October 3, 2023

Used cars can save you a lot of money, but not if you buy an already-worn-out one. The last thing you want to do with your hard-earned money is spend it on a lemon. Here are five reasons why it’s a wise move to have your mechanic check out a used car before you sign your name on the paperwork.

1. Know What’s Worn Out

Some parts on vehicles wear out if they’re not maintained or if they’re improperly used. Even if a used car is only two years old, its brake pads could be bad already if the previous driver had a lead foot and had to frequently slam the brakes. You might not expect some of these parts to be worn out already, which is why getting your mechanic to look at the vehicle first is a good idea.

2. Learn the Vehicle’s Maintenance History

Skipping routine maintenance is bad news for any vehicle. If the previous owner didn’t take the vehicle in for regular fluid changes, flushes, tire rotations and brake checks, your mechanic will be able to tell. Buying a poorly maintained vehicle sets you up for a lot of future repairs.

3. Find Out What’s Likely to Fail Soon

It’s possible that the previous owner unloaded the vehicle because it needs major and expensive repairs, such as a new transmission or catalytic converter. Your mechanic will be able to tell you if any parts on the vehicle are in imminent risk of failing. Having this knowledge allows you to walk away from a junker before it becomes your responsibility.

4. Discover Serious Safety Issues

Everyone deserves a safe vehicle. If you assumed that the vehicle had functioning anti-lock brakes, but that mechanism had failed, this would affect your safety and the way you drive the vehicle on wet or slippery road conditions. Your mechanic can tell you if there’s a problem with the brakes or the vehicle’s other safety systems.

5. Determine If the Vehicle Is a Good Value

Before you buy a used vehicle that’s going to stretch your budget, have your mechanic look it over. If your mechanic determines that the vehicle’s brakes are on their last legs, the tires are bald, and the exhaust is rusted, this isn’t a good vehicle for your financial situation. On the other hand, if the vehicle is priced low, and it needs a costly repair, this gives you a chance to decide if it’s a worthwhile use of your money. 

Not all mechanics will go with you to the dealership when you’re purchasing a used car, and a salesperson might get a little suspicious if your friend starts inspecting every hose and gasket. Once you find a used car you’re interested in buying, make an appointment with your mechanic. Bring the car to the auto shop, and ask if you can watch the mechanic as they take a look at it.