I know….. Buying a car can be a terrible ordeal. Which model do you get? Which make? Do you go with a brand new car? Or do you go with a used vehicle to lower the expenses. “Do I go to a large dealership, or do I go to a small one. Maybe I should buy from a private seller.” Pre-purchase inspection
All of these questions can be a nightmare right before you make a very important (and costly) decision. That is why I am writing this today. All of this stress can be avoided by simply doing a little bit of research. Depending on your lifestyle and habits, cars offer an infinite array of options to choose from, but I am going to break down the ones you should start with.
First thing is first…. How was the vehicle maintained? How do you answer this question? The simple solution would be to call a mobile mechanic in your area, but that won’t help you learn more about car maintenance. Being an informed buyer not only makes you less susceptible to getting ripped off by a scammer, it also helps you know more about cars in general.
There are a lot of people out there who would love to take advantage of a buyer who doesn’t know what to look for. Luckily enough I am here to help. With a few tips on what to watch out for you will be the perfect buyer, and be happy with what you now own. Leaving more time for you to enjoy your car, and not cry about how much money you are now having to put into repairs. Here are some of the things you should practice.
1. Look up the consumer reports and car forums on the car you are interested in before doing a Pre-purchase inspection .
- A consumer report is filled with great information on the total reliability, and review of the vehicle you have in mind. Many of the issues, such as transmission failures, engine problems, and other known issues with the car you want will be reported on them. They also normally provide you a rating that informs you of the cars overall ranking compared to its competition.
- Another even easier trick is to simply type in the car you like in google, and add the word “issues.” Example (2018 Mustang GT Issues). Tons of pages with information called forums, will pop out at you letting you know what people are having trouble with on that car. If you do not see anything on the first page of google, it normally means that the car you want does not have any main issues. If you see a lot of complaints and issues, RUN!
2. Know the dealership or seller you are buying from before doing a Pre-purchase inspection .
- A large reputable dealership will usually be the best source for vehicles in great condition. The problem is that the price tag might not be the greatest. Large dealerships ensure that the cars they sell are in great shape, and normally they will certify them, but at a cost. You might find yourself paying almost double of what you would if the car was sold privately. This might entice you to buy from someone you have never met. How can you trust that that vehicle was cared for? Are they the first owner? Are they the tenth?
- Buying a Carfax report on the car you want to buy is very important. It will answer all of those questions for you. The one thing you have to be sure of when buying a car from private seller is that the name on the title matches their name on their license. ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK THE NAME. If the person selling the vehicle is not on the title as the owner run away. These are typically people who buy and sell cars without registering them to avoid paying sales tax on them. You have no way of knowing what condition the car is really in at that point.
3. Pull the oil dipstick and engine oil cap!
- This is an absolute must! The first signs of proper engine maintenance is doing oil changes on time. Engine oil is the blood of an engine. It cools and lubricates its metal components so that friction does not occur in a manner that would damage the engine. if the dipstick is nasty dark, and you take a peek in the engine oil cap, and the components inside the engine look very dark and dirty RUN! These are bad signs that this car has not had oil changes done on time. This will eventually lead to engine failure, and leave you paying for it.
- The oil should always look goldish brown if it was recently done. Never should you see any milkshake color liquids in the oil. That is a sign of a blown head gasket, in which case you should also just leave if you find that.
4. Count how many things haven’t been repaired on the car.
- This is the easiest way to know what you can expect to replace in the future. If you are buying a used car, you want to see as many things replaced as possible. New alternators, batteries, starters, radiators, are a sign that the person invested in their car, and that you should not have to replace those items in the near future. That is the easiest way to not have to constantly repair your vehicle.
- If you see that nothing has been replaced on your used car, then you can expect to put in quite a bit of money over the years as things start to go one by one.
- Any vehicle over 100,000 miles will always need some repair now or in the near future.
- Be sure to research how expensive repairs are for that vehicle.
- European vehicles are typically the most expensive to repair. Try to stay away from used European cars. You will thank me later.
5. Check under the chassis of the vehicle.
- If their is a large amount of rust (not a small normal amount from everyday use) leave the car immediately.
- Rust is cancer for cars. Today it is only a little bit, but by next year it could eat up your chassis and leave you with an unreliable car.
- Make sure that no welding has been done to hide any unreported illegal repairs, such as quarter panel damage.
6. Scan the engine’s computer
- A car’s computer reports a lot of information on components that are not working. Be sure to scan the whole vehicle. If you do not have a full diagnostic scanner, calling a mobile mechanic to help you would be ideal. Their scanners can go beyond only engine information, and tell you transmission faults, A.C., ABS, body control modules, and more
- This is the easiest way to quickly see if there are any underlying issues that the owner is not telling you about during the Pre-purchase inspection
7. Stay away from by here pay here dealerships.
- Typically these dealerships buy cars from auctions in all sorts of conditions. These car will be sold normally with high interest rates, and have several hidden issues that you will fall victim to.
- We diagnose cars in these places very often, and a good amount of these vehicles are poorly taken care of.
- While we could go on and on about all of the several things to look out for, these are the most common issues that consumers fall victim to. We hope that with each on of your car purchases you find this page helpful. Thank you for your time, and always remember that if you do not feel comfortable checking a vehicle yourself, a “mobile mechanic near me” search on google will provide you with local mechanics who can help. Be sure to check reviews online to ensure you get a quality technician, and follow your gut feeling when speaking to the person you want to hire. A good technician will put you first, and reassure you that you are in good hands Pre-purchase inspection . Have a great day, and best of luck!
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