Buying a Used Car and the Pre-Purchase Inspection

In today’s down economy good used cars are getting harder to find. New car sales are slow. Fewer used cars are being traded in. More people are holding on to good used cars and trucks.

So where are the used cars coming from?

About that Used Car

Many used cars – particularly those found on small used car dealer lots – are coming from wrecked vehicle auctions. The lot operator buys the vehicle, makes cosmetic repairs and sells the vehicle as a clean used car.

Some of these cars were so badly damaged they were declared total losses. If the vehicle has a salvaged title, you know it was in a major wreck and should carefully check the vehicle before purchase.

But clean title – even when accompanied by a clear VIN check report from a vehicle history reporting company – is no guarantee you are getting a damage free car.

A Pre-Purchase Inspection Can Save You Money

We recently saw a vehicle a customer purchased and brought to us for service. The car had been rolled, heavily damaged and put back together. The frame was bent. Fenders and body panels had been replaced. The paint color was slightly off. And our customer was shocked when we told him he paid $10,000 too much for this “resurrected” vehicle.

The dealer swore it was a private party car. The car history paperwork was all clear. How did this happen? We don’t know for sure, but we have seen enough of these vehicles (that come from out-of-state sources and somehow manage to get clean California titles) to know it can be done.

Your only insurance against paying too much for a used vehicle – or avoiding outright fraud – is to take the vehicle to a reliable automobile repair shop. This should preferably be a shop experienced with seeing damaged vehicles.

At Superstition Motors Ltd we have an ASE Certified Master Collision Damage Repair Technician on staff. We will gladly perform a pre-purchase inspection and provide you with a written vehicle inspection report. Based on this report you can make an informed decision to purchase the vehicle or walk away.  Or you can use the report to bargain for a fair price.

Don’t get us wrong. Even a total loss vehicle can be repaired to safe, reliable condition. Such vehicles can offer inexpensive transportation when you can’t afford a new car. But you don’t want a lemon. And you don’t want to pay top dollar for a previously junked car.

Come see us.  You will be glad you did.


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