Once you’ve looked over your used vehicle, inspected it yourself, test driven it, and negotiated a
price, you may think you are done and the only thing you have left to do is sign next to the little
post it sticky and drive away with your practical new to you car.
Before you drive away, or sign anything, make sure that your car purchase is conditional on the
car passing a vehicle inspection by an independent mechanic. If you can’t take the vehicle to
the mechanic, automobile associations often have mechanics who will travel to the car and
inspect it at the dealership or the private seller’s home. This inspection can cost between $75 to
$100, so this should be one of your last steps in purchasing a car – you don’t want to spend
$100 on every car you look at.
An independent mechanic can make certain that the car is actually in good shape. He or she
might find small concerns with the car – brake pads needing to be replaced soon, or a worn belt.
This may allow you to go back and renegotiate the price of the car, perhaps deducting some of
the repair costs, or having the dealer do the repairs. If the dealer does the repairs, you may wish
to get another vehicle inspection after he or she is done.
So in your deal with a dealer, or while talking to a private seller, make sure it is known and
written down that the deal is dependent upon a vehicle inspection.
Have a clause added to the deal “this deal is contingent upon an inspection by mechanic Bob
and my accepting of that vehicle inspection”. If the dealer will not accept this clause, simply do
not sign the deal until the vehicle inspection has been done.
If the dealer or seller refuses a vehicle inspection by an independent mechanic, walk away.
Better yet, run away.
Also be willing to walk away from the car if the results of the vehicle inspection are not good.
You do not want to spend the next few years with a car that breaks down on the way to work.