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pre purchase inspection services?


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If at all possible, I recommend you find a way to get there to see it yourself. Inspectors don't do any of the thing you hope they will do and they certainly aren't experts on anything automotive. I guarantee you know more than any inspector about whatever car you're looking at. Spend the money on a plane ticket to go yourself rather than hoping some amateur will give you any kind of useful feedback.

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Posted (edited)

Don't know where you are in Oregon. But one can make the trip up there and back in a long day from Portland.

I've done it for this same reason.

These days if you leave at dawn you can easily be home by dark.

There is probably air service from Portland to Spokane but the time saved may be minimal as Post falls is still close to an hour from the Spokane airport.

Edited by JACK M (see edit history)
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It would help to know what you want looked at. It really makes a difference if you are considering a 30's car rather than say a 50's car. I'm guessing it's not something like a 1932 90 Series convertible coupe, or a 1953 Skylark, or you would have already made the trek. I have a number of friends in the area who would do a creditable job, but there is far too little information to even contact one of them. Are you willing to pay for the time spent and mileage?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

It would help to know what you want looked at. It really makes a difference if you are considering a 30's car rather than say a 50's car. I'm guessing it's not something like a 1932 90 Series convertible coupe, or a 1953 Skylark, or you would have already made the trek. I have a number of friends in the area who would do a creditable job, but there is far too little information to even contact one of them. Are you willing to pay for the time spent and mileage?

more than happy to pay for an inspection. after being burned once by somebody I thought was a friend and the most widely known guy for that particular model in the country i'm just a tad gun shy.

 

https://spokane.craigslist.org/cto/d/post-falls-1966-buick-special/7341697004.html

Edited by SpeedyBuick (see edit history)
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8 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

What are your expectations for what a "professional" inspector will tell you?

Someone who swears it’s a wonderful car, in great shape, underpriced in the current market and if you don’t buy it I will.

 

Thats how I appraised a 1949 Packard convertible to a friend, as I drove it and he sat in the back seat.

 

Much to my chagrin, he bought the darn thing…

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I followed up behind someone this week who was hired to check out a car; I reviewed the photos they provided. "Oh, look, a scratch! I'd better take 11 photos of that!"

Meanwhile, the lower control arm is bent nearly to the point of breaking and the K-frame is pushed back. Ah, but, the inspector doesn't know what a control arm is, let alone a K-frame. 

 

I sold a car a few years ago that needed a lot of work and I represented it that way. The best inspections I watched were conducted by good friends of the potential buyer. Both found legitimate issues that I didn't know about despite owning and driving that car for decades.

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I literally had an inspector someone paid $400 to examine a car show up and leave his car running in the parking lot--that's how little time he expected to spend examining the car. He looked at the car (a 1962 Lincoln) and asked how many cylinders the engine had. He didn't test any of the critical systems on the car, particularly the top, which he didn't ask to see in operation. On a suicide door Lincoln. Nor did he ask to put it on the lift. He did take a picture of every chip he could find in the paint and measured the depth of the tires. He didn't even ask us to fire it up. When he was leaving, I asked if he wanted to take the car for a drive with me and he said, "No, I assume the buyer will come drive it himself." At that point I told him it was HIS JOB to be the buyer's eyes and ears and forced him to take a ride with me. While we're driving, he asked me, "Is this car a manual or an automatic transmission?" AS WE ARE DRIVING.

 

This same moron showed up just last week to look at a 1956 Ford, did a similar inspection where he didn't know how many cylinders the engine had, slammed the hell out of the hood, and only put it on the lift because we parked it there ahead of time knowing he was coming. Then he called back three hours after he left and said he had accidentally deleted all his photos from his phone and could he come back. Of course. So he came back and just took a few quick photos, did not ask to put the car back on the lift, and did not do any serious inspecting (again). The report the customer got said that we (the dealership) were unwilling to put the car on the lift or let him take a test drive.

 

This is the pure crap that you get when you pay some inspector to go look at a car. You will not get a reasonable, informed, enlightening opinion, you will get some hack amateur guessing and taking pictures and trying to talk you out of buying it so he isn't exposed if he missed something serious.

 

Plane ticket. Buy one. Anything else is just throwing your money away.

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

What are your expectations for what a "professional" inspector will tell you?

first and foremost is the car as represented in the advertisement. I would expect them to provide pictures that dont hide flaws. in fact with this particular car i'm not even concerned about how well it runs and drives. 

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While I don’t entirely agree that hiring an inspector is always a total waste of money, I think the points made against are more than valid. I have seen professional inspectors really trash on good cars and I have seen them miss obvious big time pass issues  (like a 4dr VIN and frame on a high dollar convertible).  
 

At a minimum though, you could expect for a third party inspection to verify that the car in the photos does in fact exist and is in the possession and ownership of the person whose number and address you have, give a rough evaluation of condition, verify that it runs and drives (although perhaps not correctly evaluate how well it runs and drives), and send you some better pictures than some sellers might be able to provide of any areas you are concerned about. In most cases the guy they send will not be able to tell the difference between a #1 and a #3 car.  He should be able to tell if a refrigerator magnet will stick to a rear quarter panel. 

 

There are lots of companies advertising in Hemings that offer the service nationwide, mostly with part time hobbyist doing the actual inspection which is why I would be reluctant to refer the one company I have been impressed with where I live as I have no idea who they would send in that part of the world. 

Also, plan on the inspection costing you north of $500 for about 90 minutes of a guys time on site and a half hour of his time afterwards. If the plan is to spend less time than that with the car, it might not be the right program. 

