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Purchasing a used car

I’m Looking to purchase a used 2008 Infiniti from a new car dealer’s used car department. Per Car Talk, the recommendation is to get a second opinion from a trusted mechanic, even if the car is certified by Infiniti or the local dealer. Aside from the local Honda dealership I have been dealing with for 11 years, I do not have a mechanic that I know/trust. I will check to see if my Honda dealership could perform this service and if they will, is there any reason not to go that route, assuming their charge is reasonable? Otherwise, is it the consensus that I find a mechanic on this website and try them? I have not gotten a second opinion in the past, and I wish I had as the experience with my last certified car purchase was not a good one. Do new car dealerships typically go along with such a request to have a 3rd party do a mechanical inspection?

You could use the Honda dealer, but I wouldn’t. You could find yourself facing the Honda salesman trying to sell you something from his/her lot.

Look around for a garage that specializes in Japanese imports. You can use the “Mechanic Finder” on the Car Talk home page for names. Another good source is AAA. They have shops and AAA members provide feedback to AAA on their experience with the shops they recommend.

Thanks. Had not thought of AAA, we used to be members. I guess the good news about using a mechanic you have never used before is that in this situation, the potential for a less than honest assessment does them no good as I will be taking any problems back to the seller for repair. On the contrary, one would think that they would try to do a good job in the hopes that you return later for service after the purchase, after warranty.

Agree, the mechanic doing the inspection has the opportunity to make a good impression and gain a new customer. It is in the mechanic’s interest to be honest and do a comprehensive inspection.

You pay a lot for vehicle certification. I don’t think you need any more than that. Dealers put their best used cars into the program. Vehicle certification is underwritten by the manufacturer. Most dealers would want to make you a happy customer under these circumstances. All dealers want to please the manufacturer.

There was an intersting discussion that began 9/11/2009 in General Discussions about a person who bought a certified pre-owned Volvo that had the catalytic converter missing. The problem did get resolved, but I think I would have an independent mechanic check a potential purchase on any used car, certified or not.

I agree with your’s and jt’s point. “Certified” for many dealers is an excuse to charge more based upon mileage alone. They can throw the label on a low mileage car that if inspected closely, may not be in as good shape as a higher mileage better cared for car. Certified for many dealers is a car that’s still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty anyway. But, it’s certified that they will charge you more !

The Camry I bought was a CPO. After a 10 minute inspection I gave a list of 5 items that needed attention. They fixed those and I took the car. I liked the idea of having the manufacturer warranty, but am pretty sure nobody did the claimed “160 point inspection”. Its buyer beware.

I Strongly Recommend Having The Car Inspected For Collision Damage / Repair That Could Have Detrimental Consequences Not Covered By Warranty / Certification.

I buy certified slightly used cars and check them out myself, although I am pretty car savvy, doing most maintenance / repairs on our family cars. Since I managed a Body Shop once for a couple of years, I also am pretty good at checking for collision damage / repair.

If you’re not completely competent in your car check-out prowess, have the vehicle inspected, especially for prior damage that could lead to problems that would not be covered by a warranty. You may want to roll by a reputable collison shop for inspection.