We frequently get calls from folks looking to buy a used car or truck. They would like to have the vehicle inspected to find out if the asking price is right and if the new purchase will be a good fit for them. Over the years we have found that it is critical to have a used vehicle checked out before purchase, not after as several folks have done. Most people are honest and straight forward when selling a car or truck, but unfortunately there are some who are just trying to dump a junker off on an unsuspecting buyer. In fact, some of the worst cases we have seen involve foreign students who come here to study at CSU. We have seen some new students from overseas who have never owned a car sold a nightmare.
So here is what we recommend: always, ALWAYS, have a used vehicle inspected before purchase. If the seller does not want to allow you to take it someplace for inspection, run, don’t walk away from that deal. We offer two levels of inspection. Our best, most complete inspection is one that was put together by the Car Care Council who surveyed a group of master mechanics to come up with a 190 point inspection. It covers all areas of the vehicle and includes visual inspections, testing, measuring, and test driving. We check to be certain that you will not be buying someone else’s problems and provide a six page report stating whether the items are OK, marginal, or a problem. It includes the inspectors comments as well. We include a list of manufacturer’s recalls and technical service bulletins (known pattern problems) along with an estimate of repairs and maintenance required. Finally, we include a thumbs up or down opinion as to whether this is a good purchase or not. The cost is $175 and we think this level of test should be done when spending $2,000 or more. In most cases we will find $500 or more of work to be done and will allow the buyer to have some leverage with the seller in terms of the final price. The inspection pays for itself in this manner. It takes 3-4 hours to do this inspection.
If you are purchasing a less expensive vehicle or one that is three years old or less, we recommend a less exhaustive inspection for $69.95 which includes a test drive, vehicle inspection on a lift, complete brake inspection and undercar inspection, and an under hood inspection. No testing or in depth inspection is done, nor is there a report on recalls or technical service bulletins. We do supply an estimate as best we can for what do do check. When this inspection is done on a less expensive used vehicle, we always advise to have an additional $2,000 on hand for repairs and maintenance that is not discovered. These low cost cars and trucks are often being sold off because the owner does not want to make expensive repairs. However, there are often some great buys on these from original owners who are trading up or becoming too old to drive any longer. This lower cost inspection takes about an hour.
The Romans coined an expression centuries ago which encapsulates this topic very well: Caveat Emptor, Let the Buyer Beware.
Call us for questions or appointments.