Excited about buying a “New Used Car”? Don’t get emotionally attached or commit to a purchase without first having a third party pre-inspection done. Regardless of the stunning exterior beauty, the fantastically low mileage or the amazing deal you may be buying a “little car of horrors”. Remember most “New-to-you” vehicles are typically sold “As Is”, meaning you now own all that vehicle’s carefully hidden problems.
No person or business is exempt from the shady business of “Used Car Sales”. While small used car lots are the worst of the bunch don’t let dealer “pre-certified cars”, CarMax or even, the nice person down the street, fool you into a costly mistake.
Ideally, we (Osborn’s Automotive) are doing the pre-purchase inspection for you, but in a pinch locate a trained, qualified technician to do the inspection. Most AAA Approved Repair Facilities offer pre-purchase inspections. If you are looking at a vehicle out of the area, give us a call and we will recommend a shop close to your location.
Vehicle purchases, whether new or used, are investments. Make sure your investment is sound.
Having thrown around a ton of accusations I feel the need to share some of the horrors we’ve seen. Occasionally we will inspect a vehicle that has the tell-tale signs of insurance fraud, a customer had recently purchased a newer used Toyota Camry that he got a spectacular deal on. He brought it in a few weeks after the purchase complaining that the rear lights weren’t working. Upon removing the trunk carpeting we found that the trunk was just a shell of its former self. There were no panels, no area for a spare tire, no brackets or wiring looms for the lighting, to be honest we were shocked and stumped. Long story short this vehicle was involved in a pretty significant rear-end accident. The previous owner of the vehicle took it to a body shop, the body shop quoted the insurance company, the insurance company sent the check, then the body shop made the vehicle look “right” again and the vehicle owner quickly sold the vehicle after splitting the insurance company check with the body shop. The new owner of the vehicle was left holding the bag.
It is not uncommon for used car sellers to clean and degrease engine compartments and undercarriages to mask leaks. One seller went to the extent of purchasing new vanity covers and detailing the engine compartment to the point where the engine almost looked brand new. A few weeks after the vehicle was purchased the alternator went out. During the inspection we found that the alternator was oil saturated (the alternator is one of many parts in your vehicle that does not need oil) and upon a more detailed inspection we found that the new plastic vanity covers were disguising a very bent radiator support. Luckily, the purchaser was able to re-coup his loses by suing under the Lemon Law.
More recently, we performed a road trip inspection on a newly purchased “Pre-Certified” vehicle that didn’t have any major problems but we did find dirty fluids, dirty filters and a torn axle boot. Which begs the question “what exactly does pre-certified mean?”
CarMax is also a fan of “Pre-Certifying” vehicles and we have inspected a lot of CarMax vehicle purchases. The good news is that in most of our dealings with CarMax they have honored the inspection and taken care of their lapses.