I know it’s been said over and over again but it bears repeating. Whenever contemplating a used car purchase, find a reputable local garage and have the car inspected. Prices for this service can range from $50 to $150 but whatever the cost it’s probably money well spent. I was reminded of this today by the two pre-purchase inspections we had at the shop.
First was a 2005 Chevy Cobalt that was at a local new car dealer. It was in the “bargain corner” with a tag that read as-is only $2999. It looked good and clean, but the check engine light was on or flashing. The dealer told the prospective buyer it probably just needed a tune-up. I found one cylinder with 35psi of compression. That car needed major engine repair or replacement.
The other was a 2003 Subaru Forester for sale at a used car lot for over $5000. The tech inspecting it noticed a metallic noise from the transaxle when making hard turns. He called me over to show what he found. When checking the trans fluid the end of the dipstick was chipped and broken and the fluid that was on the remainder of the stick was silver with metal shavings. That car needed transaxle replacement.
Both of these cars needed major repairs that the potential buyers wouldn’t be able to afford, so the inspection fee was money well spent in avoiding a bad purchase.