 

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Everything I read here tells me "go look at for yourself."  I don't know of anyone else who may be able or willing to meet your expectations.

Terry

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Check your Buick Club roster and get a member who owns a '60's vintage car to check it out for you. A couple phone calls should do it.

 

During the plague John DeFiore saved me 8 hours of driving by looking at an Escalade for me. Car guys like to do that stuff. I did end up buying a Chevy Avalanche that was 300 miles in the other direction. The pictures were great. A phone conversation gave me comfort I was dealing with a good guy, just rode out with a friend and drove it home.

 

I have my list of questions and they give me a pretty good feel of what I am buying and who is selling it.

 

Buyer’s Questions

1. Do you own the car and have legal proof?
2 Is the paperwork clear and free of liens, unbranded?
3. How long have you owned the car?
4. Is the car currently licensed and insured?
5. Can it be driven on the road, legally, today?
6 Is the car in storage? If so, how long has it been stored?
7. How many miles did you drive it during the last 12 months?
8. Have you done any major work on the car since you have owned it?
9. What and when was the most recent service or repair?
10. If you decided to keep the car what improvement would you consider important?
11. Would you feel comfortable handing your wife the keys and sending her out to pick up a gallon of milk?

 

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10 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I literally had an inspector someone paid $400 to examine a car show up and leave his car running in the parking lot--that's how little time he expected to spend examining the car. He looked at the car (a 1962 Lincoln) and asked how many cylinders the engine had. He didn't test any of the critical systems on the car, particularly the top, which he didn't ask to see in operation. On a suicide door Lincoln. Nor did he ask to put it on the lift. He did take a picture of every chip he could find in the paint and measured the depth of the tires. He didn't even ask us to fire it up. When he was leaving, I asked if he wanted to take the car for a drive with me and he said, "No, I assume the buyer will come drive it himself." At that point I told him it was HIS JOB to be the buyer's eyes and ears and forced him to take a ride with me. While we're driving, he asked me, "Is this car a manual or an automatic transmission?" AS WE ARE DRIVING.

 

This same moron showed up just last week to look at a 1956 Ford, did a similar inspection where he didn't know how many cylinders the engine had, slammed the hell out of the hood, and only put it on the lift because we parked it there ahead of time knowing he was coming. Then he called back three hours after he left and said he had accidentally deleted all his photos from his phone and could he come back. Of course. So he came back and just took a few quick photos, did not ask to put the car back on the lift, and did not do any serious inspecting (again). The report the customer got said that we (the dealership) were unwilling to put the car on the lift or let him take a test drive.

 

This is the pure crap that you get when you pay some inspector to go look at a car. You will not get a reasonable, informed, enlightening opinion, you will get some hack amateur guessing and taking pictures and trying to talk you out of buying it so he isn't exposed if he missed something serious.

 

Plane ticket. Buy one. Anything else is just throwing your money away.

Wow! I thought the guy's doing appraisal's in Canada were bad! I'll try to find the copy of the appraisal I received on a 1963 Studebaker GT Hawk that was a long distance and in the winter. 

 The statement that really burned me was " Car has all original body panels" When I got the car later it had fiberglass front fenders and one rear quarter panel! "Engine runs smooth and quiet" Said engine, 289 V8 ran very bad on 5 or 6 cylinders.

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OK, You are looking to spend 13K on a car.

As you said its six hours away.

You work seven days a week and don't have time to take a look at your investment.

So, when are you going to be able to drive it after you go thru the hassle of having it shipped?

Six hours up there with a friend and a handful of cash might even save you a thousand or two depending on your bargaining skills, and you can drive it home.

That's only one day out of ones life that may have the possibility of saving you some grief and might even be kind of fun.

Six hrs. up, an hour or two to make the decision, six hours home. As I suggested before, its a simple (albeit long) day in the life.

So, you will have your own eyes on it, save the hassle of shipping and might have some fun along the way. 

This is a no brainer to me.

By the way, that stretch of road is fast and smooth with the possibility of slowing in Spokane and possibly Portland if you have to go thru there.

Other than that its all open road that lets you run 75 or better. Leave at dawn and you are there before noon. Home before dark.

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Take two days off and make it a mini vacation. I know it's going to be hot east of the mountains, but that's what AC is for. If you don't have time for the trip maybe you don't have time for the car either. I'm just saying this should be a fun adventure.

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I had a fellow Buick guy who is very familiar with 66-67 Buicks go take a look at the car and send me pictures and video. I made an offer based on that information and the seller declined. I paid the guy $100 to check out the car for me and saved 6 times that by not taking a day off work and driving out there for the same result. 

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8 minutes ago, SpeedyBuick said:

I had a fellow Buick guy who is very familiar with 66-67 Buicks go take a look at the car and send me pictures and video. I made an offer based on that information and the seller declined. I paid the guy $100 to check out the car for me and saved 6 times that by not taking a day off work and driving out there for the same result. 

 

When you don't buy the car and didn't visit that is fine.   It can be a bit more sticky when you actually buy it sight unseen or based on a third partys inspection..

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Finding a fellow hobbyist is always the best choice. They are alert to the nuances of an old car that most inspectors just aren't. They don't need to be experts to examine a car, but a hobbyist will know what is important and what can be safely ignored where an inspector thinks EVERYTHING is important, often to an excessive degree. Sorry this one didn't work out, but there are always others and now you know the best way to get eyes on something that you may not be able to visit personally.

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