When it comes to buying a car, buyer beware! Hire a pro or do your homework



This past week, I had an opportunity to speak with a nice young lady named Jenna who was in need of a vehicle in the $5,000 price range (which unfortunately in today’s market basically doesn’t buy much). Since she resides in Beaverton and works in Hillsboro, Jenna wanted a car to cut down on her commute time. She called me for help but ended up and we even set up an appointment but before we could meet, she acted upon what she thought was a good deal. The car she found all the way in Vancouver had a nice exterior and low miles (48,000 miles over 14 years). It was also being sold by a grandmother whose grandson moved to Texas.

Jenna felt comfortable with the grandma so purchased the car with cash. As she was driving home, however, she noticed some noise from the engine and called me to see if I could take a look at the noise and evaluate her purchase.

Of course, I told her she should have waited for me (or anyone for that matter) but I’m also happy to inspect cars for customers so when she arrived, I first ran a carfax report. What we discovered was not good news.

The report basically told us that the car had never had any maintenance in over 14 years, not even a basic oil change! To verify this, I removed the oil filter cap and found over an inch of hardened sludge. Next, we removed the engine valve cover, and this too looked so bad, it was obvious the whole engine would need replacing soon.

Jenna asked how bad, so I explained that the engine noise was a direct result of zero maintenance and only having oil added over 14 years when it was low meant that sludge built up over time and was blocking the oil galley ways, starving the engine of proper lubrication.

In the end, we wound up selling the car to an auto wrecking yard for $200.

The moral of the story

Buyer beware! Do you research or hire a professional. There are many sellers out there who simply want to rid themselves of a car with known issues or in Jenna’s case, was about to require extensive maintenance.


In the event anyone is in search of a new or pre-owned vehicle, please let us know. We would be honored to be of assistance. Plus if you currently have an unused vehicle you would like to sell, we can help with that too. We can be reached at fergusonautobrokers@gmail.com