If not, then you’ll be the one telling the story, and I can’t imagine that’s much fun. Good luck out there, and stay on your toes; pretend you’re buying a car from someone from Game of Thrones or the government, and you should be alright.