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How to make sure a car you're buying that's a long drive away is mechanically sound?

I’ve decided I’d like to buy an 07-08 Acura TL, but don’t have very many options available nearby for my preferred price, mileage and interior/exterior color combinations. So I’ve been searching within a 250 mile radius and have found some listings I’ve liked. The only problem is that I don’t know how I’m going to get a car independently inspected or even just personally test drive and inspect it myself when it’s a multiple hours drive away. I’d prefer to be able to commit to buying a car before making the long drive, but then I’m taking a gamble on what kind of shape the car is actually in.

Any advice appreciated!

There are outside inspection companies that will perform an inspection for a fee and submit a report to you.
A reputable seller should not object to having the car inspected prior to purchase.

That being said, even the most thorough of inspections does not guarantee that you will purchase a reliable, trouble-free car. The only thing it does is swing the odds into your favor a bit more.
With used vehicles there is simply no way of etching dependability in stone.

Licensed dealer or private seller; take anything said about condition with a grain or two of salt.

You should also familiarize yourself with the basics I look at when buying a used car. How does the oil look, if clean there is a possibility it has been maintained, how does the trans fluid look, do you see any leaks of anything, dip your finger in tailpipe, a little black is ok, major smudge is bad, test drive it, be attentive to any sounds, and get a shop to check it out. Plan on Brakes and tires in your budget.

I personally wouldn’t buy a used car that I couldn’t test drive for myself and get checked out by a mechanic I know and trust. I’m not a risk taker. I’d look for a similar car that I COULD do these things with.

Unless, of course, it was a vintage and/or project car.

I agree with mountainbike.

The only way to buy any used vehicle is get it checked out by a trusted mechanic. This does not include the young parts-changers at the quick lube places or the chain shops. Find a local independent mechanic you can trust.

Not getting the vehicle checked out puts you at risk for big repair expenses after you buy it.

@joemario I can’t agree more. I posted the story of a colleague who inherited a Jaguar XJ from his late father in law in Chicago. He took a one way ticket plane from Houston to pick it up. Two weeks and $4200 later he made it back to Texas.

A good independent mechanic will chagre about $100 bucks and that’s money well spent. If there is nothing wrong with the car, it’s cheap insurance. If it needs some repairs, those can be done locally or postponed if possible. If the car is a dog, it saved you iuntold grief.

“I’ve decided I’d like to buy an 07-08 Acura TL, but don’t have very many options available nearby for my preferred price, mileage and interior/exterior color combinations.”

Don’t lock yourself into a particular car model…Find the best car for the money nearby where you can inspect it carefully…There are few 07-08 models out there because few people bought new cars then…You may have to broaden your choices…