No piece of car buying advice is more often ignored than this: Have a mechanic inspect a used car before you buy it. Why do buyers plunk down thousands of dollars on a car with little more than an around-the-block test-drive and a glance under the hood? Three reasons deter car buyers from taking this vital step:
- Most consumers don't know that good used car inspections are readily available.
- Many car buyers don't want to pay the extra money for an inspection.
- Some people anticipate a hassle prying the car away from a dealer or private party.
With a little planning, the inspection process can be as fast (and as revealing) as a hidden-camera exposé. If the inspection report is clean, you can buy with confidence. If it unearths ugly problems, you can back away or negotiate a lower price in line with the cost of repairs.
Most sellers will let you take the car for an inspection or agree to have a mobile inspection performed at their home. If the seller hesitates, you might want to consider the words of BuffaloScoop.com's automotive editor and former America's Car Show host Tom Torbjornsen: "You have to wonder what they're hiding."