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

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4,481
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78

Caz

17 years of experience
57 reviews
Caz
17 years of experience
Honda Insight - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Acworth, Georgia
Patient, thorough, professional and takes his time to explain things. This is the second time I have used Caz's services, and he consistently delivers. Look forward to working with him again.
Volvo XC90 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Alpharetta, Georgia
My husband and I are looking for a reliable used car for our teenage drivers. We had two that we were considering and wanted to have them inspected prior to purchasing. Caz did a thorough inspection of both vehicles and recommended we walk away from both. We really appreciated his transparency and knowledge. We will definitely use Caz again.

Chris

22 years of experience
2001 reviews
Chris
22 years of experience
Porsche Macan - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Irvine, California
Chris you as so knowledgeable and really out my mid at ease with the private seller purchase. Highly recommend to anyone shopping for a car :)
Lexus ES300h - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Temecula, California
Amazing guy.... called and gave me what felt to be his honest and straightforward opinion on my vehicle.... def will book him again in the future for work

Casey

19 years of experience
27 reviews
Casey
19 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Katy, Texas
Casey is awesome. Helped me fully understand the health of the used vehicle I was buying for my mother in law. Great service and very knowledgeable for sure. Casey found only one issue we needed to deal with and was able to book the repair just a few days later.

Colby

14 years of experience
21 reviews
Colby
14 years of experience
Ford Ranger - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Longmont, Colorado
Colby called to notify me he was in route to the inspection--to ease my mind and to ask if there was anything in particular/extra I wanted him to check out. He was going to do a pre-purchase inspection of a 2002 Ford Ranger. He assured me that I hired the right guy since he'd worked for Ford for 13 years. An hour or so later, he called me while he was driving home to discuss his inspection. I could ask him everything I wanted as we dialogued. That was so helpful! And way more personable and real than just reading the report he emailed. The report was thorough and included a test drive. He had recommendations for some work to be immediately done; rotors & brake pads. Then, included the cost for him to do that work should I choose. The price was fair and not crazy expensive. I'm still deliberating on whether to have that done or to wait for my mechanic to do it once I have the truck. Thank you again Colby.

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