Piston Slap: The Threat Of Going Audi 5000

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the threat of going audi 5000

Michael writes:

Sajeev, you always hear the advice to have a used car inspected before purchase by a reputable mechanic. But how do you implement that advice at your typical car lot? Dealer or independent, I can’t imagine they are excited about having someone drive off for several hours.

How does the B&B make this work? Leave your existing ride? Partially fill out a purchase contract? Leave your kids the showroom? Ideas, please, on how I phrase this “request” and what is reasonable to guarantee my return with their vehicle.

Sajeev replies:

There are several ways to skin this cat, but one phrase clears through the crap, “I’ll buy this car for such-and-such price after my mechanic looks at it.”

If the dealership wants a sale, that conditional statement is a non-issue. Personally, I’ve mentioned third party inspections as possible objections at many used car dealerships. And they’ve never cared. (Probably because they want my money.) And if they don’t budge, go Audi 5000 on their asses.

Remember, the customer is always right.

Then again, there are mobile car inspection services in many large cities. So if a dealership loves their iron more than the lure of cold, hard cash, get the mechanic on wheels and save yourself the drama.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

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9 of 22 comments
  • BostonDuce BostonDuce on Jan 18, 2010

    Sorry guys, I have been, and will continue to be insulted when I'm selling my late model, highly optioned, low mileage, still under factory warranty car for under "book" (which means wholesale book), and someone says "I need an inspection before I buy". Go buy somebody else's ride and don't bother me if your that insecure about buying used. BD

    • See 3 previous
    • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Jan 18, 2010

      That's fine. I have walked away from every car that the seller (private or dealer) would not let me get inspected. I live in the south. Flood cars still rear their heads once in awhile.

  • Opus Opus on Jan 18, 2010

    I would love to know where you guys find these mechanics who can inspect a car at the drop of a hat? Any shop around here has at least a 2-3 day waiting period for just about ANY routine work and I don't see them as being able to fit in another one-hour-plus inspection job without an appointment. Everyone is just booked solid.

    • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Jan 18, 2010

      Opus, You make a good point. But I think you can schedule a mechanic a couple of days out. They should be able to make time for you, especially if you are looking to buy a used Audi, as they can reasonably expect a $5,000 a year annuity from you for as long as you are solvent. - from the guy who bought his wife an A6 off-lease, but not CPO...

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jan 18, 2010

    You obviously call your mechanic beforehand to organize the meet before you take the keys from the dealer. Did we really need to get THAT granular? And if you don't have a mechanic that you're on a first name basis with, then you schedule the mobile-mechanics to do the testing for you.

  • Nova73 Nova73 on Jan 18, 2010

    The Hertz Rent to Buy program allows prospective purchasers to lease the car for up to three days. During this time, one can have it inspected by a mechanic. There does not appear to be a limit on the number of inspections, or the location of the mechanic, as long as the car it turned back in or purchased at the end of three days. Hertz charges $50 per day, waived if the car is purchased. A two hour test drive is available free of charge. The obvious disadvantage is that one is limited to Hertz's selection of used cars. That virtually rules out a stick shift. I wonder if used car dealers will adopt a similar program. It could be a good secondary source of revenue and customer goodwill.