When buying a used car, it’s buyer beware – Always get an inspection done

When buying a used car, it’s buyer beware – Always get an inspection done

Hello Loyal Beaverton Readers, a big thank you to everyone who reads, comments or has asked for advice about cars.

This month, I will tell you the story about Alan who lives in the Bethany area. Alan and his wife, being retired, wanted to purchase a fun car that they could enjoy in their free time. They purchased a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Convertible for $4000 cash. Not a bad choice.

Alan, however, is not experienced with cars, let alone European cars. On their test drive, they were impressed with the performance as well as the nice leather interior. In fact, they were so excited, they purchased it on the spot.

When they arrived home, unfortunately, they discovered that the right rear power window did not work. The powered soft top did not work either.

Realizing they might have made a costly mistake, they reached out to the seller who did not take their calls. A few weeks later, Alan, still not happy, reached out to me. He had been reading my articles in this wonderful community paper for several years and thought I would be the perfect person to do an assessment. As the “Beaverton Car Guy”, I’m always happy to help a neighbor.


As I inspected his car, I found several red flags.

  • The timing belt and water pump were never replaced, and this could cause major engine damage.
  • The powered convertible top did not work due to a problem with the right rear window.

I then asked Alan if he knew any history of the car from the previous owner.  He stated that he received very little information from the seller. I decided we needed to generate a motor vehicle report, as well as a Carfax.

  • Upon doing so, we discovered that very little maintenance was ever performed on the car.
  • Worse, the car had been reported stolen some years ago and recovered by the police.

I added up all that was needed to make the car safe to drive and it came to about $4200. Include the purchase price plus DMV fees and now the true cost of this car is more like $8500. This is much higher than the car is worth ($6000 at the high end).

Alan was very disappointed and learned an expensive lesson. We ended up selling the car to a wrecking yard since it could not safely be driven.


The moral of the story?

Always have an older vehicle inspected prior to purchase

Always ask for documentation prior to purchase.

Or better yet, hire a professional like myself. I’ll inspect the vehicle prior to purchase and run the car reports to avoid surprises.

If any of you have an unused vehicle that needs to be sold, I will gladly assist with this as well. I do have 46 years of experience in the automotive business to better serve and assist you.


Call or email me at (503) 930-1493, fergusonautobrokers@gmail.com. www.fergusonautobrokers.com.