Having a mechanic check out a used car

I recently sold a Hyundai, the buyer was around 30 miles away. Came and checked the car out, then paid the local dealer to do a pre-purchase inspection.I agreed to take it there because A) My daughter was free and B) The same dealer had sold the car to us as CPO and had the recalls/etc, so there was no way they would say the car is not fine.
This might be a reasonable option for you.
If I was the seller, I would not let you drive my car for 80 miles to have it checked.

The company who inspected my used car is based in Minneapolis, MN; they sent a local mechanic to inspect the car I bought in Upstate NY. You may have an inspection service that is close to the car. I advised the seller (dealer) that I want the car inspected before I make an offer.

Good luck with this purchase.

The stories of different times and places remind me of a vacation I took back in 2013. It was the first summer I had my Wrangler and we wanted to go trail riding up north (northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula). We ended up in a resort town that, unbeknownst to me, books up early around the 4th of July holiday, but we found a motel that didn’t look crowded. The front door was locked, but a sign said go around to the side for after hours accommodations. The side door led to a hallway with a phone on the wall. I called the number (which from the background noise, I assumed was the owner’s home) and asked for a room, and after taking my info, he said the room was open and the key is inside. I laughed and replied, “that’d never fly in Detroit.”

On a somewhat related note, my parents in Mississippi (I see there are a few of us on here, eh?) drove down to Louisiana to evacuate my grandfather from the path of Hurricane Katrina. On the way, they stopped at a gas station for a cup of coffee, and as my dad was looking through his wallet for a bill larger than a one, the cashier said that’ll be… 12 cents. I don’t know why, but that amused me.

Oh, the topic at hand… some sellers might allow it, but I honestly think I’d find it too cheeky to ask. I bought a beater car for grad school some years back, and all the dealers (independent sellers, not used car lots at branded car dealers) didn’t seem to mind taking it a reasonable distance for an inspection, but they weren’t going to waste much time on a sale that would be tens or low hundreds of profit. (In hindsight, they were probably the sort that made their money in financing and didn’t want to deal with cash buyers.)

On a flight some years back, we were forced by incoming inclement weather to overnight at a small muni in Nebraska along the way. After tying down, we went to the building to inquire about accommodations nearby. The building was open but no one was around. There was a note by the phone so we called the number. The guy answered, told us about a small motel about 5 miles away. When we inquired how to get a ride there, he said to use the car outside, the keys were in a cup by the phone…

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Having grown up in New York City, I find stories like this to be quaint and totally foreign to my existence.

Oh, are you a pilot too? Actually I had a similar experience in rural Mississippi - a summer thunderstorm popped up on our route, so we diverted. The building apparently had a motion detector on the door, so about 5 minutes later, the caretaker showed up on his Harley (in the pouring rain by that point). He said we could use the car on site to get to a motel if we needed to stay overnight. I was surprised, but then my dad reminded me that he has our airplane as long as we have his van. :wink:

Those were good times. I can’t afford to fly anymore (except commercially, in coach of course).

Unless it’s some kind of fantastic deal, just go to Carmax. Fair pricing and no worries. All checked out and serviced, Carmax warranty. Check them out online.

So why not find a mechanic closer? Look on the mechanics files or Angie’s list, etc. A pre-purchase check is something any qualified mechanic should be able to do.

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AAA will tow a car about 100 miles. I don’t think they will tow a car that is running well, however, thus you might have to pay the $3/mile charge. I’d definitely suggest getting a closer mechanic. I don’t think 100+ miles round-trip is reasonable unless you are in a remote area, but 20-25 miles is reasonable.

Should you tell the mechanic that it’s a pre-service check and if so, that you are ONLY using them for the pre-service check and not for regular repairs assuming you don’t know their integrity?

I have a trustworthy mechanic so he does both the pre-service and the regular repairs, but if I didn’t know, I wouldn’t tell them because I wouldn’t want them to ignore deficits knowing they could fix it later. A good mechanic nixes the deal. Of course, if they don’t know, they may “find” problems that aren’t there. Our mechanic helped us not buy a 2010 Hyundai Sante Fe; it had an overfilled coolant and we bought a 2012 Nissan Rogue that had strutts not working but gladly replaced them and made the deal.

I would tell the mechanic that you are considering purchasing the car and want to get a pre-purchase check. You will have to pay for the mechanic’s time, of course, but a good mechanic should know exactly what to look at.

You are always at the mercy of the mechanic to be honest in these circumstances, which is why you do a bit of research ahead of time. In this case, though, what’s the worst that can happen - if the mechanic is honest and finds some issues you either avoid buying a lemon or negotiate a better deal. If the mechanic is dishonest and finds issues that don’t really exist, you either don’t buy the car or you negotiate a better deal and go back to your own mechanic who presumably will tell you things are OK.

Before you buy the Nissan, if you’ve never heard of Scotty Kilmer who does the gentlemen start your engines on YouTube Google him and see his opinion of Nissan’s. This man has been a mechanic for 51 years so I believe what he says. Also I personally saw a article where the Nissan Rogue got stuck in 4 in of sand. I also liked them when I saw them but after reading that it got stuck in 4 in of sand no way Jose the article was in one of the major car magazines but I just can’t remember which one but anyway good luck and as always this is just my opinion

I think the bigger worry than dishonesty is incompetence. That is, what if you have an honest (or dishonest!) mechanic who fails to find issues that do really exist?

40K miles and a 2016MY for any Nissan means that car is still covered under the drivetrain warranty. That is a big plus. If I were shopping for a vehicle that new, I’d pay the small premium and get a certified pre-owned vehicle and have a full bumper to bumper warranty that I could use at any of the Mfg’s dealerships near me. Having old cars checked by a mechanic is always the best advice. This is not an old car.

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For what it worth Paul has purchased a vehicle according to one of his other threads.

Yes, we purchased a 2016 Rogue certified vehicle. Trying to get over buyer remorse that I often struggle with. It’s strange to see two Rogues in the garage. First time I have never owned a car.

How can it overfill? Too much water and it runs into the overflow reservoir. Am I missing something?