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Q: Purchasing Used Car

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I'm thinking about purchasing a used car from someone (not a business) and I figured I should probably take a mechanic along to do an inspection and provide an opinion on the car. Can that be done from this site? If not and I can't find anyone to go, what are some things I should be looking for on the car?

A pre-purchase vehicle inspection is a good idea and is available through YourMechanic. That inspection, performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched to your location, will give you very specific data regarding any current problems that the car has. You have additional opportunities, too, in evaluating particular used car models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains a database of consumer complaints, official recalls and factory service bulletins for all individual makes and models, by year. I encourage you to go to the NHTSA website and enter the vehicle’s year, make and model and review the existing reports which will give you an excellent idea of what has been experienced by other owners insofar as faults in the particular make, model and year you are interested in. In addition, "Consumer Reports" publishes system by system vehicle reliability data for all years, makes, and models. This data is available free in the library or on-line if you are a paid subscriber. That reliability data will give you an excellent indication of the relative likelihood that key systems on the model (and year) of interest will fail at greater, or lesser, frequency compared to those rates reported for other vehicles. Obviously, what you want to be looking for in that database is an indication that the vehicle "make and model year" that you are interested in is not a "lemon" insofar as reliability. If you are unable to access any of these resources, or desire data of a different type, please do not hesitate for a moment to re-contact YourMechanic and we will assist you further in your attempts to make a wise used vehicle purchase.

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