Person in a black shirt holding a clipboard and a red pencil in front of a car with the hood open

ALWAYS Get an Independent Inspection When Buying a Used Car; Here’s Why

How many horror stories or bad dealer reviews have you read online about someone buying a used car, only to find out a week later that it’s a lemon? Or, have something happen they thought would be covered by a warranty, but really isn’t? Therefore, they end up having to pay for the repair themselves. While many people like to immediately give the dealership a bad review and place the blame on them, that’s not always the case. Whether the dealer might have knowingly or unknowingly sold you a car that had an issue is irrelevant. You should have taken the time to thoroughly check it out prior to purchasing. I’m not just talking about the warranty coverage or contract, either. I’m talking about the actual vehicle itself.

While it’s nice to believe that some dealerships are truly on top of their used vehicle inspections, not all of them are. Even if the attempt is honest, they might unknowingly miss an issue during the inspection stage, and still put it up for sale. We’re all human, and shit happens, right? Still, that shouldn’t excuse your ignorance, which is why you always, always, get it inspected by a trusted, trained, and independent mechanic. That way, you have another set of eyes looking at it before you buy the vehicle.

Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

It all boils down to being safe now, rather than sorry later. Regardless of how new the used car you’re looking at is, it still has wear and tear. Even after a year, a used vehicle can run into all sorts of issues if it wasn’t properly cared for. It’s your job to make sure your vehicle purchase is going to be sound. Not the dealership’s. Like I said before, even an honest technician can make mistakes. Always better to have a third set of eyes on it.

A third set of trained eyes, that is. Because no matter how far you take it for a test drive, or look at it from top to bottom for things like frame damage, rust, fluid leaks, etc., unless you’re just as car savvy as that veteran mechanic you know down the street, you’re likely to overlook a “hidden” issue. For example, you could take the car for a test drive and find that it’s fine. But, issues like bad oil pressure that makes a lot of noise when the ignition is first turned-over on a cold start can easily be hidden by warming it up prior to a test-drive. The unfortunate reality is, you’d be none the wiser unless you had an independent mechanic do a thorough inspection on it.

That’s not meant to bash car dealerships, but simply provide a scenario that could be avoided.

But, What About Shopping Certified Pre-Owned?

Fact of the matter is, even CPO vehicles that are only a year old could have serious issues that are overlooked during the certification process. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 years old, one year old and certified, or brand spanking new with only 10 miles on it — always inspect it yourself, take it for a test drive, and get it checked by an independent mechanic.

A thorough used vehicle inspection by a trusted independent mechanic isn’t that expensive. They can range anywhere from $80 to $150, and spending that chump-change now can save you a world of headaches from buying a used car that ends up just being a money-suck.

Like I said before, even an honest mechanic can make mistakes or miss something. Honest dealerships also won’t have an issue letting you get the used car inspected independently. So, ask about getting a potential vehicle inspected next time you find yourself at a used car dealership.

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