Every Car Has a Dark Side

Black car exterior

After countless hours of browsing online inventory, reading vehicle reviews and comparing prices, you’ve found the car that you just can’t live without.

But what if you knew that car would have issues later on? Would it still be so perfect? Probably not.

​Until we can predict the future, though, the best way to prevent car buyer’s remorse is to inspect the vehicle before signing any papers. Otherwise, you may end up like Lisa, LendingTree Autos’ operations associate, who found herself in a pretty shady situation as soon as she drove her dream car off the lot.

After graduating high school, Lisa got her first car: a Pontiac Sunfire. She loved everything about it and even named it “Black Betty” for its sleek black exterior. But there was a catch — something she hadn’t noticed at the dealership. “The back window was tinted way too dark,” she said. “And that caused quite a few problems for me.”

“I realized how dark it really was when I tried to back out of the driveway and hit my brother’s car,” she said. Luckily, the damage was minimal, but the blind back-ups didn’t stop there. A few weeks later, she ran into McDonald’s. No, not for fries and a Coke — she backed her car into the building.

“I backed into a parked car — well, a couple parked cars — on the street, too,” she said. It was getting bad. Lisa needed a way to see when the car was in reverse, and at this point, it would have been better to punch out the glass altogether. It looked like the end for Black Betty until Lisa’s dad came to the rescue.

“My dad thought it would be a good idea to remove the window tint himself,” she said. So, armed with a metal paint scraper, Lisa’s father got to work. While it was an admirable effort, the results weren’t quite what he had in mind. “The tint didn’t come off all way; it just left a bunch of shredded streaks,” Lisa remembered. Despite his valiant attempt, her dad only made matters worse.

“I told him to leave it alone, so I drove around like that for a long time,” she said. “The new stripes made it even harder to see.” 

When Black Betty had finally run its course, Lisa and her dad drove to the nearest Pontiac dealership to trade in the car. “They wouldn’t give us any more than $200 for it,” she laughed. “I’m sure the striped window didn’t help.”

If Lisa had asked about the dark window before purchasing her car, she could have spared some burgers and quite a few car bumpers (including Black Betty’s). Although it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying your dream car, always be sure to check for add-ons and damage from the previous owner. 

Before you go test driving, take a look at these tips for inspecting a used vehicle yourself. After all, a quick double check could help you negotiate a better deal on the car’s price and keep you from making your purchase — or taking a drive — in the dark.

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