Used Car Inspection
Used Car Inspections in Houston, Texas
If you’re planning to buy a used car in the Houston-area, you need to have one of our used car mechanics inspect the car before you buy! With locations in Katy, Kingwood, Montgomery, and the Energy Corridor, we have a used car mechanic near you! Call us today or request a quote online!
Buying a used car is an excellent way to get a safe automobile that fits your family’s budget. However, that money you save buying used could be thrown away by not having your new-to-you car inspected by a qualified mechanic. Buying a car, truck or SUV from a private party often means you will have to take their word about the vehicle’s usage and overall condition. Mileage and clean oil simply cannot tell the full story of wear and tear on an automobile. Although pre-owned car dealers routinely provide vehicle history reports such as Carfax and any available maintenance records, these are no substitute for having an experienced auto repair facility conduct a full diagnostic analysis on your behalf.
For most of us, purchasing a vehicle is a significant expense. We rely on our vehicle so we can get to work, run errands and drive family members to appointments. That’s why it’s important to get a comprehensive, multi-point used car inspection from a full-service auto repair facility before purchasing a used vehicle.
Critical Areas of Used Car Inspection
Regardless of whether you are considering a purchase from a friend, family member or certified pre-owned dealer, the value of a thorough inspection cannot be overstated.
It is not uncommon for deficiencies to be just a few miles or sharp turn away from surfacing. In many cases, the person selling you the vehicle has enjoyed a smooth ride and may be unaware that critical systems and components are close to faltering. You may even agree with their assessment of the vehicle after a test drive. But used cars bought from private parties are often nonreturnable. That could leave you on the hook for excessive repair costs right after spending your budget on the vehicle.
A multi-point inspection from an experienced auto repair facility can provide critical information about imminent systems failures. These are some of the more common vehicle problems used car buyers should be aware of before completing a transaction.
- Timing Belt: Replacing a timing belt can be a big ticket item. Car manufacturers generally suggest replacement at 100,000 miles on newer models. Older vehicles may require replacement as early as 60,000 miles.
- Radiator and Hoses: These auto parts are vital to the coolant system operating at a high level. Leaks, thinning and signs of repair could indicate a major breakdown has or will occur.
- Fluids: When purchasing a used vehicle, dealers generally change the fluid. This makes the vehicle appear to be well maintained. However, a trained technician can detect signs such as particles on the dipstick that suggest a serious problem exists.
- Exhaust System: Deteriorating exhaust systems result in low fuel efficiency and can be a costly repair. State inspections require vehicles to meet emissions standards. An experienced auto repair facility can conduct a diagnostic check to identify a deficient or failing system. This information proves important when doing the math about how much more money you will need to sink into the vehicle before its next inspection.
- Brakes: One of the more difficult areas for buyers to determine is how many miles brakes have left before replacement is needed. While Carfax and receipts can provide a general idea, usage can differ significantly between drivers. The first-hand review by a certified technician with the vehicle on a lift offers the clearest possible picture.
- Engine Malfunctions: Vehicles that are poorly maintained can shorten an engine’s lifespan. In many cases, “check engine” warning lights can be deactivated or simply not function. It’s imperative to notice that light flickers on when starting the automobile. But beyond that telltale sign, the motor’s cylinders, gaskets, and other necessary components may not show symptoms of being impaired to an untrained eye. If the engine seizes later, the cost of replacement or repair could be more than the vehicle’s worth.
Signs the Vehicle may have been in a Collision
One of the key pieces of information that vehicle histories provide is prior accidents. Of course, such incidents can only be included if they are recorded. Unscrupulous car dealers and private parties may try to hide damage to sell a vehicle for more than its true value. Trained professionals know how to look for subtle signs that the vehicle has suffered a hard impact.
- Paint Job: Differing shades of paint may be a sign that portions of the body have been repaired and repainted after an accident.
- Misaligned: A vehicle that has suffered a hard impact may have structural damage and suspension problems. This often sets the automobile out of proper alignment. If a car has brand new tires but is out of alignment, this may a sign the seller is not above board.
- Fresh Undercoat: Damage to vehicles is often covered up by spraying a fresh undercoat. It’s also a way to hide wear from debris and grime. Vehicles with new undercoats warrant a determined inspection.
Regardless of whether a full vehicle history is provided, used car buyers have every right to an independent inspection. There’s no reason to make a major purchase without having all the facts about an automobile. An independent inspection made by a licensed full-service auto repair facility on your behalf can help you make an informed decision.
Why Professional Pre-Owned Vehicle Inspections Matter
Buying a used vehicle generally involves a negotiation regarding the asking price and willingness to compromise on a final number. Included in that discussion will be the vehicle’s condition and potential for further expenses based on mileage and maintenance. That’s why we offer our valued customers a thorough evaluation of vehicles before you make a plunk down a lot of cash.
By providing you with a detailed analysis from one of our experienced technicians, you will be armed with information that can help you make an informed decision. As an experienced auto repair facility dedicated to providing our valued community members with the best possible customer care, we view pre-purchase inspections as a vital service.
If you’ve got your eye on a used car, call or bring it by one of our Houston area locations to have an experienced used car mechanic check it out before you buy! You can even request an appointment online. We can help you tell if it’s a lemon or a peach!