7 Things to Do When Considering the Purchase of a Used Car

Get your car inspected before buying it.

If you’re considering the purchase of a used car, either from a dealership or from a private party, we’d like to share these 7 things to do before you decide to buy. We do a lot of pre-purchase inspections here at Tom’s Automotive.

And a couple of suggestions prior to

  1. Check Carfax to see if the vehicle you’re considering has been in an accident.
    1. Now, Carfax doesn’t share everything, it’s not a failsafe. The main thing to find out here is whether or not the car has been in an accident. If it has been in a collision, and it went through insurance to fix or repair it, it should show up on Carfax.
  1. Ask for records of maintenance & repairs
    1. If no maintenance records are shared, don’t assume any work has been done on the vehicle. We just don’t know, but to protect yourself, assume the worst & hope for the best.
  1. Look at the paint carefully for patches, texture differences, signals of obvious bodywork that’s been done or still needs doing.
  1. Remove any and all external decorative accessories to get a complete view of the body of the car.
  2. Look for part number tags underneath the hood of the vehicle. This will give you clues as to which parts have been replaced.
  3. Anyone who pressures you or hurries you into a decision about purchasing a used car is not someone you want to buy a vehicle from.

Anyone who is reputable will give you the time needed to get the inspection done, answer your questions and let you make the right decision for you.

We’ve seen situations where a seller won’t let a potential buyer get the car inspected until they sign the papers saying that they want the car. This is not in your best interest for you as the potential buyer at all.

You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you can’t walk away from the car.

 

BE CAREFUL!

If you’ve signed the papers, you’ve agreed to purchase the car, no matter what the inspection says.

So, it’s too late for the buyer to make an informed decision based on the results of the inspection. Don’t put yourself in that position.

If someone is pressuring you or won’t allow the car to be inspected, your best next move is to walk away.

Most used cars are sold under the “buyer beware.” Once it’s in your name, all of the problems are yours too.

  1. Schedule a Pre-Purchase Inspection. (aka: Comprehensive used car inspection)

Pre-purchase inspections are the cheapest insurance you can buy for a used car. It’s comprehensive knowledge that will specify what is in good shape, and what may need attention or repairs.

Someone popping the hood and looking at the surface of the insides for several minutes is not performing an inspection.

Ours are 100+point inspections. Pretty much a head-to-tail comprehensive inspection of the vehicle. We provide ratings for you about specific safety and maintenance items we find.

Schedule your pre-purchase inspection now.

Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
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Penny Winfield
Penny Winfield

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 day ago

I started going to Tom's Automotive Service on the recommendation of a friend and I am so glad that I did! I found the staff to be professional, knowledgeable, friendly, courteous and accommodating. I stopped by to make an appointment, but needed to have oil added immediately which was done. I also had another problem which they handled promptly. Now they are helping me set up a schedule for servicing my car that should keep things running smoothly. I feel that my car is in good hands and I am very pleased.

Kyle Freemantle
Kyle Freemantle

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

Took in my Mazda for a 20k mile tune-up and had the most transparent experience with a mechanic I've ever had. Easy to work with, friendly staff, all that good stuff. I have a car that has relatively uncommon oil (0W-20) and within an hour of me dropping it off for service they called me up and told me they'd have to go and get some and how it would affect the cost of repair. This wasn't a surprise to me, but they're the first place that's actually given me a heads up. In any case, good and timely service at a reasonable cost. Definitely give them a try if you need service in West Seattle.

Hannah Holmstrom
Hannah Holmstrom

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

The crew at Tom's is extraordinary. They were incredibly helpful, and when my car couldn't be saved, Bryce took time out of his day to give me direction on where to go and what to do. They were overly generous giving me ample time to leave my car in their lot while I figured out what to do with it. I would recommend Tom's to everyone! Such great people!!!

Ryan Day
Ryan Day

5 out of 5 stars

posted 6 hours ago

Always great service . The staff is amazing . My wife and I have used them a few times since moving to West Seattle 11 years ago . The shuttle is always nice since we live in West Seattle.

Suky Hutton
Suky Hutton

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

Everyone at Tom's is a pleasure to work with: they're good listeners and generous problem solvers. They're clear about the repair work they suggest, they offer a range of options when that's appropriate, and their prices are fair. They also try to get you in as quickly as possible, sometimes immediately. I remain a grateful customer after 30 years!