YACT: Does a person REALLY need to pay a mechanic to check out a car prior to buying used?

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
From what I can tell a mech doesn't do more than scan through the engine bay looking for belt and hose condition, fluid leaks underneath an engine, quick glance at brake condition, confirm all lights work, etc. right? If you can do all that yourself what will a mechanic do in addition to what I mentioned?
 

Heisenberg

Lifer
Dec 21, 2001
10,621
1
0
If you have a scan tool and enough experience to know what you're looking for, then I would say no. Otherwise, I would say yes.
 

minendo

Elite Member
Aug 31, 2001
35,558
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81
Depends on how much the mechanic actually checks out and what your level of knowledge is.
 

Red

Diamond Member
Aug 22, 2002
3,704
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Depends on the mechanic. But let me answer the real question on your mind:

YES, buy the Maxima.
 

RagingBITCH

Lifer
Sep 27, 2003
17,619
2
76
Check the underbody for frame damage; sometimes test drive the car himself. He's also more adept at spotting things physically wrong with the car than you would be obviously. You just have to ask yourself is it worth $50?
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
Originally posted by: RagingBITCH
Check the underbody for frame damage; sometimes test drive the car himself. He's also more adept at spotting things physically wrong with the car than you would be obviously. You just have to ask yourself is it worth $50?
It's worth $68 (;0), but is it worth the hassel of taking off vast amounts of work to deal with buying a bloody car :)

 

Red

Diamond Member
Aug 22, 2002
3,704
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Originally posted by: Skoorb
Originally posted by: RagingBITCH
Check the underbody for frame damage; sometimes test drive the car himself. He's also more adept at spotting things physically wrong with the car than you would be obviously. You just have to ask yourself is it worth $50?
It's worth $68 (;0), but is it worth the hassel of taking off vast amounts of work to deal with buying a bloody car :)

No. My personal mechanic doesn't charge for an inspection, but all he does it check out the breaks / suspension / engine. Takes him about 15 minutes.
 

Thegonagle

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2000
9,773
0
71
Nothing. I don't bring used cars to a mechanic unless I have a question about its condition that I can't answer myself. I don't recommend that for most people though, because more people than not are ignorant about (or scared of) how these intricately engineered machines actually work.
 

KarenMarie

Elite Member
Sep 20, 2003
14,372
6
81
My boyfriend wrenched for years. Mostly on BIG stuff... (typical girl POV) that had tired bigger than I. But he worked on cars for fun. In his opinion, if you trust the mechanic, then it is worth it. Most ppl dont know enuf about cars to know what to look for.

:)
 

Asharus

Senior member
Oct 6, 2001
987
0
0
Originally posted by: RagingBITCH
Check the underbody for frame damage; sometimes test drive the car himself. He's also more adept at spotting things physically wrong with the car than you would be obviously. You just have to ask yourself is it worth $50?

$50 is worth it. My mech checks everything. He also pointed out to the seller a list of things that need work, and the seller agreed to pay for the cost of the work needed.
 

GalvanizedYankee

Diamond Member
Oct 27, 2003
6,986
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Even with my limited experience ;), I would, if the car was >$10k.

If I ever buy my dream car, a Porsche 968 Coupe, you betcha. A knowledgeable disinterested party will be much more objective, as they are paid no matter what the out come. Knowing what to look for and all the short cut tricks that are used on a particular type of car come into play. Undercoating to hide damage, a magnet to find Bondo and the list could go on & on.

Inspecting a car on a lift is a whole different world :)
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
OK you guys have sold me. It's a hassel, and not of optimal timing, but if I go ahead with a car I will pay the appropriate dealer price to have them check it out.
 

Antisocial Virge

Diamond Member
Dec 13, 1999
6,578
0
0
I know a guy that was going to pay a guy $500 and buy a roundtrip plane ticket for a guy to check out a car. It was a classic Charger though.
 

Quixfire

Diamond Member
Jul 31, 2001
6,892
0
0
Yes Skoorb most safety inspection only include what you have mentioned. But most people aren?t skilled enough to know if anything is visibly wrong with a vehicle. Most people are happy to pay a professional for a quality assessment of their vehicle?s condition.

The system inspection I have done in the past included the following:

Inspect Front & Rear Suspension
Inspect Engine Compartment
Inspect Brake System
Inspect All Exterior Lights
Inspect Seat Belts & Airbag Functions
Inspect Wiper & Washer Systems
Pressure Test the Cooling System
Test the Electrical System
Check all Fluids level & Condition
Check All Tires Pressure & Condition, including the spare
Rotate Tires if needed

I also include a written estimate for any repairs I feel are necessary to insure the performance of their vehicle. I also break it down into groups, Safety, Function, & Luxury, and advise the customer what to have fixed in that order, whether I do it or not.

I truly wish I could instill this kind of commitment into every person that has earned the right to call himself or herself a mechanic.

BTW, I charge $35 to perform this service and usually take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
 

GasX

Lifer
Feb 8, 2001
29,033
6
81
Originally posted by: Quixfire
Yes Skoorb most safety inspection only include what you have mentioned. But most people aren?t skilled enough to know if anything is visibly wrong with a vehicle. Most people are happy to pay a professional for a quality assessment of their vehicle?s condition.

The system inspection I have done in the past included the following:

Inspect Front & Rear Suspension
Inspect Engine Compartment
Inspect Brake System
Inspect All Exterior Lights
Inspect Seat Belts & Airbag Functions
Inspect Wiper & Washer Systems
Pressure Test the Cooling System
Test the Electrical System
Check all Fluids level & Condition
Check All Tires Pressure & Condition, including the spare
Rotate Tires if needed

I also include a written estimate for any repairs I feel are necessary to insure the performance of their vehicle. I also break it down into groups, Safety, Function, & Luxury, and advise the customer what to have fixed in that order, whether I do it or not.

I truly wish I could instill this kind of commitment into every person that has earned the right to call himself or herself a mechanic.

BTW, I charge $35 to perform this service and usually take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
Can you be at my apartment at 6:30?
 

Zenmervolt

Elite member
Oct 22, 2000
24,512
21
81
Originally posted by: galvanizedyankee
Even with my limited experience ;), I would, if the car was >$10k.

If I ever buy my dream car, a Porsche 968 Coupe, you betcha. A knowledgeable disinterested party will be much more objective, as they are paid no matter what the out come. Knowing what to look for and all the short cut tricks that are used on a particular type of car come into play. Undercoating to hide damage, a magnet to find Bondo and the list could go on & on.

Inspecting a car on a lift is a whole different world :)
Heh, I wish I'd done more checking on my 924S but I just had to fall in love with the blasted thing. :)

Definitely have a mechanic check it over unless you have the time to be very thorough yourself and spend hours researching the common problem areas. That's the other advantage a mechanic has, he's going to have seen a bunch of cars just like the one you're looking at and he knows exactly what areas to check.

ZV