Astoria Mechanic | Collision Repair | Tolimas Auto Center

Pre Purchase Inspection

The One Thing You Should Always Do Before Buying a Used Car…

There are plenty of cheap used cars that can be bought for under $5,000. You can get good, cheap, and reliable used cars that are less than 10 years old in that price range. The best thing you can do before you hand over your hard earned money is get a pre-purchase inspection. Often we get customers that bring in a car they just bought because something is wrong or it has a check engine light. After doing a full diagnosis of the car we have to break bad news to them. They bought a car that needs a lot of work or some expensive repair.

Used car dealers and private car sellers can be very devious and hide big problems with the cars they are selling. Unless you get a pre purchase inspection you can be buying a car that needs thousands of dollars of repair work. There are many tricks that car sellers use to hide problems that a car might have. The most common is resetting the check engine light. They reset the light in order to hide problems long enough to sell the car.

Tricks Used Car Dealers Use to Sell Broken Cars

Used car dealers have a business model where they buy used cars in private auctions. The dealer doesn’t know what they are buying from the auction until they can get it to their car lot and have it inspected themselves. Their mechanics will look for anything that is broken. Then they will repair everything as cheaply as possible. That can be gluing broken plastic pieces. Hiding engine noises with thick oil to quiet them down. Adding transmission slip fix to hide worn slipping transmissions. Cleaning up oil leaks and temporary sealing them with silicone. Also using the cheapest no brand name parts to replace anything that they can’t mend themselves. All these repairs are temporary and won’t last more than a couple of weeks before you have to bring it to a mechanic shop like ours for diagnosis. Then we have to break the bad news to our customers.

How to avoid buying a lemon

You can avoid all these problems by having a pre-purchase inspection. During a pre purchase inspection we will put the car on our lift to inspect everything. We check for any evidence of fluid leaks and body frame rust. All suspension components are then inspected for wear and play. We inspect the car’s frame for auto body work in case it was in an accident. Brake pads, rotors are checked for worn or frozen components. Then we check under the hood of the car and make sure all the fluids are in good condition; as burnt fluids can indicate component damage. All engine accessory systems are checked for leaks and proper operation. Finally, we connect out dealer level scan tools which check for normal and shadow codes. Some auto manufacturers such as BMW have shadow codes stored even when someone tries to clear the check engine light. We specially recommend a pre purchase inspection if you are considering a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Land Rover, Mini, Lexus, Infinity, Acura, or Cadillac. As luxury car repairs are more complicated and costly.

Tolima’s Auto Center offers pre purchase inspections for $165.00. When you think about spending thousands of dollars on a car, the cost of a pre-purchase inspection is nothing compared to the risk of buying a car that turns out to be a lemon. Simply contact us to make arrangements to bring the car to our shop for a pre-purchase inspection.

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