Used Car Buyer Protection
The following statistics may be alarming if you are in the market for a pre-owned car or truck. According to Consumer Reports, “Each year 400,000 totaled vehicles are put back on the road again.” Also, 1 in 4 cars on the road today have altered mileage and 50% of all leased cars for sale have rolled back odometers. That’s according to Jack Gillis, author of “The Used Car Book”. Last, but hardly least, it is estimated that 90% of the vehicles currently on the road have not performed the required maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.
So much information about a car’s reliability is not clearly visible to the untrained eye. The fact is, that unless you have a vehicle examined by a knowledgeable inspector, you have no way of knowing what lies beneath the surface. The sophisticated electrical and safety systems of today’s vehicles come with a cost. If these advanced systems are not maintained or properly repaired, they can be a danger instead of a benefit. For example, a deployed air bag can be covered up even though it’s not working. Flooded cars (Hurricane Katrina produced many of these that were sent to other states to sell.) can simply be cosmetically fixed and put back on the market. The price of an airbag can be $1,000+ and a faulty electrical system can cost you many thousands more to fix or restore. In short, safety features that do not work are dangerous and of no value.
How To Protect Yourself Financially
How do you protect yourself financially, not to mention protect the safety of you and your family? You basically have 2 choices. The first is to look for vehicles that include an extended used car warranty. Or, if you are a potential buyer, insist on a Pre-Purchase inspection. This is particularly valuable advice if you are purchasing a vehicle that is located in another city or state, as so many people do these days with access to internet sites like eBay. An inspection will provide you with, not only valuable information, but also peace of mind regarding you and your loved one’s safety and help you avoid what could be a very pricey mistake.
What is a Pre-purchase Inspection?
A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed evaluation that will determine the condition of a car or truck, conducted by an independent, qualified professional. They typically inspect the mechanical and safety workings, as well as the visual and aesthetic components. Many companies and repair shops perform this service. Many will come to you or travel to the location of the vehicle. Or, you can bring the vehicle to their location. Services range in price according to your requirements. For example, you may only require a verbal assessment, while someone else may want a comprehensive written report. Find several trustworthy mechanics and call for estimates. Often, you also have the choice of being present during the actual inspection or having the mechanic call you during the assessment to discuss any findings or concerns.
What is Included?
Your report will likely include a thorough bumper-to-bumper visual inspection of the vehicle, including the undercarriage.
The inspector will also look for evidence of any major collision repairs, flood damage, corrosion, fluid leaks, or any recent repairs that may indicate existing or future problems. He should conduct a visual inspection of all visible brake, steering, and suspension components. The engine will be methodically assessed and finally, the inspector will test drive the vehicle to evaluate the performance of the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, and brakes under various driving conditions.
In conclusion, a pre-purchase inspection is a relatively small investment that will allow you to negotiate with facts and buy with confidence.
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