Buying a used car? Get it checked first

Mechanics at South Street Auto Care say the inspection takes about 50 minutes. PHOTO/ALYSSA STEELE



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OU News Bureau

Buying a used car can be a tedious task.

Having a used car inspected can get drivers a good deal — or warn them off a bad one.

According to Edmunds.com, many people skip this step because they do not know that an inspection is available or they don’t want to pay the extra money.

A test drive cannot always point out the problems under the hood — but a mechanic can.

Getting an inspection on a pre-owned vehicle costs the buyer about $50, but can save thousands of dollars if it is a bad vehicle. The buyer should take it to a trusted mechanic.

Inspections should include tires and the underbody. PHOTO/ALYSSA STEELE

The mechanic will perform an inspection of the whole car and will check if there are major problems or warning signs of future problems.

“We check fluid levels, see if there are any leaks, make sure all lights work, check lights on the dash if they are on, look for certain things you pick up in the industry if the car has been in an accident, if it is painted a certain way or if there is writing on parts which means they are replacements,” John Boubakian an employee at South Street Auto Care in Rochester.

One red flag is if the car has body damage, according to Boubakian. Others are: refusal of a test drive, mismatched car history and refusal to have a mechanic look at it.

Some mechanics will make it less of a hassle for the buyer by performing the inspection right at the house or business where the vehicle is for sale.

Even if the buyer is not a mechanically inclined, there are certain things that are obvious.

Victor Calugar

“If the dash is lit up like a Christmas tree, then in most cases you want to stay away from the vehicle,” said Victor Calugar of Farmington Hills, a car enthusiast.  

Another important step in buying a used car is looking at the Carfax report that will tell what work has been done on a vehicle. But it might not tell the buyer everything.

“Carfax is relatively accurate. They generally work with dealership and or collision shops,” said Kirk Richardson, owner of South Street Auto Care. He cautioned that if the owner took the car to an independent shop, it wouldn’t show up on Carfax.

Making sure the buyer knows exactly what the car is and how it runs can help point out if it is a good car or not.

“Ask the owners lots of questions,” Calugar said. “If they took it to a mechanic for the work then they should have a log. Not having records of this doesn’t always mean the car was not taken care of, but would you really trust buying a car from a person who is disorganized and does not know anything about preventative maintenance?”

Mechanics can not only save the buyer from buying a bad car, they can also tell if the consumer is getting the car for a good price.






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Posted by on Dec 6 2017. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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