The cost of a used car inspection vs. the expense of buying the wrong car
Most of us remember the last vehicle we purchased. If it happened to be a used car, you may have had regrets or learned a lesson or two in the process. One lesson might be about the importance of getting a used car inspection from a professional auto repair shop before signing on the dotted line. This stems from the fact that many used vehicles are sitting on a sales lot because the previous owner decided the vehicle’s mechanical or electronic problems were not worth fixing.
A 25 to 50 point used car inspection by a professional auto repair shop, like Powertune Auto Repair in Nampa, can go a long way to helping you avoid some costly repair regrets down the road. While an inspection doesn’t guarantee that every inconspicuous problem within the vehicle will be found, it can help you avoid the need for major engine, transmission, or electronic repair that might run into the $1000s or more. Spending on an inspection fee up front can make a big difference in your bottom line after you sign. A pre-purchase inspection allows us to look your vehicle over from top to bottom. Fluids that are excessively dirty or contaminated by water can turn that sharp-looking Chevrolet truck or Honda SUV into a pocket book nightmare before you know it.
5 pitiful reasons to not get a used car inspection
It could be the persuasive car salesperson or our emotional connection with the idea of owning the vehicle that short-circuits our common sense and objectivity as we get drawn into a high-priced car purchase. Below are some of the most common excuses for skipping an inspection, a mistake that can have serious consequences:
- The salesperson said they’ll fix anything it needs
- The additional expense of the inspection is more than I want to pay
- I’m afraid the car might sell before I get it inspected
- I really want the car and I’ll deal with any additional repairs later
- I don’t have a trusted repair shop
If you don’t have a trusted shop in Nampa, then now is a perfect time to let us at Powertune earn your automotive repair and service business. We would love to save you money by helping you make a good used car purchase. Because we work on all makes of domestic vehicles from Ford, Chrysler, GMC, and Buick, to imports like Toyota, Hyundai, or Nissan, means we know which systems commonly fail on theses vehicles. That knowledge can help us help you to avoid a potentially bad purchase.
Do your pre-purchase inspection first
If you found a vehicle on a sales lot, they know a cautious buyer will want to thoroughly look over and drive the vehicle to determine if there are any obvious problems. When you get the car away from the lot, find a location with good lighting and start checking it over from the top down to the tires. Even without the technical knowledge to check under the hood, almost everyone can do the following to identify whether a vehicle is worth the cost of a used car pre-purchase inspection at a trustworthy repair shop. Your inspection should include
- Visible signs of water stains that could come from being in a flood
- Obvious cosmetic damage to interior switches, nobs, or handles
- Conspicuous headliner or upholstery tears, missing or damaged trim
- Cracks or pits in glass windows or mirrors
- Variations in paint color/tint indicating body repair
- Inside trunk and around spare tire area for water stains
- Presence of spare tire; size relative to other tires; inflation to proper pressure
Test drive checks:
- Drive the vehicle in town and on the highway; listen for vibrations or sounds at various speeds
- Test the cruise control system during the drive
- Verify all accessories like wipers, air conditioning, keyless entry and key fobs, radio and CD player are working
- Test the defroster to insure excessive moisture doesn’t form on windows
During and after the drive, there should be no odors like hot rubber, fuel, burnt oil or mildew. If the test drive and inspection looks okay, you’re ready to schedule a pre-purchase used car inspection.
Trusted Pre-Owned Car Inspections in Nampa
At Powertune Auto Repair in Nampa Idaho our goal is to save you money by catching small problems before they grow into major repairs. Used car inspections are no different. We know many flood vehicles from Texas, are being cleaned by detail shops, and sent to other states for resale. These vehicles can have electrical problems from corroded electrical connectors that will keep popping up for the remainder of that vehicle’s life. Electronic modules can also have ongoing intermittent failures, or can survive for a time before dying.
Any engine, transmission, or differential that has been under water is likely to have long term problems with bearings, corrosion of internal parts, or band lining material failure due to water contamination.
Our professional inspections evaluate any pre-owned car, truck, van, or SUV for conditions that indicate flood damage or any condition that could lead to major auto repair expense in the near future. We thoroughly evaluate these systems and inspect hard-to-see areas for signs of leaks, water damage, and previous repair.
Under car inspection areas:
- Signs of fluid leaks anywhere on the vehicle
- Appearance of fluids for excess dirt or contamination
- Suspension and steering for leaks and operation
- Body damage or repairs from a previous accident
- Cooling system and radiator for leakage
- Brake operation and presence of codes
Inspection and operation checks:
- Verify proper heating and air conditioning system operation
- Door panels or sound deadening panels free from water damage
- Road test for proper engine and transmission operation
- Test to verify accessories functioning as designed
- Computers and control modules scanned for current codes or code history
Don’t get stuck financially under water with a flood-damaged vehicle
As we stated earlier, flood-damaged vehicles are nothing but a money pit. You have to pay for the vehicle, and then you continue to pay for ongoing failures due to a variety of problems. No flood-damaged car, no matter how cheap, is worth the investment and ongoing work to keep it running.
AAA has cautioned car shoppers about purchasing vehicles from Texas because of hurricane Harvey. Idaho law mandates refurbished flood-damaged vehicles have salvage titles and these titles cover more than just flooded vehicles. In Idaho, anytime a vehicle is totaled and repaired, a salvage title must be issued before it can be sold and put back on the road.
The CarFax website is a great tool for researching flood-salvaged or any salvage titled vehicle. Their site also has information on thousands of vehicles with mechanical repairs performed at auto repair shops, or bodywork from an accident that didn’t result in the vehicle being totaled. There are sound reasons to avoid purchasing a vehicle that has been in an accident and repaired. When you start a free account on the CarFax site you can submit a vehicle’s identification numbers, or VIN, to access all the information they have about that vehicle.
Whether you’re shopping for a Subaru, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, domestic truck, or SUV, let our expert mechanics in Nampa perform a used car inspection before you invest in the wrong vehicle.
For confidence in used car inspections in Nampa Idaho, visit Powertune Auto Repair. Stop by our convenient location near downtown. We’re here to help you get that used car inspected before you buy.