Vehicle inspection by prospective buyer.

Messages
2,168
Location
WY
This has happened to me twice in the last couple years. I've advertised and sold two different vehicles. A 2004 Crossfire and a 2005 Chrysler minivan. I kept maintenance records and the carfax reports indicating nothing bad ever happened were available for both vehicles. I priced them for sale and got many inquiries and both sold within 1 day by the first people to see them. I wasn't hiding anything and pointed out any known flaws or suspected upcoming issues that may happen statistically. In both cases the purchasing parties requested an independent inspection. I had no issues with that. While the people buying the Crossfire were contacting garages locally for that inspection the next interested party showed up. I told them the original party were trying to get a local garage inspection and was sorry, he was too late. He offered cash right now. The original party opted to forego the inspection and paid up. They had contacted about a dozen garages and could get nobody to do this service that day. Most said they wouldn't do it at all......The same thing happened with the van, The first woman that showed up wanted an inspection. I said OK but more folks were on their way and the first cash in my hand bought the van. She started calling local garages for the inspection. About 20 minutes later two more prospective buyers showed up in my driveway. She forked over the cash and was on her way. She had no luck finding a garage willing to inspect either. Two things. I need to raise my price on my old vehicles. Do garages actually do inspections for prospective buyers. You hear about it but the real world seems to be another story. Liability? BTW, I have a lift and offered to hoist both vehicles for an underneath inspection....no takers.
 
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Messages
35,959
Location
ME
Yeah you're right you priced too low. VIP tire does them here, they advertise it. They used to, too, but you got better results doing it on a slow day.
 
Messages
6,192
Location
Connecticut
Pretty much all of the local Indy shops will do vehicle inspections here, they usually charge an hour of labor, maybe a little more. As to offering buyers to look under it themselves, that's why they want an inspection done... they have no clue what they are looking at most likely.
 
Messages
8,045
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
No matter what you're talking about there'll always be a difference between talking (asking to arrange a pre-sale inspection) in person with someone you know and calling on the phone. (ring-ring) Hello, Max's Garage Hi you don't know me but I'm with a guy on Elm St. who's selling a car. Can I run down with it and have you check it out before I buy it? TRANSLATION: Will you drop what you're doing and become my wall of protection and savior ? No thanks Ma'am. We're booked anyway.
 
Messages
1,600
Location
USA
Back in the day when I was a young mechanic at Goodyear ( OFL was 9.99 with full top off up to 6 qts. and disco was still "new") We did a buyers inspection. lift up look over was free but for something like $25 you got a 'scope check" with a compression test. (like $2 a hole plus the scope) and a reasonably detailed evaluation Different world back then
 
Messages
601
Location
Earth
Originally Posted by Kira
No matter what you're talking about there'll always be a difference between talking (asking to arrange a pre-sale inspection) in person with someone you know and calling on the phone. (ring-ring) Hello, Max's Garage Hi you don't know me but I'm with a guy on Elm St. who's selling a car. Can I run down with it and have you check it out before I buy it? TRANSLATION: Will you drop what you're doing and become my wall of protection and savior ? No thanks Ma'am. We're booked anyway.
It seems like a loosing proposition for the shop. A one time non enthusiast non local customer wants you to go offsite or drop your other jobs and look at a vehicle they want to buy for $2-5k and thus expects to put no more then $500-1000 into. Plus there is a good chance they will call back and complain and want a refund on the inspection when age related things like plugs or a pcv valve needs to be done 6 months down the road. I've got two shops locally that will do inspections for me, but I've done good business with them in the past and asking a mechanic to inspect an 04-06 GTO or Lexus LS430 that you will be spending 6-10++ hours of labor with them on sorting is different then asking one you don't know to inspect a (redacted) minivan they will never see another dime on.
 
Messages
143
Location
Pennsylvania
We advise every customer to have a prepurchase inspection performed. Many dont and regret it. We work by appointment only and can usually get a car in in a day or so and do a thorough inspection
 
Messages
50
Location
New England
My dad and my older brother were both long time certified professional mechanics and started teaching me from when I could hold a wrench. I consider myself a reasonably competent, but not by any means expert DIYer. Still, I have always had an independent service station do a pre-buy inspection on any used car I have purchased. I want a second opinion. Especially, since as I get older I tend to do less involved repairs. Personally, I would let a car go if the seller would balk at holding the car for a day or two to get a pre-buy inspection. A handshake, a few hundred dollars and I have not had a problem with the four used cars bought for my girls. I must live in a different part of the country or just find better sellers whose word is their bond.
 
Messages
1,770
Location
British Columbia, Canada
When I was selling my Volvo I disclosed all the known problems with the car and pointed out the flaws. And priced it accordingly. A potential customer asked to do a pre-purchase inspection. He took it to my own shop and got an estimate to repair all of the issues I had pointed out (and a couple of fluid replacements besides). He then wanted to deduct the entire amount from my already reasonable price. So I sold it to friends for less, just on general principle. Gave it away basically. It was a really good car. Their kids drove it for 5 years and were heartbroken when the parents finally sold the car to make room on the driveway. So it doesn't always work out.
 
