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walleye vision

Buying a vehicle from a private party

8 posts in this topic

When buying a car/truck from someone how is an independant inspection handled. Who do you take the vehicle to (making sure it is thoroughly inspected), and how much time and money does this typically entail. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

WV

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Good question. As far as I know you take it to a "trusted mechanic". grin.gif

Now you could have someone go over the car with a fine tooth comb but thats going to cost you.

When every I buy a used vehicle I go over it myself.

You listen, look, and feel for anything that isn't right.

Drive the car, drive it hard. Accelerate fast, break fast, turn fast. What you wan to do is push it to the point that anything out of the norm will show up. If something didn't seem right and didn't sour the deal then point that out to a mechanic to look at.

Do a visual, crawl under the look for any fluid leaks around the engine, tranny and rear end. Open the hood and look for anything out of the norm. Burnt of wiring thats been messed with. Look at the wear on the front tires to see if its even.

You can take the vin numbers and check them on line.

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A lot of auto repair businesses will do a pre-buy inspection for a flat fee but you may have to make an appointment. I have used Smith Neilson in Apple Valley. They charge $75 and do a detailed inspection of the major components and a long list of other items. I trust their opinion. At $75 a pop you have to be pretty certain you are going to buy the car unless something shows up in the inpsection that changes your mind unless of course the seller agrees to have the item repaired first.

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Great advice ST....

Quote:

You can take the vin numbers and check them on line.


Carfax is a good investment. When I purchased my Tahoe last year I used Car Soup, and would look up the truck before even calling about it.

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Come'on Airjer I thought the "trusted mechanic" with a grin would get your attention.

I'm missing a lot of things but will add a couple.

I'm sure you guys can think of more.

A deal breaker is, chocolate moose on the oil fill cap or dip stick. Burnt tranny fluid, not good either.

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Speaking of Trusted Mechanic!! grin.gif

A used vehicle inspection is always a good idea! For myself it’s a challenge to find as many things wrong as I possibly can. This ensures that I limit the chance of the customer coming back in a couple weeks after buying the car and saying why didn't you see or find this.

Make sure the tech/mechanic looking at it takes it on a good test drive. I couldn't tell you how many older (pre 95) Chryslers puked trannies on the test drive. These situations always get a little interesting. The customer is relieved, the owner is PO'd, and our service writers disappear faster than fudge brownies at a weight watchers picnic!

Keep in mind that the inspection is "visual". The guy doing it has no idea what the history is on the vehicle. Internal engine/trans damage may not be detectible at the time of the inspection. Things like an overheated engine, an engine that was run out of oil, or a trans that was abused getting unstuck will most likely not be detectible.

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You can pull the dipstick and check for 90 weight oil (shot rings, etc), get the engine good and hot and smell for coolant, (blown gaskets, leaks) inspect the oil for foaming (headgasket) or gas smell (excessive cranking, etc), smell for a "rotten egg" smell (clogged CAT) rev the engine to 3,000 rpm, and let off the gas quickly 3 times in a row (stalls or stumbles if timing is off) check the tranny fluid color and smell, power steering fluid, try the 4 wheel drive system, hit bumps, swerve quickly (ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms/bushings), and ALWAYS restart the engine when its hot.

If something is wrong, the seller will get pretty nervous and most likely talk about something stupid to distract you.

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Of course your best bet would be to take it to a trusted mechanic. I think this is a good idea whether it's a private party or a dealer.

If that isn't an option, there is a ton of information on the web about how to perform a visual inspection on a used vehicle.

Believe me, I am no wrench, but when I bought a used truck recently, I took the checklist I printed out from an internet site, drove the truck I was interested in to a parking lot, and I went over that thing point by point. After I had checked everything out, only then did I give it a good test drive. I must have been gone about an hour or so. When I got back to the dealership, the salesman mentioned something about how I must have driven quite a ways, and I told him I was just giving the vehicle the inspection I thought it was due.

I bought the truck, and have been very pleased with it to this day.

I'm positive that there are several things that a good mechanic would check/notice that the average joe wouldn't, but when it just isn't logistically possible, then do a little research and give it a shot. I think you will be surprised at what you can do, I know I was.

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