Expert offers tips on spotting lemons

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - As consumers search the web for good prices on used cars, experts urge a sense of caution. They say every car holds a secret.

Often when buying a car, consumers will give the vehicle a one-over -- a look at how various areaa of the car look. But, what may look good on the surface after a good wash, wax and new tires may be a something much different under the hood and behind that new coat of paint. It's not uncommon to find out your used car with a new look was involved in a serious collision.

The people at CARFAX know. In fact, they say what they use to determine whether or not a vehicle has been rebuilt after a serious collision is no secret. Representatives of CARFAX were at The Avenue at White Marsh Thursday to share the tricks of the trade.

All afternoon visitors to The Avenue at White Marsh looked over three vans to see if they could determine which was a rebuilt wreck. It took a rep from CARFAX just a few moment. In a breath, Chris Basso of CARFAX spotted that one of the vans had a new bumper. He said the paint on the bumper didn't quite match the rest of the vehicle.

From differences in paint to differences in the type of lug nuts use, Basso said spotting a rebuilt wreck is as simple as looking for inconsistencies.

CARFAX is used by millions of consumers each year. CARFAX Vehicle History Reports are available on all used cars and light trucks model year 1981 or later. Using the unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN), a CARFAX report can be instantly generated from a database of over ten billion records.

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