I-TEAM: Many people are forgetting an important step in buying a used car

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Buying a used car? Go beyond the Carfax and take your would-be ride to an independent inspection. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Tax season is looming, and as of today, we are 8 weeks out from Uncle Sam’s deadline. Some folks are filing early, and getting excited about that return.

With the average return at $2,700, many people take that chunk of change to put down on a car.

But before you do that, you’ll want to hear this about used cars. You go to a dealership, see an attractive car at an attractive price. The Carfax report looks clear, but what could you be missing?

As it turns out, a whole lot.

A used car is a car with history, and our I-Team found that history could very likely be a recent accident.

A current Carfax report says 1 in 4 used cars sold every year were in a fairly recent accident within the last 12 months.

With 40 miillion used cars sold annually, that's 10 million cars with a potential problem.

So what can you do to be sure you aren't buying a money pit? Check the Carfax report. Test drive the vehicle. That seems obvious, but we found there is a third step not enough people take advantage of: paying extra cash to have the car undergo an independent inspection.

Joseph DeLoach is the service manager at C and C Automotive on Washington Road.

“Inspecting a used vehicle is highly important,” DeLoach said. “A vehicle is the second largest purchase most people make compared to their home. You never consider buying a home without a home inspector inspecting your home.”

DeLoach says buyers can use the inspection to negotiate repairs or a lower cost for the vehicle. In the worst cases, they have advised buyers to walk away.
“I don't know if we've saved people money, but we've definitely advised people maybe it's not a good idea to buy the car,” DeLoach said. “If it's a $5,000 repair -- say it needs a transmission or something like that -- the dealership doesn't have enough in the vehicle to be able to discount it that much or fix it so they'll probably just send it back to auction.”

They end up not spending big bucks on big fixes, and neither do you.

C and C Automotive says a pre-inspection can cost anywhere from $60 to $120 depending on how detailed you want it to be.

And get this, DeLoach says some local dealerships will have a salesman take the car to the independent inspector for you and wait for it to save you the time. The findings are still sent directly to you and not the dealer.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.