Last Updated: 02.12.2021

Buying a second-hand car is a practical move since you’re saving a lot of money, but it can be a waste of cash if you don’t have a mechanic check the car first.

How do you know if it’s safe to drive? It looks good on the outside, but what if there are issues you can’t see? 

It often happens that someone buys a used vehicle without doing proper research or without getting the car checked by a mechanic—and this can be dangerous. More than half the time, mechanics would find critical mechanical problems in the used cars they inspect. Therefore you really do need a mechanic’s help if you’re buying a used car 

So if you’re stuck on how to find a mechanic to inspect a used car, please read on.

How Do You Find a Mechanic to Inspect a Used Car?

mechanic checking the engine before buying a used car

Here are tips that will help you get the right mechanic.

Ask Your Family and Friends

The first people you should ask are your relatives or friends. One of them might know a good and trustworthy mechanic to help you check out a used car? You will often get plenty of recommendations, and this could be helpful.

Get in touch with them and ask them for a reputable mechanic they’ve hired before. If they don’t know anyone, ask around at your local car shops. The staff is likely to know which shops are legitimate, and you may find out more about the mechanics there.

Alternatively, everyone knows someone who owns a used car, and chances are, they’ve used a mechanic before. Ask for any stories they have and get a hold of their mechanic to learn more about their experience. 

Search Online

search key on the keyboard for online checking

As you may know, you can always do an online search for a mechanic and do some background checks after. Businesses usually sign up for Google My Business, which then provides a list of local businesses. All this can be done through a simple search on Google or Maps. 

Another option is to go through directories such as Yelp. You can also go to forums that provide advice and recommendation from real people—Reddit would be a good example here. 

I know that after finding some recommendations online, you’d still have your doubts about the mechanic, so don’t forget to do some due diligence to find out if that guy really has what it takes to help you out. 

Look for the Best Mechanic Through Newspapers

Check the local newspaper and look for sections such as a dedicated ‘Finding a Mechanic’ section. This may be a bit time-consuming, but it’s important to do nonetheless. A lot of reputable local and independent mechanics will list their rates in the advertisement section.

woman reading newspaper while reading newspaper

They may not be the most expensive, and you won’t have a sense of which companies to choose or whether they’re an independent mechanic or not. Still, at least you can easily find out where to go.

Check Certification

It is always a good idea to make sure that you can trust the mechanic you’re working with. Hiring an experienced mechanic is the best way to ensure that you don’t miss any mechanical problems hidden from sight. 

Remember: don’t hire a mechanic who is not certified. Check their business license, insurance, and any other documents they might have for credibility.

A mechanic should be certified and professional in automobile repair and automotive service. This certification will make them stand out as it means that they have passed examinations and have completed training in the area. They will know how to identify problems, handle repairs, and prevent potential problems. 

Choose a Mechanic From AAA-Approved Auto Repair Network

Since over 2.5 million people use the AAA and its Auto Repair Network for regular vehicle maintenance and repair, you have a good chance of finding one near you through their online search.

This is one of the best places to go to find a mechanic in your area. The level of trust goes up if you use this place to search. 

So, if you don’t have the confidence to try a new mechanic, you can call your local AAA-approved repair shop and ask mechanics from the shop to check out your car.

Check With the Better Business Bureau

You can also look for the BBB seal when searching for a local mechanic in your area. This seal will tell you that the business has gone through a strict vetting and accreditation process done by the Better Business Bureau. The BBB exists to give the public a venue to find businesses that are trustworthy. 

When going through the BBB search, you may check out the ones with higher ratings. Also, in case the mechanic you hired didn’t provide satisfactory service, it’s best that you file a complaint at BBB as well. That way, the bad mechanic or repair shop would be flagged and other potential clients will be alerted. 

Interview Your Prospective Mechanic

You need to get to know more about the mechanic who will be checking the used car you’re eyeing. An interview can give you a good idea about their skill level and experience. 

During the interview, make sure you get a better sense of how qualified they are. Verify that they have the qualifications, certifications, and licenses, but more important of all, they should give demonstrate that they have in-depth knowledge of the makes and models of cars they inspect. 

Don’t Bow to Pressure

Don’t be taken in by a person saying they want to be your mechanic right away. If you find them idle, there may be an underlying reason why they don’t have any customers. Don’t hire just anyone or the first one you find. 

Take your time and look for other candidates, then do some proper assessment. 

The same goes when you’re in the used car shop. Don’t cave in and buy right away. Before agreeing to buy a car, find out if the vehicle has any open recalls and read all the notes. This is especially important for older cars because you’ll want to inspect any issues that might require a mechanic to come for the service.

Check the Honesty and Integrity of the Mechanic

Be wary of any mechanic that refuses to open the hood or open any part of the car unless you pay him. There are many possible reasons for this. 

They could just be leading you to think that they can do the job, or they may not be certified to work on the vehicle. It’s also possible that they really don’t know how to do anything mechanical, or they may just not have the time to do the proper inspection. 

Any mechanic worth their salt should be able to inspect a car charging no extra money. If it doesn’t pass the inspection, you should be able to get the car fixed for a reasonable price, usually around the price of a good used car.

See How Well They Communicate

It is your first car, so you should get a knowledgeable mechanic to inspect it before you purchase it. Now, you may find a mechanic through the local paper or through referrals from friends or family. But it doesn’t end there. How good is this person when it comes to communication? 

Make sure that you are having clear and open discussions with the mechanic and that both of you understand each other. 

The first thing you should do is talk with the mechanic about the used cars they previously inspected. A good mechanic should be able to describe the vehicle to you and give you helpful tips on finding a car without problems.


What does a mechanic check in a used car?

Your mechanic will check and assess the condition of the engine, suspension, brakes, tires, coolant level, and lights. These are some of the most important components that will make your car run smoothly.

The mechanic will also watch out for any leaks or visible damage on the exterior part of your car. They will carry out a visual inspection and ensure no visible rust or stains on any metal part of your vehicle. Expect them to also check for scratches on the wheels and wheel covers and dirt marks on wheel arches.

How much will it cost to have a mechanic inspect a used car?

This depends on many factors. For example, what type of inspection is needed at a dealership? Mechanics will charge different rates depending on what kind of work they need and how much time they need to do it. A mechanic may charge $100 to $250, and these charges can vary based on where you live and who’s selling the vehicle.

Final Thoughts

The issue here is that most people either don’t know how to find a mechanic or don’t want to spend extra money to hire one. The only way to know whether a used car is good to buy is by letting a mechanic inspect it first. It’s something that will add to the cost, but it’s definitely worth every penny. A trusted mechanic will help you make an informed decision about the used car you’re interested in.