Thurston Car Talk: Used Car Check


Submitted by Bron at Bron’s Automotive

At Bron’s Automotive we can perform used car evaluations prior to our customers purchasing them. If we find very little that needs attention, it gives our customer peace of mind.  When we do find issues that need attention but are repairable, it gives the customer more bargaining power with the seller.  Occasionally, we do find something or several things that are more serious and advise against purchase. We also advise customers of potential expenses in the vehicles future.  For example, I once performed a used car evaluation on a Honda that was in beautiful shape at 103,000 miles.  I did inform my customer that although the car was in perfect shape, they should be aware that at 105,000 miles, this Honda needed the timing belt and iridium spark plugs replaced, which is a good sized bill.

So what should you think about before bringing the car in for an inspection to make sure it’s a good candidate?

  1.  Don’t buy anything with a “salvage” title.  This effectively means that an insurance company has determined that the cost of the repair exceeds the value of the car.
  2. Look at the car’s condition.  Are there lots of dents, dings, or small things broken that have not been fixed?  I always wonder if the small things have not been taken care of, what about other services, like a timing belt or a tune-up?
  3. If the car tries to steer itself to one side, there is likely a serious problem that needs repairing in the front suspension.
  4. What’s the tire condition?  Do all the tires match?
  5. Get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight and look for drips under the engine and transmission.  These drips will need to be fixed.
  6. Does the engine or car vibrate?  If so there is something wrong.  Test drive the vehicle and note if the transmission acts like you think it should.

These are just a few things to check, but if the car you want to buy passes these tests, and you want to buy it, it is well worth the price of a used car evaluation to have it completely checked by an expert.

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