Too Many Car Repairs? Learn How To Select Your Best Car.

October 17, 2017

too many car repairs

Are you spending too much time (and money) at the repair shop? You may have gotten stuck with a lemon or purchased a car with hidden damage history. If you feel like it’s time to trade in your current vehicle, a pre-purchase car inspection is an important step toward selecting a reliable used car. There are plenty of online car inspection checklists you can reference that will provide guidance on what to look for. In addition to going over the car yourself, you may want to ask for a professional opinion. This is especially helpful when the vehicle is located far away. Now let’s take look at some specific examples of hidden problems you may want to look out for:

Flooded Car Cover Up

With the recent hurricanes, thousands of vehicles have been submerged underwater. This can lead to internal mechanical problems that simply can’t be fixed. Still, hundreds of thousands of flood-damaged cars are sold every year without buyer knowledge. These cars are sometimes purchased for very little, cleaned up, tuned up, and then sold to an unsuspecting buyer. Not surprising, these cars don’t usually run for very long.

In some cases, the signs of flood damage can be initially difficult to find, and may not become obvious until many months after the purchase date. When shopping for a used car, look out for water lines and strange odors. Also, check the trunk and probe deep in between seat cushions for dampness. 

Odometer Rollback

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for a deceptive seller to roll back the odometer. Cars may be purchased at junk auctions, cleaned up to look good and then the odometer is rolled back. The car title may even be reassigned illegitimately to make the paperwork look clean. A good rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is...For example, does the ‘99 Accord you’re looking at really have only 22k miles?

Airbag Fraud

Just because an airbag was deployed at one time, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the car. What’s important is how the airbag was restored. If it was done incorrectly, the airbag may not deploy again in the event of a crash. Look for crooked seams, bulging or streaks where airbags might have been deployed. Also, the airbag cover should be the same color as the rest of the interior. 

Check The Paperwork

Items such as fire, hail and “total loss” status may appear on the vehicle title, so it really pays to read the paperwork line by line. In addition, you may discover that the car has been flooded, salvaged, listed as junk or rebuilt. 

Keen Inspection Eye

While it pays to take a close look at any used vehicle you’re considering purchasing in person, many car buyers don’t have the experience and expertise necessary to spot signs of hidden damage. The best way to evaluate a used car may be a professional pre-purchase inspection. 

CARCHEX offers a 155-point detailed used car inspection that will increase your buying confidence. You can have nearly any vehicle in the country inspected and get a detailed report emailed to you within three business days. Arming yourself with the facts before you bid on or buy a used car will help ensure that your next vehicle is a reliable vehicle.

This contribution is by our partners at CARCHEX

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CARCHEX is the premier provider of direct-to-consumer automotive products and services including vehicle protection plans and pre-purchase vehicle inspections. Protecting automotive consumers for over 18 years and providing exceptional customer service has translated into an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. To learn more about CARCHEX and to get protected, visit

About the Author

Guest Author is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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