Used Car Pre-purchase Inspection



I’m talking to a small used car dealership about an '05 Honda Pilot. He refuses to let me take the car to a local mechanic 10 miles from the dealership, but says I’m welcome to bring a mechanic on site. Problem is, the on site used car inspection service is 3x as expensive as the local mechanic’s service ($160 v. $50).

The on site used car inspector tells me he knows to look for things most mechanics wouldn’t know to look for. (“They repair cars; I know how to inspect them.”) Any thoughts on whether I should trust this dealership-recommended service ( or call off the deal? Anyone have experience with Should I lend any credence to the on site inspector’s claim that he’d be a more discerning judge than a good mechanic?


Does the on-site inspector work for (employee or contract) the guy who wants to sell you the car? Is the inspector getting any kind of kickback? (kinda hard for you to know) If you answer yes then its common sense not to trust the on-site inspector. find a dealer who will let you take the car to a mechanic who has your best interests at heart. Its common for dealers to let their cars be inspected off site. Whats he worried about? a few more miles on a used car.


If the dealer feels so confident in the on-site inspector and their car then they should have no problem offering you a free (key word) bumper to bumper warranty and in writing with no deductibles and funny language stuff.

Personally, I would pass on the car and especially that BS about an on-site inspector looking for things a mechanic would not know to look for.

After skimming through this outfit’s site I find some of their comments to be pretty shallow.
A regular mechanic only knows how to inspect things that have already failed?
It appears that do not perform a compression test, oil pressure test, vacuum test, etc.; only connect a scanner and listen to an engine with a stethoscope?
Not one word about what THEIR liability is if they give a pass on a car with problems. They only recommend that their information be used in YOUR determination as to whether to buy the car or not and it’s your option as to buy their extended warranty.


Doesn’t the salesman allow you to take a car for a test drive or two? You leave your current car in the lot and test his car. So, drive your car over to your inspection mechanic, who has given you an appointment and is waiting. Don’t worry about any time limits for your “test drive.” The salesman will get his commission whether you keep the car one hour or six.


The on-site inspection service does not work for the dealership, and, as you rightly mentioned, kickbacks would be damn near impossible to investigate unless you’re with the State Attorney General’s office. The dealer is worried about increasing the chance of a collision by taking the car on a 40 minute, round trip excursion to have the mechanic look at the car. (The mechanic is only 8 miles away, but in these parts that’s a 15-20 minute drive.)


Run Away fast from these guys. Start again on your search. Too many unknowns, too much BS, no reason why the car should not be inspected at the location of your choice.


If you were buying a home, would you use the home inspector recommended by the home owner or by the home owner’s real estate agent? Hopefully not!

For the exact same reasons, I suggest that you avoid that used car dealership.

There should be more than enough Honda Pilots on the used car lots of new car dealerships at this point, due to the suddenly declining popularity of SUVs. New car dealers usually tend to keep the better used vehicles on their own lot, and they try to get rid of the less-desirable ones. That method, plus auctions, are the ways that used car dealers usually get their vehicles, and that is just one of the reasons why I would avoid most used car dealerships.


Run fast from this seller.