June 4

Why Get A Pre Purchase Inspection?

Auto Repair


Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local where he was Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about pre-purchase inspections today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well?

Mark: So you've seen a couple of vehicles come through your shop lately that have had post-purchase inspections. What have you found? 

Bernie: Well, they're not exactly happy stories. We do get a number of people who come to us and, Oh, I just bought this car and it's got some issues. And, so yeah, it's a post-purchase inspection. This is why we're talking about pre-purchase inspections.

Now, sometimes they're happy stories and we find, Hey, there's not much wrong with the car, needs a couple of little things. But in the case of these two cars, there was a lot going on. 

First one was a Nissan Quest, mid two thousands. Person kind of needed to buy a vehicle in a hurry. Right off the bat she wasn't really, I spoke with her for awhile about the whole purchase process and right off the bat, she wasn't really very happy with the, didn't get a good feeling about the people she bought the vehicle from. They told her some work had been done. It was kind of like someone was selling it for their aunt or uncle. I can't remember all the details, but I hear these stories so often and I've seen them myself. Anyways did buy the vehicle. It wasn't a lot of money, but the vehicle ended up needing a huge amount of work, like thousands of dollars worth of work just to make it safe. There's one sad story. Had this vehicle had a pre-purchase inspection, they probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place, but if they did, you know, if they would have got the vehicle for next to free, that would have probably been, would have maybe made it an okay purchase. 

Our second story, older Dodge van, some younger people wanting to go on a trip. Bought the vehicle for cheap price. Again, they were told, you know, certain things have been done and this and that, but there was a problem with something they tinkered around with a few things. Finally brought it to us. So we did a good, thorough, comprehensive inspection on the vehicle. Found again serious problems worn out rear differential, loose ball joints, worn front brakes, you know, and like really serious expensive items. Again, you know, many thousands of dollars worth of repairs far exceeding the value of the vehicle. 

So there's a couple of sad stories right there. And the reason why you really do want to get a pre-purchase inspection, because you want to know what it is before you buy it. You don't want to find it after you buy it, oh, crap, now I'm faced with all this money to spend. And the vehicle and then, you know, if you decide, Hey, I'm going to sell the vehicle, then you've got to BS your way into selling the vehicle. Whereas perhaps the other people before were just ignorant and they say ignorance is bliss. 

Because you know, for me, I can't sell, you know, I could never sell a car if I knew, Hey, this ball joints about the break. And most people who know those kinds of things are not, don't feel ethical about doing that. 

Mark: So what's a positive story about pre-purchase inspections that you've encountered lately?

Bernie: I've got lots of positive stories, but I'm going to go into one. We had a client and I believe we did a podcast about this, he was looking for a, you know, a fairly new three quarter ton pickup truck. So he went to a GM dealer, local dealer. Very good reputation. Brought the vehicle to us. It was, it was only like two or three years old, not very old, pretty low mileage, like 30,000 kilometres or something like that. So there was a fair amount of money, this purchase, because it was a fairly new vehicle. We put up on our hoist and were shocked to find that this vehicle, it obviously, you know, spent most of its life somewhere in Northern BC or Alberta, where there's a lot of mud on the road.

There was two or three inches of caked on mud all underneath the vehicle. And it had been sprayed with undercoating. So, you know, we kind of curtailed the inspection halfway through said, you know what, this isn't a worthwhile vehicle to buy. He agreed, took it back, eventually found another vehicle from the same dealership, came back same thing. We did another, you know, almost of an inspection and say, you know what? Same thing. So he got a little discouraged with it. I think he found a Ford truck from somewhere else. We did an inspection, great vehicle and you know, he was happy with his purchase.

But if you're spending a lot of money, you want him to get the right truck. And smartly went through the process. You know, we've had people where they do one inspection and I don't know, for some reason they just don't want to spend the next amount of money to do the next inspection. This customer was smart. He did it, you know, we found the right truck and we haven't seen him since, because the truck didn't need any maintenance or repair and he's really happy with it.

The thing I'll say, you know, this was bought from a reputable dealership and I had actually ended up talking with the sales manager about it. Cause I said, Hey, I don't know if you guys actually looked at these trucks, but they probably, I'm assuming they bought them from auction somewhere. You know, they, they kind of bought them on the premise of the mileage was low and, and it's true, but you know, there were some maintenance issues, you know, care, taking issues with the vehicle that should have been dealt with, you know, had someone got under the pressure washer, really cleaned it and done a good job. It would have made the vehicle probably decent. 

Mark: So what could that customer have done to not have to go through three vehicles to find the right one? What quick tips would you have for that? 

Bernie: Well that's a really good question. I mean, I think, you know, before you buy, you really need to do your research. You know, what car do you want? How's the car work? You know, you go for a test drive and make sure the car feels fine. Now this guy did all that. And I think, you know, and then the question is, who do you buy it from? 

If it's a private sale? All you've got to go on, is your intuition and feeling for the person. But if you buy a private sale vehicle, you know, if you got someone to go, Hey, I've got all these maintenance records. I've serviced my car at this place for, you know, at the dealership or this shop for like the last 10 years, they've got those maintenance records. Those are really positive things, you know, in the favour of the car.

But again, for this person, they're buying from a reputable dealership. And I think just something happened, something fell through the cracks. I mean, I wouldn't hesitate to, I was surprised because most car dealerships, especially name brand GM, Toyota, Mercedes, wherever you buy it, you know, their reputation is at stake. They don't want to sell crap. So it kind of surprised me. And there are a lot of independent dealers that are good and some that are crappy. 

So I think you just gotta kind of do your research first. And you know what, at some time, every once in a while you get a, you know, a story like this, where something kind of falls through the cracks.

Mark: Any final thoughts on pre-purchase inspections? 

Bernie: Well, you know, I'd say if you're buying a used car, it's a process. It really is a jungle out there in terms of trying to find the right car. So do your research figure out which car you want and just go with your gut feeling on, you know, who you're buying it from, but get a pre-purchase inspection because you never know whether you're buying a good car from a bad person or a bad car from a good person or a, you know, the, maybe a reputable dealerships got some crappy cars for some reason, their, their systems and procedures slipped. So you get the pre-purchase inspection, again you're going to know a hundred percent that you're buying a car that's good.

Mark: So there you go. If you need a pre-purchase inspection, because you're looking for a good used vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're busy even now, as we start to open up. As well, there's over 600 videos on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, check us out there, all makes and models and all types of repairs. And of course the website pawlikautomotive.com and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts we'd really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and get your car inspected.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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