Brought to you by Mike Keeler, Vic's Auto Center - AUTO REPAIR INSIDER - It doesn't cost much to be sure of what you're getting

VIC'S AUTO CENTER  - Mike KeelerQ: I'm planning on buying a used car, but I don't want to buy a lemon. What do you recommend?

A: All used cars need to be professionally inspected by a certified shop. This is called a pre-purchase inspection, or PPI. The only exception I can think of is a dealership that sells pre-certified used cars. If a seller will not agree to a pre-purchase inspection, that's a sign that the seller is hiding something. Walk away.

Q: What is included in a pre-purchase car inspection?

A: The car needs to be put up in the air. Ninety percent of information we get comes from the brakes, suspension, exhaust and tires. We will also scan a car's computer system to see if it's in readiness mode or has been altered (it has to be in readiness mode to pass DEQ). We do a long road test.

Q: How long does it take and how much does it cost?

A: It takes about two hours. We are thorough but efficient.

A pre-purchase inspection costs $100 to $150 for most conventional cars. In addition to the inspection, we'll give a list any problems with the car and the estimated cost to fix them, in order of importance. That way, the buyer will know what he's getting into, perhaps renegotiate the price, decide not to buy, or that the cost of the car and the repairs is fair and within budget.

Vic's Auto Center

15880 Boones Ferry Rd.

Lake Oswego, OR 97035


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