What Are the Most Commonly Overlooked Issues When Buying a Used Car?

When buying a used car, having an in-depth inspection of the vehicle is the best way to approach this type of purchase. If a professional is not present, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint every single thing wrong with the vehicle you are trying to purchase.

Here are some common overlooked issues when buying a used car:

  1. Keys, locks, remote controls, and other accessories: Make sure the seller is providing you with all necessary keys, key fobs, and remotes that go with the vehicle. For instance, if the car has wheel locks, make sure the seller provides you with the proper wheel lock key or socket. Also make sure the car comes with the owner’s manual, any extended warranty documents and service records, as well as a spare tire, jack, and tools.

  2. Verify that the pink slip gives you clear title: Make sure that there are no liens against the car – in other words, that no bank or other party still holds an interest in the vehicle. On the pink slip, you will see the owner’s name and any lien holders listed. “Lien holders” should either be blank or any holders will have signed off as “lien-satisfied.” Simply make sure that all owners have signed off on the car before going through with a purchase.

  3. Understand a salvage title: A vehicle pink slip may list a vehicle as having a salvage title. What this means is that at one time in the car's life, an insurance company recorded the vehicle as totaled, indicating that the car has been in a major accident with repair costs higher than the vehicle’s value. Buyer beware: some of these salvage vehicles may have extensive problems, have voided warranties, and/or not be eligible for comprehensive auto insurance. If you need further information about the difference between clean and salvaged titles, consider exploring the What is the Difference Between a Clean Title and a Salvage Title article.

If you're considering buying a used car, it's a good idea to get it thoroughly inspected. Contact YourMechanic about our 150 point pre-purchase car inspection. One of our certified mobile mechanics will take a close look and give you a detailed report on its condition. It's a great way to feel assured and confident about your purchase.


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Recent Pre-purchase Car Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(5,189)

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4,847
184
37
38
83
4,847
184
37
38
83

Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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