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Get mechanic to check out used car? #5113398 05/23/19 11:24 AM
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AuthorEditor Offline OP
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I am always reading articles on used car buying advice, and they inevitably write something like, "Always have the car inspected by an independent mechanic." I have never had that done and I don't know how that would be possible, based on my many used car transactions. Where I live there is no such thing as just dropping into a garage and having a mechanic check out a car. For any type of work you make an appointment and it is often several days if not a week off in the future. Nobody selling a used car is going to hold the vehicle for you until you get the inspection. Second, you often have to move fast just to catch the good used cars--they don't last long. I usually buy my cars from individuals who often are still using the vehicle. They wouldn't let me take the car to a garage and leave it for a few days, or even a few hours. I have often found these cars just by the side of the road somewhere, which could be many miles from the fabled "independent garage." Has anybody made this happen and how did you do it?

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113402 05/23/19 11:32 AM
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MoneyJohn Offline
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I always wondered this too but last time when I was considering a used car, I found some mobile mechanics that show up as per the appointments.

A quick google search gives

https://lemonsquad.com/
https://motovise.com/
http://www.lemonprotector.com/

I have not used any of these because I went for a new car instead of used one.

But I am curious as well.

I would like to add more question,
most dealerships do not allow these mobile mechanics, so if its the dealership you are getting a used car from (non-certified, of course), how do you perform such inspections?

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113404 05/23/19 11:37 AM
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Lolvoguy Online Shocked
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Yes, I've made it happen with both vehicles in my sig. as well as a few others in my past.
Luckily the shops were able to find issues before I put my money down. This saved me many future headaches.

When you make an "appointment" for an inspection, that usually implies the car will be worked on at that time. Not sitting idly by while the shop works on others vehicles.
This is why you pay them....for their time. The more you pay, the more prompt and detailed work you'll receive (most of the time).

If you know something is very underpriced, then usually the buyer will take a risk and buy it on the spot (without further inspection).
I prefer to pay a little more and not risk purchasing a future basket case (I have enough of them in my life already-mostly people).
This usually means I have the time to arrange a pre-purchase inspection where the seller can take it to a shop I've chosen.



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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113409 05/23/19 11:46 AM
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This usually means I have the time to arrange a pre-purchase inspection where the seller can take it to a shop I've chosen.

So, apparently you can get into the shop fairly quickly where you live? As I stated, around here the routine is to schedule an appointment for next week then plan on being without the vehicle for a day or two while they get around to doing whatever they do.

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113412 05/23/19 11:50 AM
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I've gone with family and friends to buy used vehicles and before we go I usually research common problems. That way I go in knowing what to look for in addition to the basics like body damage/body lines lining up, oil leaks, brakes, etc. If it is at someone's house I usually bring ramps to look underneath. Used car dealers have allowed me to put cars on their lift to look at it. I usually just tell them I'm checking for rust.


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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113440 05/23/19 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AuthorEditor
Quote
This usually means I have the time to arrange a pre-purchase inspection where the seller can take it to a shop I've chosen.

So, apparently you can get into the shop fairly quickly where you live? As I stated, around here the routine is to schedule an appointment for next week then plan on being without the vehicle for a day or two while they get around to doing whatever they do.


Sometimes. Depends on the shop and their wait list.
To prevent the seller from selling the car from under you, a deposit will help secure the vehicle (personal cheque usually works).
Before a deposit has been given, an agreed price is usually agreed upon. The remainder of the agreed price is given at delivery.

At that point, the inspection is merely to ensure everything is as it seems/has been described.


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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113441 05/23/19 12:27 PM
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I have a good relationship with a small shop owner. I give him some heads up and and was able to squeeze the check (1hr) in.

A lot easier to see a vehicle up on lift.

Last edited by madRiver; 05/23/19 12:28 PM.
Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113444 05/23/19 12:30 PM
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Fitz98 Offline
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Can't help with the long wait time, but one time I was looking at a vehicle that was quite cheap, so I gave a deposit and drew up a conditional deposit contract pending an inspection and a maximum repair value and a date by which the inspection would take place.
Basically if the car needed more than a predetermined amount in repair, my deposit would be refunded. I used KBB as a maximum purchase amount reference after repairs.
This secured the vehicle until I could get an inspection and good thing I did. It needed a lot of repair.

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113449 05/23/19 12:35 PM
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When I bought my Mercedes, it was common on the forums to take the car to an MB dealer and have them do the pre-purchase inspection. They usually just charge about an hour for labor. While there, you can also get the VMI which is the vehicle master inquiry which shows all work done at the dealership.

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113462 05/23/19 12:46 PM
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I've sold a couple vehicles that the folks purchasing wanted a mechanic to check them over. One couldn't get anything that day and bought the vehicle anyway. The other one couldn't get one that day but could the next. I sold this car later the same day and angered the dude that made the mechanics appointment for the following day. I told him that cash talks and BS walks.


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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113468 05/23/19 12:54 PM
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I've sold a few cars where the person wanted to take the car to a local mechanic. I had them make the appointment with their mechanic that was convenient for me, and pay him in advance. Then I called to confirm with the mechanic, and I took the car him. Under no circumstances were they taking the car alone. I recall one person being turned off. I wished him well and the next person bought the car. I never had a problem selling a car, so I don't stress over it, there's always a buyer. As far as me buying a used car, I check them myself.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113480 05/23/19 01:08 PM
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I usually trade in. The only used ones I've sold the buyers kick the tires and take out their wallet -- but at a grand and down, not much is to be expected. Not sure if I'd put up with "can I take it to a mechanic", usually anything with that kind of value I'd just trade in.

I check my own cars. I usually miss something. One had a massive rear main seal leak (oops). The other had a cracked windshield. Always miss something...


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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113485 05/23/19 01:10 PM
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I never had a problem selling a car, so I don't stress over it, there's always a buyer. As far as me buying a used car, I check them myself.

I agree with this. I keep reading this advice to have a mechanic check out your potential purchase and it just doesn't seem realistic. Maybe it would work with higher-dollar used cars that don't have as much of a market. But I find the cars I am looking at are there one day and gone tomorrow.

Last edited by AuthorEditor; 05/23/19 01:12 PM.
Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113505 05/23/19 01:27 PM
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Pep boys offers this service.


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Re: Get mechanic to check out used car? [Re: AuthorEditor] #5113511 05/23/19 01:32 PM
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Normally I only recommend a PPI if you're looking at something unique or expensive with potential hidden problems.

Buying an exotic or near-exotic? Get a PPI.

Buying a used Corolla? Test drive it and have a good look over.

Generally speaking, of course.


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