Messages
1,483
Location
MN
I do PPI's all the time at work. They really aren't much more than a general inspection, just a little more detailed. We use a standard checklist and fill it in, providing a copy to the customer when completed. Really the only difference is how detailed the checks go. A standard check, in my shop, includes checking lights, fluids, tire condition, visual brake inspection, suspension check and hoist inspection. I do this on every single car I touch on a given day. A PPI goes a little further, checking all HVAC modes, electrical accessory operation, spare/jack condition, spark plug condition etc. I tend to be really nit-picky on these, not to try and help the customer haggle per-se, just to make sure they don't get screwed over by the seller, dealer or private sale. Example: I had a customer bring in a '97 Park Ave a couple weeks ago for a PPI (yes, I know). It looked decently solid at first glance, but boy was this thing a basket case. Rubber spliced in for fuel line, suspension shot, rotten unibody. Still an OK car, but a $500 beater at best. The only thing going for it was it had brand new Conti's on it... Asking price? $3k. I told her to bring it back and RUN away.
 
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Messages
5,947
Location
Texas Hill Country
There are people out there with no relationship with a mechanic or shop to do an inspection on a car? Where do they take their current cars? I could call 3-4 guys who own shops who would all say "bring it right over". There are also some pre-purchase inspection services that go to check out a car from head to tow, and give you a full PDF report.
 
Messages
9,361
Location
MA
Originally Posted by JustinH
There are people out there with no relationship with a mechanic or shop to do an inspection on a car? Where do they take their current cars? I could call 3-4 guys who own shops who would all say "bring it right over". There are also some pre-purchase inspection services that go to check out a car from head to tow, and give you a full PDF report.
It depends where the car is. Last car I bought in NY, I just bought it without doing any kind of inspection. I looked it over myself but missed a few things, but wasn't too worried about it and didn't really get burned. He did have some maintenance records and the issues it had were mostly minor cosmetic issues. Can't exactly drive it across state to bring to my mechanic to have a look at. Also the car before that, I did the inspection backwards. Bought the car, then took it to a dealer to have it inspected. It had a 90 day warranty away so all the issues found were covered under warranty. I had forgotten to check the keyless go door handles so 3 of those were bad and they were $300 a pop each from the dealer so the used car dealer ended up paying the MB dealer about $1500 to replace 3 handles. I wasn't going to walk no matter what issues it had because it had all the options I wanted so there was no point doing one before purchase. I did get an inspection at AAA once a long time ago. I thought it was a very through inspection but maybe they didn't make enough money at it as I think they stopped doing it a long time ago.
 
1. Getting a vehicle inspected for a non-customer by a shop the same day is unlikely, never mind any liability concerns. 2. Having multiple buyers lined up willing to buy now pretty much make an inspection impossible. Don't sell yourself short on your next car sale.
 
Messages
1,479
Location
UT
I've had a PPI done on both of my Mercedes. It is helpful to have an appointment ahead of time. I booked the PPI in advance for one car. For the E350, I just had to call a few European indy shops, but found one that would fit me in. But if you have potential buyers showing up while another is test driving, you are leaving cash on the table. Your choice, but you may reconsider your pricing on the next car you sell. You can always go down if it doesn't sell.
 
Messages
4,249
Location
SW Ohio
Any vehicle inspection will - or should - include very clear wording that basically tells the 'buyer' they are only advising condition at the time of inspection and they are making (and cannot make) any "warranties" or guarantees of what will happen tomorrow. A buyer needs to understand that perfectly clear - an inspection isn't a crystal ball that sees into the future. Well, in some cases they can. They can say "this piece is very worn out and is likely to fail in the future". If the buyer chooses to purchase it, in no way can they expect the inspector to do anything. Sadly, not all buyers see it this way. It's no different than my friend that's a home inspector. He does, and can only do, things like verify the HVAC system works right now. The appliances all work right now. The water heater makes the water hot. If the HVAC, water heater, and every single appliance die the day the new homeowner moves in, too bad, so sad. Nowhere in his report will he, or does he, say "the HVAC system will last another 15+ years" and so on.
 
Messages
16,927
Location
NH
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Any vehicle inspection will - or should - include very clear wording that basically tells the 'buyer' they are only advising condition at the time of inspection and they are making (and cannot make) any "warranties" or guarantees of what will happen tomorrow. A buyer needs to understand that perfectly clear - an inspection isn't a crystal ball that sees into the future.
Indeed. Even with an inspection--something could die the moment after buying it, and then what good was the inspection? I get it, for non-mechanical people, an inspection is godsend. For all of us who post on BITOG... shrug I mean, we can go out, do a good inspection of our own, but if we miss anything, how is that going to be any different than when that same item fails a week later despite a good quality inspection from an independent shop? All used cars are a gamble. Do what you can to minimize risk. Thankfully I haven't sold anything where the buyer wanted to get it inspected. Not sure how I'd handle that one. Just seems wiser to run it into the ground and price it as such--or trade it in and take the hit.
 
Messages
1,218
Location
south dakota
I had a young female look a nice Honda that she wanted to buy. We took it to her mechanic which was about 15 miles away and she rode with me and didn't want to drive. He didn't put it on a hoist or anything. He walked around it and said it would need front brake pads in another year or more. Then he said there's nothing wrong with it, it's a Honda. He didn't spend more than 3 minutes looking at the car. She bought the car from me that day or the next day I can't remember. His inspection was poor however there was not anything wrong with the car.
 
Messages
16,927
Location
NH
Originally Posted by joekingcorvette
I had a young female look a nice Honda that she wanted to buy. We took it to her mechanic which was about 15 miles away and she rode with me and didn't want to drive. He didn't put it on a hoist or anything. He walked around it and said it would need front brake pads in another year or more. Then he said there's nothing wrong with it, it's a Honda. He didn't spend more than 3 minutes looking at the car. She bought the car from me that day or the next day I can't remember. His inspection was poor however there was not anything wrong with the car.
Sounds like a complete fail on his part. But I'm guessing she was "impressed" by the fact that you were willing to go to bat on the car here--the fact that you didn't blink going to the inspection said something.
 
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