Used Car Buyer’s Inspection Tips


If you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle, our shop can do a pre-purchase inspection for you.

Used Vehicle Buying ChecklistBuying a new or used vehicle can be an intimidating task when approaching a commissioned salesperson or an unknown private seller.  The vehicle you’re interested in buying was no longer wanted by its previous owner and one begs to question:  “Why?”  Well, what many consumers forget about is using a local auto repair shop to obtain a used vehicle inspection before committing to a purchase.

Once you look at the vehicle, bring it into our auto repair shop and we’ll place the vehicle on our lift, check the undercarriage, under the hood, and do a thorough inspection to point out potential for repairs including brakes, engine and transmission, timing belts, electrical and more.

As both men and women use the Internet to empower themselves prior to their purchase, I’d like to share 7 tips before you take your vehicle to a mechanic for a used vehicle inspection:

  1. Take a magnet.
    A magnet will adhere to a metal body panel.  If the magnet simply falls off, there may be body damage that was concealed with body filler then painted to match.
  2. Take a flashlight.
    Even in the middle of the day, inspecting a vehicle can be difficult.  A flashlight will light-up hard-to-see corners and could help in see fluid leaks, broken or missing parts, and shows the seller you’re being extremely thorough – something that will come in handy during negotiations.
  3. Take a small notebook.
    Write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which can be located on the dashboard, in the lower driver’s-side corner of the windshield.  You can then go home and run your own CARFAX® vehicle history report.  Have a smartphone?  Look at our next tip.
  4. Download the CARFAX® app. 
    You can scan the bar code found on the driver’s door and get a report on-the-spot.  (Subscrition required.)
  5. Look at the ground directly below the vehicle.
    Take note if there are any oil or fluid marks on the concrete, asphalt or stone.  Fluid leaks will be a sign of a problem.
  6. Take a CD.
    If the vehicle you’re looking at has a CD player, try playing your own CD to ensure proper operation.
  7. Check for ‘slippery spots’.
    Run your hand all over the vehicle and note any areas that feel freshly-waxed or very smooth.  This could also be a sign of concealed body damage and could be unnoticed to the naked eye.

I want to also note this:  have you ever heard of auto remarketing?

auto remarketing

It’s a service that’s been around for many years, but designed to repair vehicles without any insurance claim.  Why is this important?  Repairing vehicle damage – without going through an insurance claim – will never appear on any CARFAX® vehicle history report.  These repairs are usually done by very reputable, talented people because they can be done in the convenience of a parking lot, driveway, or small shop.  Many of these remarketing services are mobile – operating out of a trailer or van.

Empower yourself into being a vigilant used vehicle buyer and bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop for a full used vehicle inspection.  The service is minimal and takes less than one hour to complete.