We are in the market for a new (used) car. I've often heard that you should get a trusted mechanic to check out a car before you buy it. After the fiasco that was our last used car, I would really like to do that with our next car. My question is... how do you go about that? I have a trusted mechanic, but it seems weird to say to a seller, "Hey, can I have your car for several hours/days (not sure how long it takes?), so I can get it checked out? We just met, but I promise I'm not stealing your car!" Has anyone done this? Ideas on how to approach it? We are currently a one-car family, so we can't let them have our car while the other car is getting checked out, unless it's only for a few hours. Also, we live in a very big city (Houston), so there's no guarantee the car we're interested in will be anywhere near our mechanic.
- topicFinancestagged by monkeyscience, 5/31/13
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Last edited: 2/14/14
Getting a used car checked out - how do you do it?
Could you, the seller, and the mechanic all meet at a neutral location, like the mechanic's garage? Then the seller would be leaving the car with the mechanic (who presumably has a business license, insurance, etc.), and not with the prospective buyer they "just met".
The seller would need some other method of transportation home, and back to the garage again, but if they're selling this car, I'm assuming they have something else lined up already! Worst case scenario, I guess they could get a ride with a friend, depending on how motivated they are to get the car sold.
You're buying the car from a private individual, right, not a dealership? We had our used car checked by a mechanic before we bought it, but we were working with a dealership where this happens all the time.
I think trying to just have the seller drop the car at the mechanic would be best. I guess I'm just concerned because we could be looking at a car in the Houston metro area that is still 30-50 miles from our mechanic. Pretty far to ask someone to go out of their way, especially with a friend or family member in tow with a second vehicle.
We don't have a specific vehicle lined up to purchase yet, but we probably are looking to buy from a private individual just because it's cheaper. Also, at our price point (under $10,000), there isn't a lot for us at non-sketchy dealerships. I do think it would be easier to arrange an inspection with a dealer-owned car, though.
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