Are there any exceptions to "get a used car inspected before buying"?

trf111trf111 Member Posts: 4
edited September 2014 in Subaru
I think I know the answer to this question: no. But I want to be sure...

I'm looking at a 2006 Subaru Forester sold by a dealer. Comes with a 6mo/6k mi powertrain warranty. Single owner, good maintenance record per carfax, 140k miles, automatic tranny. The dealer gets excellent ratings for used car sales (4.5 stars based on about 10 reviews on; that's a relatively low number of reviews, but they have only been in business at this location for about 12 months). In the shop they seem very professional and candid - e.g. in my first conversation, they brought up the leaky head gasket issues in this generation of Foresters before I did.

I'm not a mechanic, and this is only the second used car I've ever bought. I got coached by a mechanic I trust, about what to ask and look for (particularly for 2006 Foresters). I looked at everything I could on his list. Throughout the dealer was patient and positive; they said all the right things. I'm a pretty good judge of people and I think they were honest and candid. There were some things I could not check (eg I didn't check transmission fluid color, because the dipstick was kind of buried and I couldn't take it all the way out). The shop gave me a printout of the results of their inspection and detailed all the work they did, including replacing one of the head gaskets and flushing the coolant. They even put the car up on a lift in the shop so I could check for evidence of head gasket leaks myself. (And I'm about 70% confident I knew what I was looking at.)

So the upshot is, I put down a deposit and said I wanted to take it to a mechanic. (Unfortunately the guy who coached me is in another town, too far away to take this car to.) But everything checked out as near as I could tell, and the shop just seems super honest and candid. I am pretty careful about most things, and I am definitely inclined to take it to a mechanic because that's the standard advice. But part of me is saying, why spend the $150 and delay the process.

And so I ask you here: is there ever a situation in which you would not get a third-party inspection before buying a used car?

Thanks in advance!


  • suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,676
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'd definitely take any high mileage vehicle to a mechanic. Replacing just one head gasket is a kind of "make-do". What if the other one goes, then where are you? I'd have the cooling system pressurized--if the other gasket is bad, it'll show up.
  • trf111trf111 Member Posts: 4
    Great. Thanks. Now I just need to find a shop I can trust in the area... thanks to both of you though. Tbh I think I probably knew this but great to have confirmation.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited September 2014
    The best thing about doing the PPI is that it forces you to find a mechanic (hopefully a good shop). I'm okay with buying a car from a good shop or dealer if you know them and their reputation. That's easier to do in a small town where everyone knows everyone - those dealers will typically show you the maintenance history and will tell you who the owner was and how the car was driven. And those dealers will usually work with you if something goes sour, because word gets around so fast.
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