Anything described as a “simple fix”, if it was a simple fix then the seller would already have done it. Either it ain’t simple, or they are too incompetent and lazy in their maintenance to do it. Neither is a good sign.

Are there any areas of the car that haven’t been photographed for the ad? If they’ve photoshot it from just one side then the other side is trashed, similar if there is no pic of the rear seats, or trunk, we know there is something lurking there. Or if it is photographed from a distance and no interior shots at all, then it is a scam advert.

If it is a private seller, then will they meet you either at their house (and invite you in) or next to a police station. If it isn’t either of those, then it is a scam and probably stolen. And if they are meeting you at their home, then is the car already running when you get there? If it is then there is something wrong with its start up from cold. First thing you should do when inspecting a car is pop the hood and feel the engine, if it is warm then they’ve pre-warmed it to try and hide a cold start up problem.

There are lots of possible red flags, but those are the ones I go for. That and basic maintenance. Not all red flags are equal, most are just useful for getting the price down rather than just walking away (they are more a be ready to walk away if the price is inflexible).

Apart from the scam red-flags the ones which do mean just walk away are stuff like does the car look straight, are there any areas of paint which look like it is a different color from the rest of the car (more than can be explained by replacing a panel, we’re talking about Frankenstein cars where two or more accident damaged vehicles and been chopped apart to make one vehicle from the parts), any creases around the chassis. Mud high up in the engine bay and leaf detritus in the vents and spare wheel well, mean it has been in a flood. Those are the big and obvious red flags which mean just walk away because the vehicle ain’t worth it, that should go without saying.