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HELP! Ranger or Tacoma?/ No visits to mechanics allowed?

I have two questions:

1. I’m considering buying a 2000 Ford Ranger with 65,000 mi. or a 2002 Toyota Tacoma with 85,000 mi. Both are reliable, but do you mechanics out there think one is better than the other?

2. You should take a used car to a mechanic for a once over before buying it, right? Quite a few dealers I called refuse to let potential buyers do this. They also refuse to bring it themselves to local mechanics.Is this typical? Living in MA, I am protected by lemon laws (which I’ve read), so is it probably ok to buy a car w/out taking it to a shop first for a look over?

For context, I don’t know much about cars and usually bring a check list to go over vehicles and sometimes an ex boyfriend who knows more than I do.

The dealers may be trying to hide something; I would give them an ultimatum or at least ask them why they are so adverse to the idea. If they feed you the “it’s company policy” line. Just walk away.

I am protected by lemon laws (which I’ve read), so is it probably
ok to buy a car w/out taking it to a shop first for a look over?

There are endless ways a bad used car can cost you big bucks that the lemon law won’t cover. If you can’t get it inspected by a mechanic THAT YOU CHOOSE, then run away from it. Otherwise you’ll be asking for trouble.

You may be better off finding a private seller and working with them. Dealers aren’t the only folks who sell cars.

Agree with previous two posters; no deal if I can’t have the car inspected by my mechanic.

We had a guy who owned a local garage come in to the dealership to test drive new trucks for his business. They found out he stole the rear axle out of one and replaced it with an old krylon rebuild. This after he drove the thing for a week or two and they practically had to send Moose and Rocko to reposess the thing.

If I owned a dealership, I wouldn’t let any old schmoe take my car off the lot to a mechanic. You want to inspect it, come here and look it over under my mechanic’s supervision.

MA does have decent buyer protection for even used cars but it is limited to emission and safety items and has dollar limitations as well. Better than most but not iron clad.

If I didn’t know anything about cars, I’d surely corral someone who did and take them along with me regardless of the dealer’s claims and any warranty protections provided by the seller or the state.

I am protected by lemon laws

Maybe MA has something others do not, but I don’t recall any lemon law covering a used car.

In any case, I would want to have my mechanic check it out before I bought it.

Any used car should be checked over before the purchase.
Lemon laws only go so far and there are a million things that aren’t covered or protected by a Lemon law.

While it’s tough, I can understand the dealer’s viewpoint and Twin Turbo is correct in that the dealer has no idea what is going to be done with that vehicle when it leaves the lot.
Taking a car for an “inspection” and doing some parts trading (a.k.a. theft) is not that rare a thing to happen.

Some years ago a guy near here who ran a repair shop was going to buy a Chevy custom van that was a couple of years old and pirated the engine out of it to replace the old one in his truck. The Chevy dealer got the van back and discovered much later the oil leaks were due to the truck’s worn out motor that was now in there.

a compromise perhaps. let a salesman come with you while you have it inspected. This way the salesman’s presence would probably deter any parts swapping.
Heck, if they don’t have some kinda prearranged test drive route(turn left up here, turn right after the next light, etc), you might even silently take them on a route that ends up at your mechanic’s garage.