GuideUsed Cars

Always Have a Mechanic Inspect a Used Car

A huge mistake most used car buyers make is to not get the vehicle inspected prior to purchase.

If you're serious about buying the vehicle, there's no reason why you shouldn't spend $100 to get it inspected by a professional mechanic. It will help you avoid a very costly mistake.

One thing is for sure: You can't trust a private party or dealer to tell you the truth about a vehicle's history and its problems.

Even if the car is still under warranty, it doesn't mean you shouldn't get it inspected. Major problems will likely need costly repairs after the warranty expires.

There are two options when you need a vehicle inspected. You can take the car to a mechanic that specializes in that brand, or you can get a mobile inspection service to come out and inspect the vehicle wherever you choose.

<em>I recommend you get it inspected by a mechanic specializing in that brand. They will have access to special equipment and know a lot more about the problems inherent in that vehicle</em>. Make sure they do a thorough inspection - this usually takes about an hour and they should put the car up on a lift during the process.

A mobile inspection service such as is more convenient, but they may overlook problems and may not be familiar with your specific model.

A dealer or private party should not object to you wanting to take the car for an inspection. If they do, I would suspect they're hiding something so you need to be very careful.

Dealers may claim to have already done a thorough inspection on the vehicle using their own service department, but never take a dealer's word for it. You need an independent mechanic to look over the vehicle - someone who won't be hesitant to reveal problems.

After an inspection, the mechanic will give you an estimate on the cost of any repairs and should also provide insight on maintenance costs that may be needed soon (such as a timing belt replacement, etc).

You can use this information to negotiate a lower price. If however, the inspection comes back clean, you can purchase the car with peace of mind. Either way, it's well worth the money.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, CarsDirect, and NADAGuides are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.
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