Having a mechanic check out a used car

Looking at a used 2016 Rogue SV with 40,000. But I am about 80 miles from home. Do you think they will let me drive it that far to my mechanic.

Paul , how the Heck would anyone but the people selling the vehicle know that ?

If it’s important to you then make that a “contingency” for the sale and tell them you want it, but have to have your mechanic check it out, with satisfactory results, but don’t mention the distance unless they specifically ask.

Should they balk, you walk. Ca-ching! - $0.00 NO SALE. Next!


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If i were selling the car, I wouldn’t let that happen.


This car could be a G-U car when shopping for a car to have checked by your own mechanic. By G-U I mean geographically undesirable.

The alternative would be to find a trustworthy mechanic closer to the vehicle that is for sale or possibly pay some more bucks and find a genuine Manufacturer’s Certified Used Car that includes a genuine 12 month/12,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty that is equivalent to what comes with a new car.

That’s the only type warranty I would accept, no aftermarket warranties or a car dealer’s own “certified” warranty, please. It costs the dealer a few hundred bucks to certify one, so they usually pass along their cost to the buyer, but I have purchased cars with it that were very competitive.

Often times the used vehicle’s drivetrain only warranty transfers to another owner (runs with the car, not the owner), but check it out carefully.

There’s a lot of possible problems that will be the owners when they drive away and even an experienced mechanic can miss things. I’ve inspected a few cars for potential buyers and when the car is a make and model that I have a lot of experience with I can feel somewhat certain that nothing of significance was overlooked.

A difference in the gloss of the paint on the left and right font strut towers on a car once prompted me to take a closer look under the car where I scraped off some under coating and found that the car had been wrecked badly and the front stretched back, welded and a new fender installed with the damaged tower being painted along with the new fender to cover a wrinkle. The buyer was referred to a body/frame shop that condemned the car as undriveable.

It’s worthwhile to get a car carefully inspected by an OLD, EXPERIENCED mechanic before buying. If that’s not feasible keep shopping closer to home.


I know if I were selling a used car to an individual, which I wouldn’t do, they wouldn’t be driving the car anyplace without me.


It may depend where in Iowa you live. If you or the seller are in a rural area, 82 miles might not seem like a lot. If you are in a more urban area, they might be less inclined to go along with the long drive to your mechanic. Another idea might be to take your mechanic to the car. You can pay by the hour for the trip, or maybe the mechanic would take a couple of meals on you for the trip. You still pay for the evaluation, of course.

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I am looking at an Equinox and Rogue. GM offers the bumper to bumper, Nissan only the 7 year, 100,000 limited warranty. Just in general terms I like the Nissan better. I guess I have been told that foreign cars last longer than domestic. I’m in my 60s and hope this is my last auto purchase. Had my last car (Ford) for about 18 years

I am going with Mr. CSA on that . I just get tired of hearing that . Any modern vehicle will last for many miles with proper care and service.
As for last vehicle then you should be looking at new .


I would think you would bring the horse to the cart…not the cart to the horse… No?

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I would much prefer having a car in a well equipped shop to inspect it. Jacks and jack stands, or better a lift, and power tools, service lights, etc may be needed. And honestly, I take cars out to drive alone and drive at the posted limit + all that I feel certain I can get away with to test them.

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I don’t see that happening. The best option is to locate a well-recommended shop within a few miles of the car, and have them do the pre-purchase inspection. Ask some of the shops in your area that you do business with if they know of any good shops in the 80 mile away area.


I got a 1 day trial, on the last car we bought, and one I did not buy, no word about anything. Bought the new one, different dealer passed on the used one. I noticed an issue on the used one, so passed, independent inspection for a new vehicle I did not feel necessary.

Ive driven Fords and Chevys for the most part for the last 20 years. ALL of my cars get drven to oblivion. The current one has almost 300k miles, a prior one at 250k until a crash, and the one prior to that 410k miles.
Fords and Cheys have served me very weill.

