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Old 09-29-2011, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 8,012,687 times
Reputation: 1455

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It's brought up alot, but what do they really do on this?
Check fluids, listen for noises visual check for leaks, battery cables...

I mean they really don't go in depth, they probably don't even do a compression or leakdown check.

Also if something does go wrong, there is no recourse, other then a mechanics word. He might even be thinking you will bring the problem car to you.

Even worse on a "junker" will have a list of problems, even though it still drives.

Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:03 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,466 posts, read 75,549,253 times
Reputation: 40179
The recommendation is for people who aren't gear heads.
And f'rinstance, wouldn't recognize a ragged out POS formerly owned by a redlight racer...
among other things.

And the mechanic they take the car to?
That should be someone they (or their Dad) already know and trust.

hth



...not that someone on an auto forum with a username like MustangEater82...
would ever be anything like a redlight racer with a ragged out car
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:09 PM
 
1,053 posts, read 2,237,882 times
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I guess that would be for people like me who have no clue what to look for when buying a used car. I guess they just run basic tests and would alert you of any red flags they might encounter and yes I agree it has to be a mechanic you know and trust not just any random guy.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
16,013 posts, read 52,082,520 times
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Depends I guess on the mechanic, and what you ask them to inspect. If you want a compression test I guess you can get one done, although, anymore most cars that don't have mega-miles have good or at least good enough compression that it's not the big deal it was back in the 60's to test compression.

If you go to a reputable shop, they can inspect the car and tell you the state of wear on stuff like brake pads, suspension parts, if anything is leaking, etc.

Typically the shop, either as a promotional "freebie" if you are a regular customer, or for about an hour's worth of labor at most, will inspect the car and write up what they found. Typically they don't comment, at least officially, on if you should buy the car or not, and if so, what the price ought to be. At the end of the day the buyer is responsible for evaluating the car and making a "best and final" offer. Caveat Emptor, same as it was during the Roman Empire.

There are appraisers out there as well, who inspect cars and try to establish what they are worth, this is more in the collector car realm, typically they don't *fix* anything, just inspect, look at paperwork and usually test drive the car.

A guy who is reasonably handy can do his own inspection, that's what I do. I like to look and feel around myself, drive the car and see how it drives, most older used cars have needs, that's not unusual, I just try to balance the needs the car has against the price asked.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 8,012,687 times
Reputation: 1455
Or I I could be an FAA certified aircraft mechanic and car enthusiust, that kept a silly screename he made in 1998 on AIM. That is very meticulous and has logged every fuel fill up, maintenance performed, down to rotating my tires every other oil change, to keeping receipts in a binder, similar and better then aircraft records. That he keeps near his factory year and model shop manuals that he uses to perform his work in his car.

anyways a neglected car I feel is worse then a ragged on car. And a mechanic checking it out, really isn't a great inspection to reveal a lot. Especially on a cheap car, its not worth $100 or so dollars.

Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 81,741,487 times
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Personally, I wouldn't bother. You can look online for a checklist of obvious things to inspect yourself. A mechanic can check out a few more things, but what is really likely to be a problem in any car in the future is seldom something a mechanic would check for.

I might take a car to a mechanic that I have a past relationship with, and ask him to drive the car around the block, but I wouldn't pay him to do anymore than that. Engine and transmission last forever. When your car starts costing you money is when things crap out like AC, suspension, power accessories. etc. that your mechanic won't find.

Anybody from a body or paint shop can walk out in the parking lot and tell you in 10 seconds if your car has been repainted or in collision repair, and the first one who does it will show you how you can tell yourself, so that's a professional consultation you only need to do once.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-29-2011 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 8,012,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Personally, I wouldn't bother. You can look online for a checklist of obvious things to inspect yourself. A mechanic can check out a few more things, but what is really likely to be a problem in any car in the future is seldom something a mechanic would check for.

I might take a car to a mechanic that I have a past relationship with, and ask him to drive the car around the block, but I wouldn't pay him to do anymore than that. Engine and transmission last forever. When your car starts costing you money is when things crap out like AC, suspension, power accessories. etc. that your mechanic won't find.
Exactly....



Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,918 posts, read 29,342,259 times
Reputation: 7117
Some mechanics are specialists with particular vehicles, and since they are removed from the emotion of a purchase can be valuable to those who are not experts at repairing their own vehicles. They can tell more in a single test drive and inspection than someone who is not as well versed with the vehicle. I know a couple of mechanics like this, and they do give recommendations as to whether or not they would purchase the car for someone in their own family.

I have done this with cars that I am donating, since I do not want to be responsible for a problem that could have been fixed while we owned the car. And, no, I don't mean donating to a charity that auctions/sells the car, but one that gives the vehicle to a low-income family that needs reliable transportation. On a Volvo we donated, there was an issue, that the mechanic discovered through is thorough inspection, and he didn't even charge me for the inspection when he found out that the car was being donated. All I paid for was the part, which was very nice of him, since I would have paid his usual fee to repair the wagon.

I have known more than one person who got sucked into the emotion of a vehicle purchase and didn't know what to look for, or were so carried away with the sales pitch of the owner/dealer that I always recommend having a mechanic inspect a used vehicle. $100-$200 is less expensive than a mistake that costs a couple of thousand to get fixed.
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:36 AM
 
Location: NYPD"s 30th Precinct
2,558 posts, read 5,120,755 times
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I bought my car a few years ago from a little mom and pop used car lot. I took it around the block to a dealership and them check it out for $98. They did a pretty good inspection and the only thing they came up with was that the "hi" indicator light for the driver's side heated seat didn't work.

Then when I was a few hundred miles away from the powertrain warranty expiring, I took it to a guy who gave all the components a once over $35. I figured if something was about to go, I'd rather know now versus a month from now right after the warranty was expired.
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 81,741,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post

I have done this with cars that I am donating, since I do not want to be responsible for a problem that could have been fixed while we owned the car. And, no, I don't mean donating to a charity that auctions/sells the car, but one that gives the vehicle to a low-income family that needs reliable .

I have also donated cars on that basis. But I know exactly what is wrong with a car that I've driven daily for several years, and I know exactly what repairs or maintenance will be necessary that I am unwilling to pay for, which is why I'm abandoning the car. I've already had it in the shop, and my mechanic has told me what needs work.

So I simply make an honest detailed list of everything that I know about the car, and what doesn't work.
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