Trying to find a good used vehicle? Used vehicles can be a great purchase, but you need to know what you are buying. Don’t get stuck with a money-pit! Know what you are buying before putting your money down.
For about $150 or less, you can be an educated used-car buyer. Tell the seller (either private party or dealership) that you would like to have the car inspected, and call our shop for an appointment. The information will be very useful in negotiating a fair price, because you will know what repairs and/or maintenance are due soon or now. This information will be helpful in budgeting and planning for the future, so you know that you can afford the car you are considering, which includes upcoming repairs and maintenance.
We also have insight as to whether this might be a reliable car, or one prone to having problems. We don’t have a “crystal ball”, but we can give you a head’s up on common problems that we see on various makes and models.
Maintenance schedule: Each manufacturer has specific recommendations for maintenance by time (year of the vehicle and subsequent services) and mileage that will keep the vehicle running safely and reliably. We can review available records and let you know what services are due soon to better help you budget in the future.
Body Condition: Some vehicles look great from outer appearances, but get them on a lift and you may see a different side to things. Excessive rust can add expense to routine repairs, since bolts may have to be drilled or cut to replace parts. Rust can also weaken suspension parts, causing them to break earlier than normal. Hidden damage from a previous car wreck could be the cause of numerous problems, both short and long term. Some of these problems are hard to detect until the car is up on a lift.
Brake and Tire Condition: Brake pads and rotors require periodic maintenance and/or replacement to remain effective. Tire tread depth needs to be a minimum of 4/32’nds to have adequate traction, particularly during winter driving conditions. If either need to be replaced, the dollars can add up! If the tires are at the “wear bars”, they need to be replaced immediately.
Fluid condition and leaks: How do the coolant, differential, transmission, power steering, and brake fluids appear? Being in the high country, our vehicles are more susceptible to fluid contamination. Dirty and contaminated fluids do not do the job they are intended to do, which is to lubricate and/or clean the intended system. If the fluid is low, we will look for leaks in the system. Leaks can be expensive to repair, so it is helpful to know what you are getting yourself into!
Suspension Components: Shocks, struts, axles, CV boots…all can become worn and damaged due to the elements, requiring replacement. These parts are very difficult to inspect when the car is on the ground, but put the car on the lift and you will be able to evaluate the condition of these parts. We encourage our customers to actually come into the shop and visually see the condition under the vehicle.
Let us help you purchase a good used vehicle that meets your needs and budget – know what you are buying before making that used car purchase. The detailed information you receive from a Pre-Purchase Inspection at Honest Accurate Auto Service can help you knowledgeably negotiate a fair price for a good pre-owned vehicle!