As to the so-called “foreign cars” lasting longer I can’t say that I agree with that premise. The key is good maintenance.

No way would I allow somone to drive a car 80 miles to get checked out. Too much of a risk for problems. Find someone closer to the car’s location and keep this in mind. A thorough inspection by the best of mechanics does not guarnantee a problem free car. It ups the odds in your favor a bit is all.


Actually, that 80 mile trip can become the best test drive you will ever do.Going around the block with an unknown vehicule is not long enough to check out problems.If the seller really want to sell his vehicule,he will do whatever it takes.


I have had two experiences in test driving a car and taking it to a mechanic. We were looking for another car and spotted a car on the lot of a Dodge dealer about 40 miles away. We stopped in to look. When I asked the salesman about the car, he said “I don’t think you want it. It’s a piece of junk”. He then asked what we were looking for, I told him what we wanted. He showed us a 1971 Ford Maverick Grabber that they had just taken in on trade. This was in 1973. We drove it and it seemed o.k. When I asked the price, he said it was $2495. I said I had a 1965 Rambler to trade. He looked out the window at my car and said he would trade for $2200. The sales manager then glanced at my Rambler and said “We will trade for $2200 or you can have it straight out for $2000 provided you don’t leave your old car on our lot”. I said I would buy the Maverick if I could drive it 40 miles to my home town and have my mechanic check it out. I said I was willing to put a refundable deposit on the Maverick. The sales manager said “No need for a deposit. Take it home and bring it back tomorrow”. I took them up on the offer, our mechanic gave it the o.k. and I returned to the dealer and bought the car. I should also add that I had never been to that dealer and didn’t know anyone who worked there.
I had a similar experience on an independent used car lot back in 1991. We thought we wanted a minivan. I had made arrangements with the Ford dealer to rent an Aerostar to see if we wanted one. I then found a 1990 Ford Aerostar Eddie Bauer on an independent lot near our house. The owner of the lot lived in our area, but I really didn’t know him. We looked at the Aerostar on a Wednesday. I told him I would let him know on the following Monday. I explained that we had a 600 mile out of town trip planned and I had rented an Aerostar from the Ford dealer. The owner of the agency said, “Cancel your rental and take my Aerostar. If you don’t like it, that’s no problem”. We took him up on the offer and we bought the Aerostar when we returned. I have owned minivans since that time.


I don’t know where you live @Triedaq, but in small town Mississippi there are still a few dealers who might be that trusting and generous. I know 30 years ago there were some ‘seasoned’ salesmen who seemed to be talented at sizing up people and making themselves relatively wealthy and making happy repeat customers wherever they went. I once took a lady to a dealer that I knew late on Friday and she wanted to test drive a new car. The owner handed her the keys and told her to keep it for the weekend and call Monday and let him know if she wanted it. That dealership was small but supposedly it was the most profitable Ford dealer in the state.

I can believe that in more rural areas, but not in urban areas. I would not let someone drive off with my car if I wanted to sell it, but a dealer has more resources to get the car back.

Long ago before internet a business directory was available here and most cities as well I assume. It offered more then than a google search offers now. You could look up by name, by address or by phone number and find whether someone rented or owned, how long they lived at current address, where they worked, the name of their husband/wife and other information. I think many businesses used the information to size up customers when taking a check or even letting a car out on a test drive. I just found a copy of the directory, R.L.Polk city Directory.

And speaking of small towns my parcel delivery route was in 2 very rural counties and in each I met and developed a good relationship with at least one person who kept up with all things local. It’s funny how a lady who owned a restaurant could make a quick phone call to the local bank regarding a bounced check from a shop in town and by the time I got to the bank an envelope with the correct cash was waiting for me with no questions asked and I wasn’t even asked to sign a receipt and I didn’t have the returned check with me.

With only a neatly torn brown paper bag I saw a quit claim deed and check written to close a deal on 2 houses and a 160 acre farm. That was nearly 60 years ago and things have really changed a lot since then.

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