You buy a car in one of two ways.
With a new car, you rely on the manufacturer to produce a high quality car. You also have a warranty in place to protect you for a certain amount of years or mileage, whichever comes first.
But when you buy a pre-owned vehicle, things operate a bit differently. Yes, you can buy from a certified auto dealer, and in some cases, walk away with a warranty. Yet many people opt to buy in a different way. They hit Craigslist to find the perfect car. Or notice a for sale sign in the window of a car sitting in their local neighborhood.
They call. They drive it a few miles. They hand over a check, and the transaction is complete.
That’s also where the heartache can come in.
A drive around the block, and a quick look under the hood won’t tell you what you really need to know. It won’t tell you if there is an underlying problem that will surface a short distance after you take title of the car.
The only way to do that is to schedule a pre-owned vehicle inspection with one of our mechanics. This will allow a professional to run a full diagnostic on it, note where potential problem spots are, and alert you to where repair and replacement potential is around the vehicle.
Why car buyers don’t request a full inspection
When you purchase a new vehicle from a dealer, you assume the car is in the best shape possible. And if it isn’t, you have recourse in the way of a warranty.
When you purchase a used car from an independent third party, you are relying on their honesty as to the condition of the vehicle.
It’s personal to them. They want the car gone. They may stretch the truth, mask potential problem areas, and sell you on the good features of the car, ignoring what they know to be problem areas.
As a buyer, you might not know that used car inspections are not only possible, but are also readily available to you.
Yes, a pre-owned vehicle inspection will cost you money. But won’t that be money well spent if it alerts you to a potential problem that could cost you thousands of dollars, and days – weeks – without your vehicle while it gets repaired? By getting an inspection before you by, you’ll know exactly what to expect in the months ahead, knowing right where your trouble spots are on your new-to-you vehicle.
People also assume getting a pre-owned vehicle inspection is a hassle. Will a third-party even allow you to get an inspection before you hand over the money. The better question might be: what are they trying to hide if they won’t let you get an inspection? If an individual knows their car is in great shape, they will be more than happy to allow a mechanic to give you a second opinion.
The easiest way to do that is to have a trusted mechanic ready and willing to do the inspection when you’re ready. It’s a simple request when you find the car you’re looking for. We’re more than happy to help you out – just let us know what you’re looking for, and give us a call when you find a potential vehicle to purchase. We’ll get the car in and out as quickly as possible, getting both you and the seller back on the road again in no time.
What a mechanic looks for when performing a pre-owned vehicle inspection
You can find pre-owned vehicle inspections at many different dealers and repair shops. Automotive repair shops across the country offer different levels of service.
However, it is wise to build up a rapport with a mechanic before you ask for a pre-owned vehicle inspection. To ensure that you are receiving your money’s worth, a good inspection should:
- Verify that all equipment is functioning correctly on the car
- Confirm the overall condition of the car, including wear on tires, brake pads, and other components of the major systems
- Discover hidden problems that might impact your drive in the future, such as rust on the body, frame, or engine
- Run a diagnostic test to raven any mechanical or electrical problems
If a mechanic is doing his job during a pre-owned vehicle inspection, they will find things like:
- Poor maintenance – a good sign of this would be to discover low oil or other easy maintenance items that should be handled regularly
- Low quality repair work – some people take their vehicles to reputable service stations that use high quality parts. Others look for DIY options, where they look for cost savings in every area. By looking at repair work and other modifications, you can tell if the previous owner cut corners by choosing the cheapest product lines on the market.
- Frame damage – if there is any sign of damage to the frame of the car, it might indicate the vehicle was in an accident and wasn’t repaired correctly. That can impact all other systems on the vehicle, such as pulling to one side and causing premature wear to the tires or brakes.
- Vehicle history reports – while you can pull some history reports online based on VIN numbers, trained mechanics are also good at spotting discrepancies in what owers may say and what the vehicle is telling them. They are trained to spot telltale signs of damage, especially if someone is attempting to cover it up.
- Other – there are many other things that a good mechanic can pick up on based on what they see in a standard inspection. They can find hidden rust, fluid leaks, nonfunctioning accessories, overdue maintenance items, or odors or noises that might not be noticeable to you in a few minutes of test driving.
A pre-owned vehicle inspection is used-car-buying insurance
While no inspection can guarantee you won’t have trouble with your new-to-you vehicle in a short time period, it can help you avoid serious problems that are obvious to a trained eye. A good mechanic can flush out any potential problems that are sitting and waiting to happen to you. It gives you a good, reliable assessment of the overall condition of the car.
If you’re thinking of buying a pre-owned vehicle, allow us to be one of your first stops. We’ll ensure your car is running efficiently and will be a great purchase for you and your family.