• As a car buyer, you owe it to yourself to know exactly what you are buying. A previously owned vehicle is a vehicle someone else didn't want anymore, and you deserve to know why. However, gone are the days when you would find an oil leak under a car and get the salesman to drop the price 500 bucks so you can fix it. Used car dealers only perform "cosmetic" upgrades nowadays, and could care less what mechanics find in their inspections. Mechanics charge anywhere from 100 bucks and up for a used car inspection, and always find something wrong because it is, after all, a used car. Plus, they learn early on in their careers that if they DON'T find something wrong, you the consumer won't think they did a thorough inspection. All that's left is for you to decide if the flaws are something you can live with. But suppose, for the sake of excercise, that your mechanic tells you that the car is perfect. It's as good as a new car; no flaws...a real honey. Now...are YOU gonna' go back and tell THAT to the salesman, and expect him NOT to push for top dollar?
  • That is a definite yes. It's worth the money and time to have a mechanic inspect a used car prior to purchase. There are some excellent answers already here, so I will not rehash what has been said. I just wanted to add that there are other things to consider along with a mechanic's estimation of whether or not the vehicle is sound. We've all seen the guy on the lot going around kicking tires. This is relatively useless. What is useful is to do a thorough visual inspection of the car itself. For example: a car I considered purchasing was inspected by my mechanic, I had the CarFax report in hand too. Neither source spotted what I did: the car had most likely been wrecked. There was a very slight gap on one side of the vehicle that did not exist on the other (I mean it was EXTREMELY slight). I popped the hood to investigate further and could see that when the car had been washed/prepped soap/wax had dried on the inside near where the gap existed. And the hood ever so slightly brushed against the windshield wiper on that side when it was raised. The tires didn't match. 2 were what came factory on the car and 2 were newer (I got the info. on factory tires from It was doubtful based on the car's mileage that the 2 that were replaced had worn. The mechanic checked the tires for wear, but did not consider that they did not match or how unlikely it was that they were replaced due to being worn. Nor was he concerned about the cosmetics. CarFax may not be able to account for accidents/claims that go unreported. It also does not always pick up TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) which are important (most people only pay attention to recalls-big mistake). A general mechanic may not know either. Another EXCELLENT source of info. Consumer can make and view current complaints about a vehicle (U.S. only). Consumer experience is invaluable and this site does a good job capturing exactly that. It also has a link for TSBs. Consumer Reports is helpful too. **UPDATED TSB INFO** A very thorough site for recalls and TSBs So, just taking the car to a mechanic might not be a 100% solution to averting a lemon. It is, however, highly recommended.
  • The answer is Yes, but there are few things to consider. Before you actually bring the car to the mechanic you can actually inspect it yourself. It may sound difficult, but after you will go through all the information that is available in the internet, you will feel yourself much more prepared. Check this website fore example: - they offer used car checklist with illustrations what to look for. So you can check few cars and bring to the mechanic the one you like most. Another advice is to bring the car for an inspection to the dealer rather than any other garage. Ask to speak directly to the mechanic. Besides an inspection he may also explain you how good is this model in general and give you rough idea what to expect. Also ask to explain and show everything they find wrong with the car, so you will know what to look for in case this car will turn out to be bad.
  • Try the links in Also read great articles about cars at
  • Always a good idea but usually not free.
  • Yes or bring him/her along with you.

Copyright 2023, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy